At the end of October, students organized multiple rallies and walkouts in response to the defacing of several Black Lives Matter posters and a racially charged Snapchat. At the “Silence is Still Violence” march organized on Oct. 20, student leaders presented the University with several demands, including the creation of a campus climate survey and the establishment of an online pre-university educational module, as well as the making of the African and African Diaspora Studies Program into a full-fledged department.
Soon after, on Oct. 30, eight students met with a group of administrators to discuss appropriate administrative action in light of the racial incidents that occurred. Addressing student responses through these representatives, the University released a letter just before Thanksgiving Break outlining measures to be taken in the near future.
Appointed by University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., the group of administrators expressed a commitment to increasing the diversity of the faculty as well as the student body, creating a more inclusive environment. Furthermore, they plan to educate incoming students through an online module and launch a survey to assess the campus climate among undergraduates.
The administrators acted swiftly in response to the students’ requests. By collaborating directly with the student body and prioritizing this situation, the University displayed its respect for students and awareness of the importance of taking action. Although these immediate responses are relatively minor proposals, the administration’s quick response shows that they are committed to developing long-term solutions. They have established this issue as a primary concern and hope for realistic and attainable propositions for future resolutions.
Nevertheless, there remains uncertainty over a specific plan to recruit more diverse faculty members, which the administrators acknowledge. It is certainly difficult to guarantee that a diverse group of candidates will be available and suitable to hire, and BC has made progress in the past couple of years in hiring a high proportion of AHANA faculty. BC’s Class of 2021 is also the University’s most diverse class ever. Despite a lack of specifics, overall the administration presented proactive and effective actions that responded positively to the students’ demands.
Featured Image by Nicole Chan / Heights Editor