The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
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Hide your condoms, kids

How the prohibition of penetration on Hawk Hill contradicts inclusion 

Saint Joseph’s University was founded in the Catholic tradition and is rooted in Jesuit ideals. Our administration boasts a strong emphasis on ethics and on social justice. We, as the student body of the university, are expected to stand “with and for others,” within the scope of our Jesuit mission. We are students who are perceived, by the administration, as being rooted in faith.

The university, in all of its facets, is also heavily rooted in contradiction.

During my orientation at Saint Joseph’s, I was told that students of all faiths were welcome. I was told that as a Jesuit institution, the university values individualism and various expressions of faith.

These claims, though, do not align with Saint Joseph’s mission—well, at least their mission as stated on paper.

According to the information found on the “Frequently Asked Questions Guide,” on the Saint Joseph’s alumni site, “Although we are proud of our heritage, we welcome students of all faith backgrounds.”

Yes, all “faith backgrounds” are definitely encouraged—especially if you just happen to be Catholic.

Catholics, in their capacity, are one of the many well-known religions that denounce sexual activity before marriage. While Catholics have every right to make this decision—for it is a religious law to which they adhere—they do not have the right to determine the ideologies of others.

Our mission identifies with these values, yet these beliefs should not be imposed on students of different faiths. By extension, Catholics should not demote sexual activities for others on campus.

As stated in the Saint Joseph’s University 2016-2017 Student Handbook, the current sexual activity policy states, as passed by University Council on April 15 in 1992: “Saint Joseph’s University must insist that the environment in the residence community be one that supports individual rights and fosters mutual respect. Non-marital sexual intercourse, on campus at anytime, is behavior unacceptable to the University. Students involved in activity of this nature will be subject to disciplinary action and/or counseling.”

Guess I should be in counseling.

Although I personally no longer identify as a Catholic, I do consider myself to have an intimate relationship with God. Yet, I do not believe that my religious identity and sexual identity necessarily have to be mutually exclusive.

As critical and thoughtful university students, the Student Handbook prohibits us from engaging in sexual activity on campus; we are robbed of a very personal, intimate choice.

What’s more, it is unreasonable to assume that freshmen and sophomores, who are required to live in on-campus housing, are not sexually active. Referring to sexual activities and engagement in sex as requiring “counseling,” render the act as something shameful; something where students need to seek out help.

This archaic belief should not permeate the mission on our campus. The university does not enforce faith on students, yet they are clearly forcing us to align with a Catholic mindset by prohibiting pre-marital sex in on-campus housing, nonetheless, on campus in its entirety.

Personally, I believe sex is integral to a healthy, functioning relationship. It is an intimate and beautiful choice. As someone who has been in a long-term relationship for almost five years, I am troubled by the remarks in the handbook. I find these statements, that students will be “subject to disciplinary action” and told to “seek counseling,” as disingenuous. The administration’s use of this language is an imposition on student beliefs.

The problem, then, becomes something bigger: By inhibiting personal freedoms on campus, sexual liberation is not only limited, but is redefined as a pathological condition. Frankly, these statements are disappointing, as it feels as though the university is failing to take a step forward in 2016.

But, then again, all faiths are welcome here, so we’re fine… Right?

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