In light of the recent illegal poster dump on campus and the failure of the administration to pass a reform on free speech and expression, the Undergraduate Government of Boston College has launched two initiatives: the Free Expression Form and the Ten Student Service. The former allows students who feel that their free speech has been curtailed to report the incident privately, while the latter will allow students not in registered student organizations (RSOs) to stage demonstrations through UGBC sponsorship. Both actions can be taken through Google Forms.
The Free Expression Form is essential for collecting data on free speech subjugation. Although unregistered student groups, like last year’s Climate Justice at Boston College (now an RSO) and the anonymous student group responsible for both illegal poster dumps, have outspokenly denounced the University for restricting students in the area of free speech, it is yet unforeseen whether a majority of the student body feels similarly. There is not enough empirical data to determine what the University allows and what it does not, so the Free Expression Form is a noteworthy step by UGBC in determining the parameters of the issue.
Likewise, UGBC’s Ten Student Service is a very thoughtful and useful tool for a group of students who feel that they have an opinion to voice but no platform from which they can voice those opinions. UGBC’s sponsorship of an event is not an immediate green light, however—the need for OSI approval on the subject of the protest, rally, or demonstration will still be present. Regardless, the creation of the Ten Student Service is notable because it poignantly reflects the purpose of a student government: advocating for the students.
Both the Free Expression Form and the Ten Student Service are obvious signs that even though the administration shot down UGBC’s free speech and expression proposal over the summer, UGBC remains so dedicated to the issue itself that they are willing to try other avenues to find success. Both initiatives take the organization to the core of what it means to be a student government, especially when recent UGBC action includes a relatively abstract and useless debate on a resolution stipulating whether they affirm BC’s Catholic identity or not. It is nice to see actual, substantial progress from our student government, a group with a myriad of resources.
It is now up to UGBC to heavily publicize the new forms so that the original focus of the initiatives are not lost, and so that students know where to turn when they feel as if their rights have been violated or that they have something important to say. These tools will prove useless if students do not take advantage of their existence.
Featured Image courtesy of Google Forms