LTE: In Response to “Students Hold Die-In on Quad on Anniversary of Silence is Still Violence

While Boston College students have expressed a need for more comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion programs for decades, the events of last fall made it painfully clear that the University still has a long road ahead. As such, the Undergraduate Student Government of Boston College fully supports efforts like Thursday’s protest on the Academic Quad, that strive to keep systemic racism at the forefront of campus dialogue. The “die-in” served as a visually salient way of drawing attention to the continued fear, discomfort, and discrimination that students of color feel in our community. BC administrators have repeatedly expressed their opposition to all forms of prejudice and discriminationhowever, statements alone will not succeed in changing our campus culture.

We were also encouraged to see the assessment provided by the organizers of the die-in on the University’s Feb. 6 Update to Students. They accurately point out that the actions taken by BC so far, including DiversityEdu and an emphasis on AHANA+ faculty hiring, are hopeful, but should be seen as just the initial steps in more comprehensive, long-term efforts. To expand on this discussion, UGBC would like to provide a few more updates based on the conversations we have had this year with interim Vice President of Student Affairs Joy Moore, Dean of Students Tom Mogan, Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley, University Spokesman Jack Dunn, and other administrators and staff.

  1. DiversityEdu will continue to be refined and improved for next year based on student feedback. We can confirm that the University’s contract with the company that provides the current edition of the module is only set for two years. After that, administrators have expressed to us their hope that the BC community could produce and implement its own, more comprehensive edition of DiversityEdu, produced in collaboration with students, faculty, and staff. As this process begins, we will work to ensure student input.
  2. The African and African diaspora studies program is one of the academic programs currently being reviewed for expansion by the University. As the Black Eagles’ release noted, an external review process occurred last semester, and we received encouraging updates from Quigley that BC is looking to move forward with a full AADS department. While we cannot say for sure whether it will be available by next year, we know that it is in the works.
  3. As noted in The Heights, UGBC can also confirm that the Student Experience Survey will be released to all undergraduate students on Oct. 29. We plan to help publicize the survey through all of our available channels. While we have not yet seen the content of the survey, we have been told that it will take about 20 minutes to complete and will cover a wide range of topics related to life at BC. We would highly encourage all students to take advantage of this chance to express their feedback directly to the University’s leadership.
  4. Progress on an initiative as large as the Student Center is assuredly slow. Reed Piercey and Ignacio Fletcher, the UGBC president and vice president, respectively, have now had two brief meetings with the Board of Trustees’ Student Life Committee, and both times they have emphasized the widespread student support for a Student Center. While a date has not been announced, we know that it is being considered. The largest obstacle, as we have heard from multiple high-ranking administrators, is financial: the building would cost a minimum of $200 million, more than the upcoming Schiller Institute. We will continue to ensure that the Student Center remains at the forefront of the Board’s concerns.

Signed,

UGBC Executive Council

Featured Graphic by Anna Tierney / Graphics Editor