LTE: An Alumni Response to “Parking Sign Defaced With Anti-Gay Slur”

Following an act of homophobic vandalism on Boston College’s campus, a letter to University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., was organically circulated among BC alumni. In just five days, the letter was signed by over 1,000 alumni from 38 different classes spanning over 50 years (1963-2016), and from 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 19 countries on six continents. The letter will be sent on October 3, 2016. We kindly ask that The Heights publish the letter in full. We are eager to work with the university to make Boston College a welcoming place for all students.

The only thing we would add now is a direct message to current BC LGBTQ students: We hope that during your time on the Heights you feel valued and are given the space to develop fully—personally, academically, and spiritually. Know that we support you.

 

Dear Fr. Leahy,

As LGBTQ and Ally alumni of Boston College, we are disturbed by the homophobic vandalism that occurred on campus on Sep. 18, 2016, in which letters on a sign were rearranged to read, “No fags.” Not only does this hate speech tell LGBT students that they are not welcome, but the school’s relative silence in response reaffirms its failure to effectively address what one current BC student called a persistent “climate of homophobia” in a Heights Op-Ed following this incident.

Despite this, we are encouraged by the progress that has occurred at Boston College. By the early 2000s, BC had finally added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination clause and eventually got removed from Princeton Review’s list of the most unwelcoming schools for LGBTQ students. The GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC) has accomplished much and was recently given the Ever to Excel Award for making BC a more inclusive place. We applaud the Office of the Dean of Students for strengthening the resources for LGBTQ students. We are proud to be Eagles, but, especially in light of recent events, expect more from our alma mater.

We hope that you and other senior administrators will soon take action to support, develop, and keep safe BC’s LGBTQ students. Specifically, we call on you to publicly condemn the recent incident and declare your support for BC’s LGBTQ community. In addition, we call on Boston College to outline and publish a plan with concrete steps it will take immediately to address homophobia at Boston College. Such steps should include hiring a full-time staff member dedicated to LGBTQ issues, creating an LGBTQ resource center, and adding gender identity and gender expression to the non-discrimination clause. As alumni, we are eager to support these efforts (financially or otherwise) and welcome an invitation to meet with you and other senior administrators to discuss how we can work together.

Support of BC’s LGBTQ students is not antithetical to the school’s Jesuit Catholic identity. What is happening now, though, is. We are confident that Boston College will do better by its LGBTQ students.

In Solidarity,

Matthew Putorti, Class of 2006

Andrew Engber, Class of 2015

Martin Casiano, Class of 2015

Nick Minieri, Class of 2016

LGBTQ and Ally Alumni of Boston College

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor