Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

For Family Members

The Office of the Dean of Students

Students Walking Toward Commencement

Welcome Parents and Families

The Office of the Dean of Students is dedicated to supporting students’ growth in the areas of personal responsibility, citizenship, and informed decision making in order to facilitate their overall development, commitment to community service, and holistic learning. We believe in appropritaely partnering with parents and family members to guide student's through their educational journey.

The Division of Student Affairs has created several resources to be able to assist you and your students in this process, and we encourage you to explore the Parent Resources Website for some of the following information:

Get Ready Class Year Calendar

This calendar highlights key activities and events throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Campus-wide Resources

This page details the full array of services, offices, and programs, which may impact your student's educational journey.

Accommodations & Travel Information

If you are planning a trip to campus, these pages may prove useful.

Parent Update Newsletter

Learn more about featured programs and resources available to your student at Boston College.

Additional Information

Answers to many frequently asked questions from family members have been provided in the above tabs as well as contact information for various staff members in the Office of the Dean of Students who may be able to assist you if you cannot find the answer you need.

If you would like to speak with someone concerning a student in distress between the hours of 9am and 5pm contact the Office of the Dean of Students (DOS) at 617-552-3470 or University Counseling Services at 617-552-3310.  After 5pm or on weekends or holidays, contact BCPD at 617-552-4440.  BCPD will be able to access appropriate assistance for you.

For additional information, visit Student Outreach & Support.

What to do in an EMERGENCY situation:

If you believe there may be imminent danger of harm to a student or someone else, immediately call the Boston College Police Department (BCPD) for assistance at 617-552-4444; if you are off campus, dial 911. If you need help in assessing the situation, call the University Counseling Services at 617-552-3310 between the hours of 9am and 5pm; after 5pm contact BCPD at 617-552-4440.

What to do in a NON-EMERGENCY situation:

If you would like to speak with someone concerning a student in distress between the hours of 9am and 5pm contact the Office of the Dean of Students (DOS) at 617-552-3470 or University Counseling Services at 617-552-3310.  After 5pm or on weekends or holidays, contact BCPD at 617-552-4440.  BCPD will be able to access appropriate assistance for you.

For additional information, visit Student Outreach & Support.

The Disability Services Office serves students with medical, phyisical, psychological, and temporary disabilities.

Students with learning disabilities are served by the Connors Family Learning Center.

For additional information about eligibility for services, visit Disability Services Eligibility.

Students who are eligible for the services offered by the Disability Services Office need to register by completing the Disability Services Office Registration Form available on the Disability Services Forms & Policies page.

Students will also need to call the Office of the Dean of Students at 617-552-3470 to schedule an appointment with Dean Paulette Durrett, and they will need to bring documentation from their healthcare provider stating their disability and the accommodations recommended by the provider.

Advice on Addressing Your Student's Policy Violation

Know Your Parental Power

You have the power to significantly affect your student's ability to make healthy and safe choices. The first semester of college is a very high-risk time for first-year students, who are typically living away from home for the first time. Just because you are not physically on campus does not mean you cannot steer your student toward making responsible decisions about alcohol and drugs or other conduct related matters. In fact, we recommend you stay in close contact with your student during these critical months.

Take Action, if Necessary

You know your son/daughter the best. Be aware that changes in personality and behavior may be the direct result of possible alcohol or drug abuse. You can take proactive steps if you suspect such abuse, including the following:

  • Look for symptoms of possible drug or alcohol abuse in your student: low grades, reluctance to talk about activities or friends, trouble with campus authorities, or serious mood changes.
  • Don't blame your student. Focus on finding appropriate resources/treatments.
  • Contact the Office of the Dean of Students to indicate your interest in the welfare of your student and your wish to be actively involved in his/her recovery.
  • Point your student to appropriate resources if he/she is concerned about his/her own behavior or that of a friend.
  • See your student (and ask to meet his or her friends) in person.

Start an Important Discussion

As a Boston College parent or guardian, you'll want to hear how your student is adjusting to academic and social life on campus. Listen closely to what your student says (or does not say) about transitioning to University-level courses and living in a residence hall or off-campus apartment. It's vital that you stay involved in your Boston College student's life - especially during his or her first months here.

Here are some ways in which you can remain up-to-date on your student's well-being in meaningful ways:

  • Call your son or daughter often during his or her first semester at Boston College.
  • Pay special attention to your student's experiences and activities. With a great deal of free time, some students engage in heavy drinking during the early days of college, and any excessive alcohol consumption has the potential to interfere with your student's successful adaptation to campus life.
  • Make sure your student understands the penalties for underage drinking, public drunkenness, using a fake ID, driving under the influence, enabling underage drinking, assault, and other alcohol-related offenses. Indicate that you may be informed when your student violates Boston College's alcohol and drug policies.
  • Make certain that they understand how alcohol use can lead to non-stranger rape, violence, and academic failure.
  • Make sure your son or daughter knows your expectations for them regarding alcohol and drug use.

The Student Conduct System

Students who are accused of violating the Boston College Code of Conduct are referred to the Office of Student Conduct, which has the responsibility of enforcing the code. The Office of Student Conduct investigates complaints of code violations and resolves cases. For more information about the process, visit Section 5.0, Student Conduct System of the Student Guide.

How you can help

Students who are about to participate in conduct proceedings may want a listening ear or more information about what to expect. The Office of Student Conduct strives to make the conduct process formational for students while also balancing the needs of the campus community. We see family members as essential to this developmental process, and we encourage them to balance individual support of the student with appropriate levels of challenge of the choices the student may have made, which lead to the alleged conduct violation. Avoid taking firm sides (“That is so wrong!”) without having all of the details, as it will only further confuse the student. Instead, you can assist by encouraging the student to seek accurate information about how the conduct system functions (see below) or to meet with a Boston College community member (e.g., faculty mentor, Resident Director, coach, etc.).  

Additionally, students are allowed to have one adviser of their choosing during the hearing process. We strongly encourage students to select a member of the Boston College community to serve in this capacity who may be more familiar with conduct process, but you may choose to act as the student's adviser. For additional information about serving in this capacity, visit Section 5.0, Student Conduct System of the Student Guide.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) limits the information staff members are able to release to family members about a students conduct proceedings. FERPA does offer provisions for the University to release information to parents/guardians when a student violates the institution's alcohol or drug policies. In such instances, a letter will be sent to parents/guardians of the student. However, only the specific violation and university responses are able to be released, not any information shared in the student's conduct hearing or the report.

For parents, guardians, or family members to receive this information, the student must complete and submit the FERPA Release Form, which the student's conduct hearing officer can provide them. If you would like to know more information about your student's conduct proceedings, you will need to have them ask for this document from their conduct hearing officer and complete it to release the hearing officer to discuss the details of the incident with you.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) limits the information staff members are able to release to family members about a student's educational record. FERPA does offer provisions for the University to release information to parents/guardians when a student violates the institution's alcohol or drug policies. In such instances, a letter will be sent to parents/guardians of the student. However, only the specific violation and university responses are able to be released, not any information shared in the student's conduct hearing or the report.

Sexual Misconduct is defined in the Student Guide as a broad range of behaviors including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of misconduct of a sexual nature such as relationship violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation. Sexual misconduct can occur between individuals who know each other, have an established relationship, have previously engaged in consensual sexual activity, and between individuals who do not know each other. Sexual misconduct can be committed by persons of any gender, and it can occur between people of the same or different gender.

For the definition of consent and other terms related to sexual misconduct, please see the complete Sexual Misconduct Policy and Resources webpage.

What is Title IX?

Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational program sand activities operated by institutions that receive federal funding. Sexual harassment, including sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct, is a form of sex discrimination that schools must respond to in accordance with their obligations under Title IX.

Haven - Understanding Sexual Assault

An online module that addresses the critical issues of sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. Required education for all first-year students prior to their arrival.

Speak About It

Speak About It is a performance-based hour-long presentation about sexual assault, consent, boundaries, and healthy relationships that engages students using a combination of humor, interactive dialogue, and audience participation. All first-year students attend this performance as part of the university's Welcome Week calendar.

Bystander Intervention Education

An interactive, peer-led sexual assault prevention program that seeks to empower Boston College students to stand up and speak out to prevent instances of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking. All first year students are trained in Bystander Education.

Concerned About Rape Education (C.A.R.E.)

A week of programming to raise awareness about sexual assault, rape, and intimate partner violence.

 

If a student discloses sexual misconduct to you:

Step 1: Care for the Student

  • Ensure they are safe
  • Listen and avoid  judgmental questions - don't ask any questions that starts with "why"
  • Tell the student that you believe them

Step 2: Connect the student with resources

Additional Information

For additional information, including important definitions, the sexual misconduct hearing process, and additional resources, visit Sexual Misconduct Policy and Resources.

Boston College, as a Catholic and Jesuit University, has a responsibility to promote the pastoral care of all members of the university community and is committed to the intellectual, social, and spiritual development of all our students. The University seeks to foster a campus culture that welcomes diversity, embraces inclusivity, promotes dialogue, and creates a safe and supportive environment for all.

Visit LGBTQ Student Outreach & Support for resources for Boston College students who may be questioning their sexual or gender identity, have questions arising from their sexual or gender identity, have general questions about the GLBTQ community, or just need someone to dialogue with about their personal lives and how to be their most authentic selves. While an ally is listed for each office, it by no means indicates that this particular individual is the only person in the office who can provide assistance.

The variety of these resources reflects the commitment of Boston College to providing a safe, caring, and supportive environment for the healthy development of all of our students. Connecting students with this information promotes wellness and fosters greater opportunities to learn about respect, equality, and identity while contributing to the development of a more just and authentic community.

Introduction

Boston College has a specific program to help you immediately address concerns related to bias or hate crimes and bias incidents. When you become aware that a student has experienced a bias incident or bias/hate crime, as explained below, recognize that the student may be experiencing a wide range of emotions including shame, anger, fear, and denial. The student will benefit from a caring response that allows him/her to feel some level of control in choosing the action to address the crime or incident. Boston College’s Hate Crimes and Bias Motivated Offensive Conduct Protocol, administered by Boston College’s Office for Institutional Diversity, permits the student to choose the course of action.

A bias/hate crime is not separate, distinct crimes, but rather traditional criminal offenses under federal or state law that are motivated in whole or in part by the offender’s bias toward the victim’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, gender, or ethnicity. Bias-motivated offensive conduct is behavior that, whether or not criminal, constitutes a violation of behavioral standards and policies listed in the Student Guide or Professional Standards of Boston College, and that is motivated in whole or in part by the offender’s bias toward the victim’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, gender, or ethnicity. For complete policy definitions, visit Boston College Hate Crimes and Bias Motivated Offensive Conduct Definitions.

How you can help:

If the student believes s/he is the victim of a crime, s/he should immediately contact BCPD (617-552-4440). BCPD will also report the matter to the Office for Institutional Diversity and the Dean of Students.

In addition, to support its goal of monitoring and maintaining a climate based on civility, decency, and respect, Boston College also responds to acts of bigotry, harassment, or intimidation by unknown perpetrators that are directed toward a member(s) of the Boston College community based on age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, and/or veteran status. If a bias related incident is reported to you, assist the student to identify the most appropriate path for him/her to report the matter by reviewing the available options under University Responses.

Additionally, counseling is available through University Counseling Services (617-552-3310). Other bias-related Boston College support services may be found under Support Resources.

Report / Consult:

  • Contact Richard Jefferson, Executive Director of Institutional Diversity to consult and coordinate a University response.
    617-552-3334 ● jefferso@bc.eduwww.bc.edu/diversity ● 129 Lake Street, Room 211 (Brighton Campus)

Respond:

If you meet with the student, follow the below principles:

  • Thank the student for coming to you, and tell them “I’m listening.” Mirror the language they use to avoid labeling their experience.
  • Inform the student as soon as possible what your reporting obligations are, and ensure that you’re being accurate: 
    • “As an employee at BC, I do have to share what you choose to tell me to Richard Jefferson, Executive Director of Institutional Diversity. If you’re open to it, he may have the Office of Student Conduct follow up with to see what kind of support they can provide.”
  • Ask the student whether they feel safe now. Do they need immediate medical attention and would they like someone to accompany them?
  • Ask open ended questions beginning with, “If you feel comfortable sharing…” in order to learn more about what happened. If you begin to ask “why…?” don’t ask.
  • Although your role might be to assess for safety in the community, avoid asking for invasive details of the incident. These are not necessary to support the student now.
  • Avoid being directive, and instead be empowering by asking, “What can my supervisor and/or I do right now to be helpful?” or “What do you need in this moment?”
  • Check in with yourself throughout the disclosure: Are you struggling with bias, discomfort or feeling triggered? Can you take a deep breath and continue?
  • Remind the student that there is no obligation to do anything now, and that their options are just that— optional.
  • Offer to connect the student with the Office of Student Conduct or another referral resource.
  • Ensure that you’re keeping students’ personal information confidential by not sharing any details of the report with anyone other than Richard Jefferson, BCPD, or the Office of Student Conduct. 

Additional Information

For additional information, visit Hate Crimes and Bias Motivated Offensive Conduct Protocol.

If you have been trying to get in touch with your student and are unable to do so, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 617-552-3470, so we can assist you.

If this is an emergency situation or outside of the hours of 9am - 5pm from Monday - Friday, contact BCPD at 617-552-4444.

If you do not find an ansewer to your question in the FAQ, please contact one of the below staff members in the Office of the Dean of Students to assist you. For a complete staff listing, visit Dean of Students About Us.
 

Disability Services Questions

Disability Services Staff
disabsrv@bc.edu 617-552-3470

LGBTQ Student Outreach & Support Questions

Caroline Davis, Assistant Dean
caroline.davis.2@bc.edu
617-552-3470
 

Sexual Misconduct Policy & Resources Questions

Corey Kelly, Student Conduct Manager
corey.kelly@bc.edu 617-552-3470

Student Conduct Process Questions

Kristen O'Driscoll, Assistant Dean of Students
kristen.odriscoll@bc.edu 617-552-3470

Monica St. Louis, Assistant Dean of Students
monica.stlouis@bc.edu 617-552-3470
 

Students in Distress or Crisis (Non-Emergency) Questions

Caroline Davis, Assistant Dean of Students
caroline.davis.2@bc.edu 617-552-3470

General Questions about The Office of the Dean of Students

Phone: 617-552-3470
Email: deanofstudents@bc.edu