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Arguments are flawed in outcry against BC’s stance over condoms

The March 30 letters of Phil Bayer (“BC falls back on empty words”) and BC faculty members Jacqueline Lerner and Deborah T. Levenson (“Students should be met with concern, not threat”) suggest that Boston College’s policy banning the distribution of condoms out of dorm rooms will promote pregnancies or lead to life-threatening diseases. I respectfully submit that their arguments are fundamentally flawed.

Students can easily walk down the street to purchase condoms or order them online. While I agree with the faculty members that they have an obligation “to support young people in their attempts to avoid tragedy,” I think seeking to take care of their every need on campus is misguided. Rather, encouraging them to leave campus occasionally, take personal responsibility, and develop independence is a better way to accomplish that goal.

Bayer’s dismissive characterization of the university’s position — one that is based on its mission as a Catholic and Jesuit institution — as “nonsense” and “hypocritical blather” reflects disrespect and ignorance, neither of which I would expect from a BC alumnus. I might not understand, like, or agree with this stance personally, but I respect the right of the university to implement policies consistent with those of the Catholic Church. Just as I would gladly comply with different cultural or religious traditions while visiting someone else’s home, campus, or house of worship, so should Bayer respect the right of the institution that provided him with an education to promulgate policies reflecting its beliefs.


Richard E. Powers

The writer holds several degrees from BC, is a senior lecturer at BC’s Carroll School of Management, and is the parent of two BC graduates. His views here are his own.