Letter from Student Affairs VP Barbara Jones
December 19, 2014
Dear Members of the BC Community:
I am writing as vice president for student affairs to address a demonstration on campus that has resulted in anger and some misinformation among members of the BC community.
As you know, the recent court decisions in Ferguson and Staten Island have evoked intense feelings throughout the United States and on college campuses nationwide, including Boston College.
Over the past few weeks, several student groups, in accordance with the Boston College Code of Student Conduct, requested permits to hold demonstrations on campus to voice their anger and frustration over these tragic events and other issues of concern. Approvals for demonstrations are standard requirements at most colleges and universities. In each case, the Office of the Dean of Students issued permits for the students’ protests, including one that was held on December 5 in front of O’Neill Library. On December 8, a group of students from the Black Student Forum (BSF) asked the dean’s office for a permit to host an event on the following day. Contrary to reports, that permit was not denied, but rather was withdrawn by the BSF.
On December 9, a group of law students hosted an authorized die-in on the Newton Campus to express their opposition to the court rulings. The students worked with the Office of the Dean of the Law School to determine the time and place for the event, which took place without incident.
That same afternoon, a group of students, as well as some faculty and non-community members, held a protest in St. Mary’s Hall, the campus residence of the BC Jesuit Community. Their unauthorized protest prevented workers from completing their duties, which delayed the move-in of the Jesuits who were returning to their home after two years of building renovations. The residence of the Jesuit community is private, with limited access to the University community. Since its opening in 1917, it has always been a place of prayer and solitude.
Following the demonstration in St. Mary’s, the Office of the Dean of Students sent a letter to the BC students involved asking them to meet with the associate dean to discuss the matter and possible disciplinary outcomes to which students are subject for violating the Code of Conduct. The associate dean has met with several students thus far, and the dialogue has been positive and productive. The University anticipates that in most cases the sanction will be a warning along with a formative educational exercise.
The Division of Student Affairs is committed to listening to students’ voices and working collaboratively to address their concerns. As I have done since I arrived at BC, I encourage students to join me for discussions during my Friday afternoon open office hours.
In the meantime, I wish all of you a restful and peaceful holiday season.
Vice President for Student Affairs