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October 3, 2005

A Freshman's View of the Disorientation Packet

Brendan Boyle

      The Global Justice Project describes itself as "Boston College's largest education and action organization of the progressive left" and they take a fairly radical stance on many issues. Each year they distribute a packet discussing their beliefs to as many incoming freshman as possible. This raises the question does the packet give a negative initial impression of the left at BC in the minds of new students? If the packet is taken with a grain of salt most should realize that the opinions expressed here are not necessarily the opinions of the entire left of BC. However, if it is in someone's predisposition to attack the left and ignore its views, they will find plenty of cannon fodder in this packet. Many of the articles simply outline ongoing protests and concerns of the Global Justice Project such as the inclusion of homosexuality in the non-discrimination clause, racism, sexism, and militarism at Boston College. Others attack the institutions of the BC police, label board of trustees as men and women for profit, and vilify republicans. One article ,which I found particularly offense, called Drunkalachia!?!" characterizes those who go on Boston College service trips as people looking for voyeuristic adventures into the life of the poor, a photo opportunity, and a new group of drinking buddies. It suggests that attempting to help the less fortunate does not solve their problems and that those attending service trips should simply learn from these peoples experiences. Attacking those who are dedicated enough to embark on a service trip is completely unnecessary. You can learn from people and help them at the same time. If camaraderie develops between those on the trip there is nothing wrong with that. The assistance of the underprivileged by the privileged is a large part of what liberalism should be about. As far as the packets opinions about the UGBC, BC police, and Board of Trustees are concerned people can form their own ideas regarding them based on their interactions with these organizations.

      That being said, the packet does have a number of interesting articles and the resource section in the back is excellent for someone looking to do further research into ideas discussed in the packet. The resources section provides a good description of many of the more political organizations at Boston College, gives a overview of classes the GJP consider to be eye opening, and a provides a plethora of leftist literature and movies. An interesting section for freshman is the Boston Indie Guide which highlights some of the more "underground" places to go in the area. I would encourage anyone who received this packet to look it over even if you do not share its views. Reading the packet does not mean you have to prescribe to its ideals and it is a good way to expose yourself to different viewpoints.

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