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Office for Institutional Diversity

Office of Residential Life Boston College

protocol for addressing incidents of intolerance

This protocol will be used when addressing incidents of intolerance. These include but are not limited to hate speech, acts of bias-motivated violence, and inflammatory graffiti. The purpose of this protocol is to ensure that Residential Life is responding to the needs of the students involved in the incident as well as responding to the needs of the immediate community.

  • In all incidents, the Boston College Police Department MUST be called to respond to the scene to conduct a proper investigation.
  • The administrator on call must respond in person to the site of the incident.

Once on the scene, the administrator on call along with the BCPD gathers information:

  • How do the people in the room/on the floor feel?
  • Are there any witnesses?
  • What was written, said, or committed?
  • Where was it written, said, or committed?
  • Do we know who is responsible? If so, what is the perpetrator's relationship to the victim?
  • What do you believe is the intent? Was it intended to cause harm? Is it aimed at a particular person?
  • In the event that the incident involves inflammatory graffiti, attempt to cover, but not disturb, the offensive material.

Support the student

  • Make the student feel safe
    • Offer to relocate students if necessary
    • Offer stay-away orders when appropriate
    • Offer to speak with parents of students involved
  • Help the student find an appropriate resource for support at the scene whether it be University Counseling, Campus Ministry, or Health Services.
  • Encourage the student to enlist the help/support of family and friends.


  • The administrator on site should consult with the senior administrator on call to ensure the needs of the student are met.
  • The administrator on call will submit a very clear and detailed incident report.


  • The senior administrator on call in consultation with the director, associate director, and assistant director of Residential Life will meet to determine the severity of the incident and how extensive the community notification will be (floor, building, area, or campus) and how it will be implemented (floor meetings, letters, e-mail)
  • When deemed necessary by the above-mentioned staff members, all RAs on campus will be notified.
  • The resident assistant and the resident director will follow up with the students involved with the incident focusing on:
    • Offering continued support
    • Offering any services that might be necessary
    • Talking with concerned parents
    • Working to control rumors in the community
    • Potentially meeting with the affected community to offer services and to discuss how members are dealing with the incident.
  • Incidents that are not deemed severe (such as students writing inappropriate statements on one another's white boards as a joke), must be followed up in person by the resident director for that building to educate students about inappropriate language and how their insensitivity has an effect on the community.