Xavier University, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, is one of the nation’s oldest Roman Catholic colleges. In addition to distinguishing itself through its robust history, Xavier is also making headlines over its new policies surrounding birth control coverage. As of July 1, the college will be cutting off contraceptive coverage for employees.
Considering the fact that Xavier is a Catholic institution, the natural question is — why was the university covering birth control in the first place? The answer: It was apparently never meant to be embedded in the coverage — at least that’s what one student says.
“That coverage never should have been there in the first place,” proclaimed Meghan Savercool, a junior theology student who supports the policy change.
The university has not commented on whether it knew the coverage was provided, but following the monumental battle unfolding between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church, the issue has come under review.
Reuters has more about the developments:
The controversy [between Obama and the Church] prompted Xavier President Michael Graham, a Jesuit priest, to review the health insurance plan offered to the university’s 935 employees. Graham announced this week in a letter to the faculty that the plan will cease to cover contraception on July 1.
Some faculty members who relied on the coverage said they were surprised and upset at the sudden end to benefits, which could raise their out-of-pocket costs for contraception by hundreds of dollars a year.
“It hadn’t occurred to me that this would ever be an issue,” said Tina Davlin-Pater, an associate professor in the department of sports studies.
Davlin-Pater, an athletic trainer who is not Catholic, said she viewed the denial of birth control coverage as an indication that “it’s still OK to discriminate against women in today’s world.”
Some, like biology chairperson Dorothy Engle, are surprised by the university’s decision to cut off access to faculty and staff, citing Xavier’s typically “ecumenical” feel and openness to students and employees from a diverse pool of religions.
Read more about the debate surrounding Xavier’s policies here. It will be interesting to see if other Catholic universities follow the lead on dropping the coverage or if they will continue to provide coverage for contraceptives that the church officially dubbs sinful.