To the Editor:
This letter is in regard to the unfortunate termination of a residence advisor (RA) at King’s University College. I had the pleasure of working as a residence advisor at King’s from 2001-03 and was shocked to read that one of my own former residents, Dan Grace, was dismissed for the simple act of trying to promote a healthy, safe environment within his residence.
Having worked at King’s for those two years, I and other RAs regularly made condoms available to our residents since Western’s own Student Health Services provided them to King’s — along with the rest of campus — free of charge. Neither myself nor any other RAs were instructed to do otherwise. In fact, King’s students’ fees help pay for the Student Health Services department on main campus, so does this not entitle King’s students to its benefits? One would certainly think so.
Although I am very proud to be a graduate of King’s, I am extremely disappointed in the actions of the college and clergy in railroading Mr. Grace.
Any health professional will tell you that taking away the resources for safe sex from students is essentially forcing them to play roulette with their lives. I’m sure this is not the image that King’s wants to portray to its current or potential students.
Because of this, I, along with many other alumni I have spoken with, will now think twice before making another donation to King’s University College.
BA ‘03 King’s
To the Editor:
I think it is absolutely ridiculous that King’s College would make the narrow-minded decision to fire an RA for distributing condoms. I commend him for making the decision to try and ensure the health and safety of the students on his floor.
Many students come to Western and live on their own for the first time. Many of them are becoming sexually active if they already weren’t and are in need of someone whom they can come to who will not judge them and will be able to ensure that the student has a form of protection.
King’s should be grateful for someone who is willing to protect the students. While I understand that King’s College is financially supplemented by the Catholic church, unless King’s College explicitly states this in all of their recruitment information and at the beginning of the school year, they should not be able to receive the money of students who are either ideologically opposed to their beliefs or are being directly affected by their decisions.
King’s has to accept that they are part of a very contemporary and eclectic university community that has people of many faiths and beliefs. If King’s continues to promote its religious beliefs rather than ensuring the health and safety of its students, I will seriously consider transferring my tuition either to another college in the university or out of Western altogether.
Political Science I
King’s University College
To the Editor:
Two faithful readers of The Gazette were disturbed to read that an RA was dismissed for handing out condoms. This is the 21st century and it is about time that the administration at King’s University College accepts that young adults frequently engage in sexual intercourse.
Good job, Daniel Grace, for providing the critical supplies to protect the health and welfare of the students on your floor. In a university setting, condoms should be made available regardless of religious affiliation. Our bottom line is that students have sex. It is crucial for preventative supplies to be made easily accessible.
We are disappointed with this outcome. Hopefully, future RAs will not feel threatened about losing their position because they are taking an active interest in the well-being and safety of their students.
Health Science IV
To the Editor:
Daniel Grace was performing an invaluable service to the students at King’s University College by distributing condoms to those in need. His actions merited a dismissal for violating morals set up by the Roman Catholic church.
The fact of the matter is, young people have sex. It is unreasonable to expect that everyone will adhere to an abstinence policy when statistically 50 per cent of those over 18 are sexually active. That is not the problem. The problem is that rather than educate people about safer sex and make condoms accessible, administration is clinging to an approach that is outdated.
Students must protect themselves against STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Grace was helping in the fight to lower the rate of herpes in university students — which presently is 50 per cent. The well-being and health of students should be the primary concern, but instead that is being put on the back burner in lieu of religious principles.
Well, I have news. STDs do not consider who a person prays to before infecting them. Condoms are the only method of birth control that also protects against STDs — with the exception, of course, being abstinence.
The reality is students need this protection. If seeing condoms makes a few people uncomfortable, I wonder if they would find it easier to share a residence with pregnant women and those unfortunate enough to contract a life-threatening sexually transmitted disease.
To the Editor:
As a former residence advisor at King’s I am very distraught to learn about the dismissal of Daniel Grace for distributing condoms. As an RA at King’s, my colleagues and I not only handed out condoms but also had a sexual health expert from the London/Middlesex Health Unit come into the residences to provide helpful information on sexual decision-making and sexual health.
I am very disappointed with King’s representatives Gerald Killan, Father Mike Bechard and Mary Carol Waters. Leading King’s according to its Roman Catholic mission is one thing, but ignorance is another. This ignorance is not one of innocence either. To deny that students in first year, including students at King’s (even the Catholic ones) are sexually active is nothing short of stupidity.
This is neglecting the students in terms of their health. This makes me sick. But I suppose that this is not a problem for Catholics, as we all know that zero per cent of Catholic girls use birth control and that there is no such thing as a Catholic bastard.
As for Dan, your academic career has been nothing short of ideal. You have represented yourself as a moral human being with great concern for social justice. You should be very proud of yourself for representing truth, even when the ‘representatives of God’ won’t.
Faculty of Education I
To the Editor:
I was appalled when I read the article which stated that a residence advisor at King’s had been fired for distributing condoms.
Being a residence advisor myself, as well as a Catholic, I couldn’t help but wonder what the administration at King’s would think of the staff teams on main campus who play condom games and have “sex and candy” jars (which provide students with condoms and candy).
This is definitely a case of being safe rather than sorry. I applaud Daniel Grace for being brave enough to recognize the issue and for sticking with his conscience. I am just sorry that there are certain people who don’t realize that he was merely doing his job.
Residence Advisor, Saugeen-Maitland Hall