A group of students posted a batch of infographics across campus reading “BC SILENCES ANTIRACISM” Thursday afternoon following the University’s rejection of a promotional flier outlining a three-point plan to “eradicate injustice and racism” at Boston College.
The initial flier promoted an upcoming lecture on race sponsored by the Center for Human Rights and International Justice, African and African Diaspora studies, the “Psychology & the Other” steering committee, and the Lynch School of Education’s “Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology” department.
The new posters include a timeline of the past few weeks’ events, from the planning of the upcoming lecture to the University’s alleged rejection of fliers advertising it.
The poster read that the initial flier was turned down because it contained material from Eradicate Boston College Racism, a group of students, staff, and faculty whose stated goal is to engage BC in eliminating racism.
Members of Eradicate Boston College Racism said the second batch of infographics were a response to the Provost’s office’s disapproval of the poster that was going to be displayed across campus to advertise the upcoming speech on anti-racism.
“BC touts a Jesuit principle, ‘preferential treatment for the poor,’ but within its walls, it displays preferential treatment of the powerful”
Sriya Bhattacharyya, a member of Eradicate and GLSOE ’16, said that the Center for Human Rights and International Justice, who sponsored the event, wanted to use Eradicate Boston College Racism’s three point guide infographic as promotional material. The Provost’s office later confirmed that the Center had initially requested to use the graphic.
She said that the Center believed it was a good conversation starter about racism on campus.
The two groups worked closely to create the poster, Bhattacharyya said, and that Eradicate’s only role in the event series was to support it—it was not sponsoring this event.
Bhattacharyya said that the Provost’s office claimed that the poster seemed to be affiliated with Eradicate and revoked its approval.
This decision came after hundreds of the fliers featuring the graphic had been printed.
Chad Olle, another member of Eradicate and GLSOE ’17, said the group of students involved wants to be able to work with the administration, but they also want to inform students about the Provost’s decision not to allow the fliers to be passed out.
Olle said the Provost’s office violated BC’s policies and procedures in order to protect its image and reputation.
Bhattacharyya expressed similar frustration, saying that even when BC students and faculty try to follow BC policy, the institution can still evidently deny them the privilege to post the images.
This conflict between the Provost’s office and Eradicate Boston College Racism comes one week after the group staged a silent protest following Ta-Nehisi Coates’ speech to raise awareness of racism on campus.
Olle said that, since last semester, Eradicate has grown in size.
The posters that appeared Thursday were mostly downloaded from Eradicate’s Facebook and Twitter pages and then printed and hung by students.
“BC touts a Jesuit principle, ‘preferential treatment for the poor,’ but within its walls, it displays preferential treatment of the powerful,” Bhattacharyya said.
The Provost’s office responded at length the next Wednesday.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Center for Human Rights and International Justice did not help develop the infographics, and that the Eradicate group did not initially organize in a class in the Lynch school.
This article has been updated
Featured Image by Carolyn Freeman / Heights Editor