Two weeks ago, Eradicate Racism saw several of its core members threatened and sanctioned by the Boston College administration for the so-called crime of holding rallies against hate. While The Heights ran a first page article on the sanctions, and the social justice groups on campus are very aware of what occurred, I am disturbed by the lack of outrage over this authoritarian crackdown.
Our administration is punishing students for rallying against racism. I say again: our administration is punishing students for rallying against racism. That is not an exaggeration. That is not a biased account. That is the reality of living under an administration whose primary goal is maintaining the status quo. For a Jesuit institution to put the desires of its shareholders over its own stated values of social justice and equality is not only immensely hypocritical—it is morally egregious.
At orientation this summer, Rev. Michael Himes painted the picture of an ideal university being defined by conversation. He captivated myself and my peers with this image—a place where we could all feel free to explore our beliefs and share them with the world. What an unpleasant shock it has been to realize that a permit is required to converse, and that some speakers are intentionally silenced.
In some small way, it is a fortunate that Eradicate Racism was targeted. It is so obviously unacceptable and immoral to silence a group advocating against bigotry that it might just awaken the BC community, and provoke renewed cries for justice. No matter how you view Eradicate, this incident should make one thing abundantly clear: this administration will stop at nothing to silence disquieting voices.
It is essential that all those who believe in liberty and justice for all demand liberty and justice for Eradicate. We have no choice but to demand that our administration revoke these sanctions and reform its grossly antiquated free speech policies. And if the current administration lacks the moral rectitude to undertake such reforms, then we must demand their replacement. If we fail to do so, and we allow injustice to fester, there’s no way of knowing who might be next.
Matthew Barad, MCAS ’20