In recognition of the potential for HPV cases amongst college-age women, we applaud the University for holding a free GARDASIL clinic, which offers the vaccination to a limited number of students on campus.

GARDASIL ultimately strives to decrease the number of cervical cancer cases. Offering this vaccination on campus is a bold step toward preventing HPV infections, especially at a Jesuit school.

HPV is only one of many dangerous STDs that students can contract from intercourse. Currently, students have only two options for STD prevention: sex with the use of contraception or abstinence. The first method is widely preferred by students. The second is an unrealistic practice for most young adults, though a widely encouraged practice by the Catholic church.

In the past, the University has stuck firmly to its stance on the distribution of condoms on campus: if you need them, get them elsewhere. Although it is a major improvement to offer GARDASIL on campus, current and prospective students are left wondering about the University’s policy on sex. In the future, could condoms be considered acceptable to be sold in the bookstore, and could birth control be made readily available in the Health Center?

Jesuit ideals discourage premarital sex and promiscuous behavior, but that is not a practical stance in a college setting. While most students at Fairfield respect and try to uphold the Jesuit mission, it’s impractical to believe that students will follow these guidelines 100 percent of the time.

Fairfield does not need to condone or approve of the sexual activities of its students, but it does have an obligation to ensure the safety of its students. Since a portion of our tuition is allocated to the Health Center, the University should protect students against all medical concerns, including STDs and pregnancy matters in addition to the common cold.

Yes, the University is doing its part by preventing cervical cancer with these vaccinations, but by not providing full precautionary measures against all STDs, it is only combating a small portion of various outbreaks.

The HPV vaccinations should be the first of many steps to protect students. Recognizing the behavior of its students will reflect positively on the University because it is taking a more modern and pragmatic approach toward changing attitudes without undermining the values of the Catholic Church.

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