LTE: In Response to: “Impeachment Talk was Overreaction”

To The Heights Editorial Board,

During my time at Boston College, I have become used to seeing UGBC show tolerance for certain opinions and outrage at others. Senators such as Michael Proietta, Matthew Batsinelas, and Ray Mancini have all proposed or supported resolutions that were deemed “controversial” by the rest of the Student Assembly, and all three of them have since left UGBC in protest of that one-sided tolerance. It is my duty to protect free speech on this campus, but it is also my duty to enforce the UGBC Constitution and the Boston College Code of Conduct. If a fellow senator violates either of those documents, they can no longer be protected by free speech. As the author who wrote the vast majority of the impeachment articles against Steve DiPietro, I feel the need to defend my actions and question the integrity of your journalism.

I take issue with the fact that you published multiple articles about this incident without consulting the authors of the impeachment articles themselves or enquiring about the reasons behind why they’d been drafted at all. Instead, you made a weak effort at undermining the articles by highlighting the word “individual” in the UGBC Constitution’s anti-discrimination clause, conveniently forgetting the three other charges against DiPietro. The only explanation you could possibly have for describing an impeachment trial as an “overreaction” is that you do not understand why the impeachment articles were created in the first place, which could have been easily rectified had you not failed to reach out to me before publishing. We did not move to impeach DiPietro because he held a controversial opinion; we did so because he referred to fellow students as “freaks” for believing, quite simply, that black lives matter. I am a strong advocate for the protection of free speech, but that protection does not extend to speech that violates the UGBC Constitution or the Code of Conduct.

It’s very convenient that The Heights suddenly claims to support diversity of opinion barely a day after Batsinelas claimed that “UGBC and The Heights promote a hypersensitive campus climate that has created an intolerant student body to opposing viewpoints” in his resignation letter. You are only claiming to support diversity of opinion now because Batsinelas called you out, and people are agreeing with him. If you supported diversity of opinion, you’d have spoken out against those who harassed Batsinelas and Mancini, who actively supported different opinions on campus, for breaking from commonly accepted beliefs during their campaign last year, or perhaps you’d have condemned the individual who asked friends to literally treat Michael Proietta like a toilet because of his “controversial” opinions. But you didn’t. Instead, you tried to make excuses for someone who calls BLM supporters “freaks,” and you condemned senators who actually stand for justice.

If you’re going to support intellectual diversity from now on, try harder. Don’t try and claim that you did so before—you didn’t. Now, prove us wrong and get it right.

Sincerely,

Sam Szemerenyi, MCAS ’20

Featured Graphic by Nicole Chan / Graphics Editor