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Massachusetts: Catholic College Bars Student's Free Condoms

March 11, 2009

Stonehill College administrators put a halt to a student-initiated plan to distribute condoms at the private Catholic school.

Last month, Stonehill senior Katie Freitas and about 20 classmates placed boxes of condoms in student dormitories across the Easton campus. Freitas said she acted out of concern that students might have unprotected sex. Administrators quickly collected the condoms, citing the school's ban on distributing birth control on campus.

"Abstinence can be part of [sex education], and should be," Freitas said. "But college students are going to have sex, and they should be encouraged to have safe sex. In certain moments, students aren't going to stop to run to CVS, so I think [condoms] should be available on campus."

"We make no secret of our religious affiliation, and our belief system is fairly straightforward," said Martin McGovern, Stonehill's spokesperson. "We don't expect everyone on campus to agree with our beliefs, but we would ask people, and students in particular, to respect them."

Stonehill follows Roman Catholic teachings that oppose artificial contraception, McGovern said. That the school does not allow its distribution on campus "is not a shocking revelation," he added.

Freitas, who said she is not Catholic, initially wanted to start a Sexual Health and Awareness Group, which would focus on educating students about protected sex. However, administrators suggested she work instead through the existing health group Active Concerned Educated Students. When administrators confiscated the condoms, which had been provided by two family-planning agencies, Freitas went public.

"I expected some resistance, but I think this is a debate that should be out in the open," Freitas said.

Back to other news for March 2009

Adapted from:
Boston Globe
03.05.2009; Peter Schworm

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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