James Noyes, CSOM ’19, presented a resolution to the Student Assembly of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College on Tuesday evening regarding safe lifting habits in the squat racks. But his speech to the SA had little to do with this topic.
After a few minutes, he began to make a statement on his viewpoint that conservative students are not being adequately represented on campus. He explained that although previous surveys of students have shown that conservative students feel persecuted for their views, UGBC hasn’t made any tangible effort to reach them, despite the organization’s claim to represent all students on campus.
“We all felt the injustice of seeing fellow students being told their lives don’t matter, but when conservative students face such backlash, there are not responses, no statements, no resolutions, or even mentions of it in our SA meetings,” Noyes said.
His response follows the resignation of two senators in the SA—Steve DiPietro, MCAS ’19, and Matt Batsinelas, CSOM ’19. Aneeb Sheikh, MCAS ’20, had called the SA to hold an emergency meeting regarding the Articles of Impeachment against DiPietro, an action that primarily stemmed from a social media post from DiPietro.
On Wednesday afternoon, UGBC sent an email announcing an open seat for the class of 2019.
Noyes noted that he was not “entirely against” the proposed action against DiPietro, but dislikes when conservative students are marginalized for their views.
“I see UGBC members, not necessarily SA members, liking such posts rather than mounting them,” Noyes said. “Such behavior is not acceptable and I encourage those of you who engage in it to respectfully stop participating in this harassment.”
Following his speech, Sheikh and Akosua Achampong, UGBC president and MCAS ’18, explained that they they encourage conservative students to come to UGBC meetings to express their views and help them feel more represented.
The night also consisted of debating the definition of a conservative. Noyes explained it is a mindset of students on campus who do not feel like they are being properly represented in UGBC. Achampong suggested that the word “conservative” was being used as a term to conceal other types behavior that violates human rights and human dignity, that she also wondered if the term “conservative” is used in terms of political or traditional view.
“We should not let the bystander effect let other students berate each other,” Achampong said. “We are advocates for everyone and are trying to do that in every circle and every situation, and not turn a blind eye if that’s what anyone in this room has been doing.”
Achampong added that there is a Biased Incident Reporting Net that conservatives also have the right to report incidents that they feel violate the community standards of BC. She feels it is important that BC students have the ability report incidents like this and engage in conversations with administrators to talk about the kind of language being used against conservatives.
“We need to start using conservative students as the basis for some of our activism, not all of it, but enough to assure such students that we do in fact represent them as the Undergraduate Government of Boston College,” Noyes said.
Featured Image By Steven Everett / Heights Creative Editor