Dear members of the BC Law community:

I wanted to give a brief update on our campus reopening progress, before turning my focus to this week’s announcement from the University about the establishment of the Boston College Forum on Racial Justice in America.

First, our working groups have been meeting regularly and making good progress as we move toward a more comprehensive proposed plan in early July (please see last week’s email for details on these groups). The University's Space Planning team has also been reviewing all BC spaces and will be modeling various plans for social distancing in Law School classrooms. One unknown but crucial factor will be Massachusetts guidelines on classroom capacity. Thus far, we only have information from the state for Phase 1 and 2; regulations around occupancy percentages (or maximum numbers allowed) in enclosed spaces for this fall have not yet been released.

Together, we can reduce risk as we return this fall. But this requires everyone to take personal responsibility and make major changes to previous behaviors. We are doing our best to have PPE available as needed once you arrive, but individuals will need to have their own supplies in hand, be vigilant to their own symptoms, wear masks to protect others, keep proper distances, and wash their hands frequently. This New Yorker article on the lessons learned from Mass General Brigham in protecting health care workers is well worth reading and can be applied to our return to campus.

Finally, I wanted to update you on my role as inaugural director of the Boston College Forum on Racial Justice in America, which was announced by Father Leahy on Wednesday. My initial goals for the Forum include:

  • Assembling a Board of Advisors to focus the Forum’s efforts to help in key areas of need, including healthcare and income inequality
  • Engaging schools across the University to create an interdisciplinary model of support
  • Creating opportunities for the victims of racism to tell their stories. At Boston College, we have not done enough listening, and we cannot move forward with concrete action steps if we do not take seriously the views of those who have been most heavily burdened by racial injustice in the United States.

But listening is not enough. Our Law School mission statement emphasizes our commitment to social and economic justice, highlights the importance of a diverse and supportive community, and makes service to others central to everything we do. This mission is reflected in our long history of fighting for those most in need. I believe our faculty and staff will be a vital part of the Forum’s effort as we move toward concrete action and true and lasting change, both within the University and beyond.

Vincent Rougeau
Dean, Boston College Law School | he/him/his