Is Loyola's policy on contraceptives on campus what's best for the community?
Published: Thursday, November 10, 2011
Updated: Friday, November 11, 2011 11:11
Students, faculty and administrators remain divided on the distribution of contraceptives on Loyola's campus.
Catholic doctrine denounces premarital sex, but Catholic universities, including Loyola, are dealing with the issue that some of their students are still having sex. Some on campus say that the health risks associated with sexual activity override the university's need to adhere to church principles.
"I don't know of any Catholic university where contraceptives would be offered," said Robert Reed, assistant vice president of Student Affairs.
As a Jesuit university, Loyola does not offer contraceptives on campus.
"We recognize that sexuality is a very human act," said the Rev. Ted Dziak, S.J., vice president of University Mission and Ministry. "Understand that we are a Catholic institution, and as a Catholic institution it is important for us to understand that we have a certain ethical position based on Vatican points of views."
Dziak said life should occur during marriage.
"We value life and we basically oppose anything that would stop life from occurring," he said.
Karen Reichard, Women's Resource Center director, said she thinks there needs to be some serious conversation about offering contraceptives, including condoms, on campus.
"When talking about offering contraceptives at a Jesuit Catholic university, we must recognize the fact that we are at a Jesuit Catholic university," she said.
Reichard said she believes contraceptives are a social justice issue.
"We're talking about helping to prevent the spread of STDs and HIV," Reichard said. "It's a public health issue, and we don't exist in our own little bubble without having any kind of connection to the world around us. So, to the extent that we don't provide that service to our students, we're also posing a health risk to the community around us."
Loyola's Student Health Services provides some medical care, such as women-wellness exams, including pap smears, breast exams, STD testing and pregnancy testing. Some members of the Loyola community, though, say they still believe policy changes need to occur.
"In context I understand the policy, but I really want to know why," said Richard Tucker, political science junior and president of the Loyola Society for Civic Engagement. "I'm sure that on campus there are an equal number of Catholics and Christians that adhere to the church's policy. But there's an equal or greater portion of the campus body that think sex is a part of the college experience and choose to experiment."
LSCE will host a forum on
contraceptives Nov. 17 in which Reichard will be a panelist.
"We must think about our responsibility to the community as a Jesuit Catholic university and our responsibility as a university to the health of our students," Reichard said. "As an individual person, I know I'm not going to be able to change the Catholic Church's stance on the issue, but I'd like to have conversation opened up here on campus about it."
Carl Harrison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org