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View Diary: Boston College: Students must stop dispensing condoms (65 comments)

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  •  If you freely choose to attend a Catholic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cryonaut, Bailey2001, erush1345, VClib

    institution, then yes, you agree to live by its rules.  That is the nature of a private entity.  As long as there is no discrimination as prohibited by federal civil rights laws, a private entity can set whatever rules it wants, and by choosing to attend that school, you agree to live by those rules.  A private entity could decide it doesn't like the color green and prohibit students from wearing green to class -- and students who choose that school either live by that rule or go somewhere else.  

    These students were distributing condoms -- a violation of Catholic teaching (whether I agree with that teaching or not) -- out of their dorm rooms, private rooms owned and run by a Catholic institution. Students agree to abide by the university's rules when they agree to attend the university and live in the university-provided housing.  The Catholic institution is allowed to set those rules.  Students who do not feel they can live with those rules should choose another school.

    I would be outraged, perhaps, if a student had sought some kind of prohibited reproductive services off campus, and that student was expelled for that.   I don't think that when you contract with a university to attend that university, you agree to abide by their rules off campus.  But you CERTAINLY agree to abide by their rules on their campus.  If you break one of their rules on their campus -- no matter how ridiculous you or I think the rule is -- they are entitled to take the action they deem appropriate for a rules violation.  

    •  But was such a rule governing the individual and (0+ / 0-)

      private action of a student spelled out in the recruiting literature?  If not, then would not the student be reasonably entitled to think that such private action would be permitted?

      •  They are pretty clear on their website (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345, gfv6800, VClib

        I think the fact that they say this on their website is notice enough:  

        Jesuit, Catholic Tradition
        finding god in all things

        Boston College is committed to maintaining and strengthening the Jesuit, Catholic mission of the University, and especially its commitment to integrating intellectual, personal, ethical, and religious formation; and to uniting high academic achievement with service to others.

        Any student reading that has to understand that their mission is promoting religious -- Catholic religious -- values.

        Or how about the message from the President:  

        Boston College is uniquely capable of answering this call, of speaking to this world. As an institution of higher education, Boston College is committed to the discovery and transmission of knowledge. But reflecting its Jesuit and Catholic heritage, it also seeks to integrate excellence and religious commitment, to both inform and form its students.
        I think that's notice that they don't want you directly undermining Catholic teaching (no matter how ridiculous you think that teaching is) on their campus.  
      •  And it's not "private action" if it's in (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345, gfv6800, VClib

        a university dorm room.  

        It's "private action" if it's off campus.

        •  that is an odd definition of privacy. (0+ / 0-)

          being in a privately held building does not wrest all nature of privacy from an individual.  

          The inherent privacy of the individual would be more sharply defined when occupancy of the private building by the individual involves a tenancy agreement.

          It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

          by Murphoney on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 10:14:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Have you seen typical (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            college dorm agreements and rules?  

            No, it's not all that private.  Not like a tenant on a private lease.  

            •  have you? it's not a prison-inmate situation. (0+ / 0-)

              It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

              by Murphoney on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 11:53:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  All colleges retain the right to determine (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                what is appropriate in their dorms.  Most even provide that they can inspect your dorm room for cleanliness, for example.  

                If, as another example, you constantly used racial slurs and insults against your roommate in your own dorm room, or even against others in the dorm when you are in communal areas, I suspect you'd be gone in a second.  Certainly, most good private schools would give you the boot (there's some issue with whether the government could kick you out of a dorm because of speech). A private landlord can't kick you out because you are an open bigot in your rented apartment.

                A dorm room is not the same as a private rental apartment.  It is an extension of the school, and -- especially with a private school -- you have to agree to abide by the school's standards and principles.  If the private school has a policy of tolerance and diversity and you engage in racial slurs and insults in the dorm, they can take disciplinary action.  If the private school has a policy of promoting Catholic teachings, and you constantly undermine that, they can take disciplinary action.  

    •  Boston College violates this same "catholic (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ScienceMom, Eyesbright

      teaching" that you claim you know about.

      They are required by Massachusetts state law to offer contraception as part of the student health plan, and they do.

      It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

      by Murphoney on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 09:25:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you sure? (0+ / 0-)

        Do you have a cite, perhaps?
        It's not so much that I doubt it as that I'd expect they'd have a religious exemption, etc.

        To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men. -Abraham Lincoln

        by Eyesbright on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 11:15:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  BC Health Insurance Covers Birth Control (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          BC Health Insurance Covers Birth Control

          BC Health Insurance Under Review

          Effective June 5, 2002, Massachusetts state law mandates that all employers provide “benefits for outpatient prescription drugs and devices shall provide benefits for hormone replacement therapy for peri and post menopausal women and for outpatient prescription contraceptive drugs or devices which have been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration under the same terms and conditions as for such other prescription drugs or devices…”

          The law does provide an exemption for Church and Church-controlled institutions but Boston College is ineligible to receive such an exemption. Patrick Rombalski, Vice President of the Offices of Student Affairs, commented that “the state of Massachusetts views BC as an independent organization and not part of the Church. Of course we are related to the Church but Boston College is an independent not-for-profit, separate from the Church. That would be true of all Catholic universities and colleges with very few exceptions.”

          It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

          by Murphoney on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 11:28:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  That doesn't waive their rights to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        make sure that their students don't undermine their religious beliefs.  The fact that the state of Massachusetts forces them to offer  a health plan that includes contraceptive coverage -- again, which students may or may not choose to use -- does not mean that they must allow a student to actively undermine their teaching.  

        The students know what the mission of that university is when they go there.  If they feel compelled to undermine Catholic doctrine that they find ridiculous, they should not attend a Catholic school.  

        It is unreasonable to go to a school that blatantly says that its mission is to "form students" in conjunction with Catholic teachings and then be shocked -- shocked! -- when they don't like the fact that you are undermining Catholic teachings.  

        •  now you're just winging it; making it up. (0+ / 0-)

          "undermine their religious beliefs" -- from where comes the Freedom from Disagreement and on what basis do you form this fear of foundations being rocked?

          It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

          by Murphoney on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 12:02:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because it is a private institution. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bailey2001, VClib

            The students have no First Amendment rights -- no rights of any kind, really -- to publicly disagree with the principles of a private institution and remain students of that private institution.  None.  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch.  

            It is no different from my private home.  In public, for example, the government cannot stop a person from talking about his religious views.  In my private home, I can say, anyone who mentions God is out of here.  And I can do it, because nothing in the First Amendment prohibits what speech and ideas I allow in my private home. I can have "freedom from disagreement" in my private home if I want it.  In my private home, I can even promote bigoted views if I were so inclined, and have freedom from disagreement.  I can say, anyone who thinks that Asians are equal to other races cannot enter my home, and if you say anything like that, you must leave.  If I have a party and invite the whole block, and 30 minutes into the party at my house, someone says, I think Asian Americans should have equal rights with all Americans, I can say, "Get out," and if they don't leave immediately they are trespassing.  I can have freedom from disagreement in my home.  

            With respect to a privately-owned business the exact same principle applies.  The ONLY  limitation that is different is the federal (and state) civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on things like race, ethnicity, etc.  In most states, for example, I can, in my privately-owned business, say "I will not tolerate any talk or signs or whatever promoting conservative candidates" because it's my property, my business, my rules about what views are allowed there.  Here in New Orleans, I can say, "I will not tolerate people talking bad about the New Orleans Saints, and if you do, I will fire you."  I can do that, because there are no civil rights laws protecting football opinions, and absent that, I get to completely control the views I want in my business. I certainly, certainly can have "Freedom from disagreement" as long as I don't infringe on the civil rights (or labor) laws.  

            It's the same with a religious university.  The only difference is that they have more protection from the government than you or I do because the First Amendment guarantees that the government won't interfere with the free exercise of their religious views.  There is no such special governmental protection for my football views in my business.  If you undermine the principles of a religious institution and they ask you to leave, they may have to give your tuition back (depending on what your contract says).  But certainly they can tell you to leave if you are undermining their religious mission.  There is no obligation for them to tolerate disagreement that undermines the fundamental purpose of their private institution.

            So yes, in a private institution, if the institution wants "Freedom from disagreement" they can do it.  If you don't agree with how they are running their private institution, you are free not to go there.  

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