Dialogue Must Be Prioritized for Effective Execution of Student Demands

Just over a year ago, Boston College students organized the “Silence Is Still Violence” march in response to race-related incidents that occurred on campus. At the same time, a group of students released a list of demands for the University, aiming to make it a more inclusive institution.

Fulfilling one of the demands from last year’s list, BC is releasing the Student Experience Survey on Monday. As the administration continues to respond to the items on the list, the University has proven that it has been hearing the concerns of students of color. Whether or not these executions are implemented to the students’ standards, however, is a different story. Thinking about the Black Eagles’ response to DiversityEdu, the survey may not satisfy expectations. The information gathered in the Student Experience Survey, while an important step by the University, must be comprehensive enough to achieve the desired impact on the student body. (Writing on Sunday, we haven’t yet seen the contents of the survey.)

The Black Eagles’ letter earlier this month says that the campus climate survey was planned in a committee last semester with the expectation that it would be released this year. “The BC administration nor the committee have given a clear timetable on the survey,” the group wrote. “Again, expectations were not met.” But the University was already preparing to launch the survey. Their letter indicates that some students have not been informed of important developments regarding demands made last year. Perhaps a solution is public transparency from BC on its plans.  

Students have proposed a town hall meeting, and sociology and African and African diaspora studies professor C. Shawn McGuffey suggested monthly progress reports, but the major decisions regarding this topic are being made behind closed doors. BC isn’t clearly communicating its strategy, so student activists don’t really know what’s going on, and thus they haven’t found that the University has implemented satisfactory measures.

It becomes increasingly important that these demands are executed effectively as classes continue to diversify: The Class of 2022 is BC’s most diverse so far, with 33 percent of its students identifying as AHANA+. The expectation is that BC should be in conversation with students while making these decisions so that they can be implemented in the most satisfactory and effective way. BC should consider putting an administrator in a public position to serve as a figure with whom students can honestly discuss the processes and pending programs the University hopes to implement—these decisions are too important for there to be space for ambiguity or ambivalence between students and administrators.

Featured Graphic by Nicole Chan / Graphics Editor

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