LTE: A Response to “To Move Forward, Eradicate Must Acknowledge Efforts”

Yesterday, University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J. took action on one of 16 demands that over 1,400 Boston College community members have petitioned for in the “Call to Make Boston College a Sanctuary Campus.” This caption was posted on Eradicate Boston College Racism’s Facebook page on Nov. 30 to contextualize our support of the Sanctuary Campus petition which enumerates concrete steps that BC’s administration should take to protect undocumented students and has been signed by hundreds of BC students, faculty, and staff. On Dec. 1, we released a detailed comparison of the Pomona College and ACCU Statements (which Fr. Leahy has signed) and the far more comprehensive and binding AJCU Statement, noting that Boston College is the only institution in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities that has not signed this statement.

Therefore, when The Heights claimed in its Dec. 5 editorial that Eradicate “should have acknowledged Leahy’s action,” it was unclear what sort of acknowledgment was expected. Should Dec. 1’s rally in support of the Sanctuary Campus petition have adopted a celebratory tone because one of its 16 demands had been met?

Incidentally, The Heights’ claim that Eradicate authored the petition is flattering, but incorrect. The petition was initiated by a group of law students who solicited feedback from an array of undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. The Graduate Student Senate and Undergraduate Government of BC were involved from the petition’s inception. The resulting document reflects the desires of hundreds of members of BC’s community, as evidenced by the hundreds of signatures it has collected.

Eradicate is often criticized for our perceived failure to cooperate with the administration. However, Eradicate’s attempts to work through the institution have been ineffectual. In Oct. 2015, the Provost’s office stepped in at the last second to block a flyer we had created to help promote a conversation series on race. This past September, when we attempted to register a solidarity march, our application was denied, and we were told that we could not register events because we were not an official campus organization. We were not told that individuals could register events until Dec. 1. Repeated attempts to use official channels have shown us that we can work most effectively as an extra-institutional organization—jumping through the administration’s hoops is a distraction from the more important work of advocating for vulnerable students.

The rally on Dec. 1 was our attempt to support two existing movements in solidarity with undocumented students: the Sanctuary Campus petition and the national movement organized by Cosecha. Our status as an extra-institutional, “undocumented” organization allows us to create a space of resistance that complements the efforts of other groups that work closely with the administration. Until these officially recognized groups succeed in implementing policies that protect and support vulnerable students, we will continue to create spaces of sanctuary, resistance, and healing for the oppressed through direct action.

Eradicate BC Racism

Amelie Daigle, GMCAS ’18

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor