A group of administrators appointed by University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., who met with student leaders following several racist incidents on campus and the “Silence is Still Violence” march, has issued a letter to the students outlining a plan of action to address diversity and inclusion matters on campus.
Student leaders, including Akosua Achampong, Undergraduate Government of BC president and MCAS ’18, had met with administrators on Oct. 30 to request new programs and policies in the wake of the racist incidents last month and to address what various students suggested is a culture of racism at BC.
One of the racist incidents last month involved a student who took a Snapchat of a steak and cheese sandwich with the caption “I like my steak and cheese like I like my slaves.” According to a BC press release, administrators confirmed that the student is no longer enrolled at BC.
The letter was signed by Vice President for Student Affairs Barb Jones; Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley; Vice President for University Mission and Ministry Jack Butler, S.J.; Dean of Students Tom Mogan; Joy Haywood Moore, associate vice president for Alumni Relations; Patricia Lowe, executive director for Institutional Diversity; and Dan Bunch, special assistant to the vice president for Student Affairs.
The letter states that the University will:
- “Implement a learning module on diversity and inclusion, similar to Alcohol Edu and Haven, which will be required of all entering undergraduate students.”
- “Develop a survey through the Office of Institutional Research to obtain information about how undergraduates experience Boston College in issues ranging from diversity and inclusion to residential living and classroom teaching.
- “Work with all eight schools and colleges to continue efforts to hire a more diverse faculty and recruit a more diverse student body.
- “Build on current programs for faculty and staff to enhance diversity and inclusive excellence in the classroom and across campus.
- “Continue conversations involving Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Mission and Ministry and Human Resources to strengthen the culture of care and welcome at Boston College.”
“The racial incidents that occurred on campus this semester are unacceptable, and in conflict with the educational and religious heritage of Boston College,” the letter states. “As a Jesuit, Catholic university, all members of our community are called to treat one another with respect, compassion, and dignity.”
The letter also takes note of various milestones that highlight BC’s progress toward higher levels of diversity, such as enrolling a record high percentage of AHANA students in the Class of 2021 (31 percent) and hiring a record number of tenure-track of AHANA background (46 percent) in 2017. The letter says that these accomplishments are the result of “concentrated efforts involving the University President, Trustees, senior administrators, deans, alumni, faculty, and students.”
Before the events that gave rise to the meeting between administrators and student leaders, the letter notes that the University spearheaded a variety of initiatives directed at increasing cultural competence for students and faculty, such as the annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit, the renewal of the Core Curriculum, and inclusion programs such as MOSAIC and the Campus of Difference.
“Like you, however, we realize that more can and must be done for us to live up to our ideals and Mission,” the administrators wrote.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor