A Letter On St. Mary’s Protest From Boston College Faculty And Alumni

Students protested the university's lack of response to the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases. (Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor)

We, the undersigned faculty and alumni wish to express our disappointment with the Boston College administration’s decision to threaten some students who participated in an unauthorized die-in protest on campus December 9th with formal sanction. Alongside young people around the country, students at BC organized to make a material and figurative statement protesting the many series of injustices between state sanctioned violence against Black peoples and silence from many of those in power. John Dunn, spokesperson for BC, delineated in a statement that this unauthorized protest warranted threat of disciplinary or academic sanction because it disrupted construction work on campus and delayed, for a few hours, the move-in of Jesuits into the St. Mary’s Hall Residence.

Civil action, in fact, should be disruptive. If a protest never causes inconvenience, it stands little chance of raising awareness and, moreso, altering the conditions that made the protest necessary. Across the nation, bridges, roadways, shopping centers, and yes, university buildings, have had to delay the routines of daily business while people have demonstrated against state-sanctioned violence. These protests have made the point that individual cases decided under the law collectively show patterns of injustice. Right now, the nation’s eyes have been drawn to BC as unique in its decisions to threaten sanction against students individually who are behaving like so many young people right now – outraged, saddened, but acting collectively.

Other faith-based institutions have sought to take more supportive actions, sometimes within, and sometimes alongside students’ protests. Students at our peer Jesuit universities have organized numerous die-ins and other peaceful demonstrations, with no reports of administrative action. The current response by Boston College administration undermines the peaceful nature of our students’ demonstrations by adding threat of retribution for speaking out against undeniable injustice. This moment in the nation is a robust opportunity to take actions that at least minimally speak to injustices. Speaking only through potential sanctions to the young people who have rightly demanded attention and justice should not be the way Boston College speaks into  this moment.

As faculty and alumni, we are enlivened by the students’ decision to stage the protest next to the home of the Jesuits on our campus. The Jesuit tradition has a long and laudable history of pursuing social justice in intellectual, personal, ethical, and religious formation and bringing that perspective to others. Boston College should be proud that  its students are strengthening that tradition rather than stifling their efforts. By forming a physical presence to educate others about gross miscarriages of justice, their protest is squarely in keeping with  the Jesuit tradition.

We support their actions to educate students and employees on campus and beyond.

Lisa (Leigh) Patel
C. Patrick Proctor
Lauren Saenz
M. Brinton Lykes
Janet Helms
Juliet Schor
Robin Fleming
Treseanne Ainsworth
Lillie Albert
Sharlene Hesse-Biber
Charles Derber
Marcelle Haddix
Lisa Goodman
Jennifer Horowitz
David Brennan
Janice Anderson
Margarita Zisselberger
Lara Birk
Frank Daniello
Jessica Tansey
Kim Parker
Kevon Tucker-Seeley
Deborah T. Levenson
Karen K. Miller
Régine Michelle Jean-Charles
Oiyan Poon
Alyssa Hadley Dunn
Karen Shakman
Eskedar Dejeune
Allison Adair
Erin Costello Wecker
Eileen Donovan-Kranz
Jenniffer Castillo
Meghan Pugach
Megan Perez
Colleen O’Hara
Natasha Sarkisian
Elizabeth O’Connell Gennari
David Blustein
Storey Mecoli
Susan Choy
Margaret Haney
Cynthia Lyerly
Owen Stanwood
Ani Mwalimu/Robert Wallace
Cynthia Chen
Leyla Perez-Galdron
Kara Viesca
Gabriela Fullon
Rajwante Sahai
David D’Silva
Riana Good
Samsul Mahmood
Cailin Graboski
Erik Anderson
Paul Edward Madden
Angela Windy
Lad Tobin
Lynne Anderson
Melodie Miranda
Carmen Davis
Linda Kuo
Frantz Berthaud
Akim David St. Omer
Cara Sullivan
Catherine Glenn
Kate Pierce
Rossanna Contreras
Pratyusha Tummula-Narra
Paul Yoon
Nijah Cunningham
Dana Sajdi
Marilynn Johnson
MyHanh Ozonoff
Gulienne Rollins-Rishon
Sarah Babb
Ashley Marie Hazelwood
Jonathan Barry
Laura Hopps
Alana Geer
Christine Montecillo Leider
Martin Summers
Javier Boyas
Kyle Greenleaf
Chris Denice
Caitie Peterson
Kelsey Alexander
Dan Couch
Matthew Vialva
Chrissy Lacy
Khalif Jackson
Shradda Sundaram
Peter Ireland
James Aronson
Aaron Parayno
Luke Elliot-Negri
Randi Triant
John Karam
Earl Edwards
Ahjane Macqoid
Ben Fuller-Googins
Robert L. Cathcart III
Alexis Schmiedigen
Jon Sege
Jameela Conway-Turner
Soula Pefkaros
Nicholas Durand
David Karp
Nora Frias
John Wang
Katrina Quisimbing King
Patrice Wedderburn
Eduardo Dorado
Christopher Ashcraft
Shenora Plenty
Cynthia Young
Sha-Kayla Crockett
Eric Ares
Joseph Lewis
Kevin O’Neill
John Williamson
Lydia Young
Nettie Greenstein
Angela M. Desilva Mousseau
Galen Cohen
Caitie Drew Chadbourne
Lauren Reliford
Sharona Jacobs
Erick Fernandez
Falen Demsas
Sara Martin
Celeste Wells
Jazzmine Clarke-Glover
Paul Spagnoli
Laura O’Dwyer
Francine Miranda
Akash Tharani
Jessica Pierre Francois
Celso Perez
Alexandria Bradshaw
Marcia Liu
Crystal Tiala
Bernard Baffoe
Uma Milner
Emmanuel Johnson
Nitana Hicks
Jesse Proctor
Nanacy Pineda-Madrid
David Hollenback
Deborah Piatelli
Carlton E. Green
Kisha Bazelais
Sarah Ross
Nikia Darden
Na-Yeun Choi
Emily Medina ’07
Katie McDevitt, ‘07
Gabriela A. Torres, ‘07
Derek J. Welch, ‘09
Michael E. Samuels, ‘09
Thomas K. Strand, Jr. ‘09
Lisa Mason, ‘07
Joseph Dreeszen, ‘09, MA ‘12
George A. Jasinski ‘06
Nick Ackerman, ’09
Kendall Mayhew ‘07
KK Apple ‘08
Bonnie Kaufman ‘07
E. Peter Alvarez, ‘06
Sean Mitchell, ‘07
Omolara N. Bewaji ‘07
James B. Gordon CSOM HP ’09
Ryan Kagy ‘08
Rose Love Chou, ‘07
Catherine Prefontaine, ‘08
Bill Przylucki, ‘07
Jake Mazar, ‘08
William Busacker, ‘05
Dan Viafore LSOE ‘07
Melissa Komadina ‘08
Jessica Young ‘08
Stephen Holodak, ‘07
Cynthia Frezzo, ‘07
Jeanette (Marrone) Borden, A&S ‘07
Daniela Ramirez, ‘08
Ryan Beagan, ‘06
Mary Adrienne Hunter, ‘07
Alexandria Bradshaw, ‘07
Lai-Yan Faller, ‘08
Noelle Green, ‘07 & ‘08
Christian Cho, ‘07 & ‘09
EmaLee Arroyo, ‘06
Brian Retchless, ‘07
Brianna LeRose, ’11
Daniel Durand, ’05
Regina Payton, ’02 & ’03
Ashley Thompson ’07
Michael Madormo
Crystal Tiala
Maryam Jernigan
Ximena Ramirez
Jeffrey Timberlake
Michaela Grosso
Lyz K. Alexandre
Jennifer Castillo
Ticiana Barros
Sarah Bouchard
Erika Hernandez
Jacob Chin
Anjali Vats
John McDargh
Harold Hinds
Alicia Johnson
Matt Sienkiewicz
LaToia Taylor

Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Photo

 

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