At University Convocation last week, addressing Boston College faculty and staff, University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., strongly condemned the demonstrations by white supremacists last month in Charlottesville, Va.
His full comments are below:
“As we move into the coming academic year and plan for the future, I think we have to be particularly mindful of certain issues and realities that could negatively affect higher education and Boston College.
“First, we must remain alert to the current political, social, and religious climate, both in the United States and around the world, and respond appropriately. Since last year’s presidential election, it has become even more difficult to have respectful dialogue about such issues as immigration, race, sexuality, free speech, and religious beliefs. The recent march in Charlottesville by white supremacists, so alarming, reprehensible, and in conflict with American ideals and values, spotlighted extremist views in our country and shows how quickly a small, fringe group can provoke violence and endanger the common good.”
Leahy has been criticized by some students in the past for appearing to not publicly comment on hot-button political issues. As explained to The Heights last year by University Spokesman Jack Dunn, “[Leahy’s] belief is that students should discern for themselves what’s right and wrong and formulate their own opinions, and that they’re best suited to do that independent of comments, statements, or letters from faculty, staff, and administrators.”
Leahy has recently made his stances more public, though. In the past year, he has commented publicly on issues like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), signing on to two statements encouraging the administration of President Donald Trump to continue the program, as well as the travel ban put in place last January by the Trump administration, which he and other senior leadership condemned in a statement.
Several university presidents have released public statements through their school’s websites and Twitter accounts condemning the riots in Charlottesville, including Fordham University’s president, Rev. Joseph McShane, S.J., BC ’70, and Harvard University’s Drew Faust.
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor