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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Conversations that Matter: Who Belongs at BC? The Class of 2019 Discusses Race, Class, and Community at Boston College

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On Thursday, November 15th, 2018 the Boisi Center hosted its inaugural installment of a series of conversations on belonging at BC. Moderated by Kerry Cronin (Boston College) and Barbara Quinn, R.S.C.J. (Boston College STM), a student panel featuring Soyun Chang, Rachel Lim, Ryan Reichert, and Anthony Smith reflected on their experiences of race and class over their time at Boston College.

After offering individual stories, the students addressed the archetype of the Boston College student: monolithic with respect to socioeconomic status and racial background. Nonconformity with this archetype, panelists commented, produced feelings of exclusion, while also instilling a sense of action-oriented consciousness to engage advocacy efforts on campus.

Following the panelists’ remarks, Cronin and Quinn engaged the all-senior audience about their own questions and experiences of race and class at BC. Some students questioned the relative primacy of class versus race as the dominant sociological force in the undergraduate experience. Students also brainstormed ways that Boston College could cultivate change and a culture of awareness. This imperative is also an individual one: students must continue to educate themselves on these matters in order to start having “conversations that matter.” The seniors who attended voiced that this was one of the first spaces during their time at BC open to engaging the difficult conversations and questions rather than skirting around the issues. Hopefully it will be a first of many.