With the divisive political climate storming America, the topic of sex is the last thing many think of as the foreground of uneasiness. On Tuesday, Feb. 28, students and clubs gathered in the Lower Level of the Barone Campus Center for the annual Let’s Talk Sex event, which highlighted topics of women’s health and the access to contraceptives on campus.
College Democrats, the host of the event, invited Students for Social Justice, Alliance and the Reproductive Rights Talk and Action Group as well as Planned Parenthood to discuss topics regarding sexual health.
“I think it’s really important that students have a better understanding of their sexual safety, including topics that are here today such as consent, an awareness of STDs, STIs and sex within the LGBTQ community,” President of College Democrats Riley Barrett ‘17 said.
During this year’s event, Barrett addressed Interim President Dr. Lynn Babington with a list of demands for the university. Some of the these included freedom for clubs and organizations to distribute contraceptives on campus, the ability for the Student Health Center to prescribe birth control and the availability of purchasable contraceptives in the Stag Spirit Shop.
At the RRTAG booth, students discussed how access to feminine hygiene products relates to social justice. Additionally, donations to provide these products to homeless women were collected.
For the president of RRTAG, Abigayel Phillips ‘17, it was the discussion that made the event valuable.
“What I think is really cool about today is that it is offering a lot of resources for people. I think information is super important for people to make more informed thoughts and choices,” said Phillips.
While booths allowed for students to flow in and converse downstairs, Students for Life organized a table of their own upstairs, near the student mailboxes.
“Students for Life is an organization on campus that stands up for all life, from beginning of conception to the end of life, and all life in between. The pro-life movement is pro-women and our table today expressed those views,” said Lauren Hart ‘19, representative at the Students for Life table.
“While we fully support women’s health and women’s rights, we do not believe that anyone should have the right to take another life,” said Students for Life member Katie Curry ‘19. “Fairfield is a Catholic, Jesuit institution, one that pledges to uphold the church and care for the whole person at every stage of life. While an event that stands for women’s health is great, we believe there are other organizations better suited to represent this cause.”
Freshman Tarabeth Moon said that she came out to support the pro-life table but also experienced the event downstairs.
“I walked around for a few minutes but I saw different things that I felt were very repulsive like the penis cookies. I just didn’t think that should be on our campus being a Catholic school,” Moon said.
Others, like Rev. Michael Doody, S.J., director of restorative counseling, raised similar questions about what is appropriate on the campus of a Catholic university.
“I think it’s a sign that we’ve turned the corner from having been a Jesuit Catholic university into being a secular school where what the church believes, teaches [and] holds sacred, doesn’t matter anymore,” Doody said. “The fact that we allow this event, that it has been approved by the administration, absolutely disgusts me. I’m so appalled I can barely speak straight. I’m a Catholic priest and I feel like it’s a smack in my face and I’m powerless to do anything about it.”