BC students worry their president doesn't care enough
Several hundred Boston College students marched against homophobia recently, though many were preoccupied by their frustration over the lack of soothing words from their president.
A little more than two weeks ago, someone rearranged letters in a parking sign to spell out “no fags,” and while the administration did issue a prompt statement in response, the students were apparently miffed that it did not bear the president’s signature.
The university’s associate vice president, Tom Morgan, said in an open letter to students that he takes this vandalism very seriously and that the university will not tolerate it, adding that the school is investigating the situation and will punish the perpetrator under the student code of conduct, if found.
Many students at the Jesuit Catholic university found that response insufficient, however. So, they protested.
Many students specifically complained that Fr. William Leahy, SJ, the president of Boston College, did not address the issue himself. The Graduate Pride Alliance even called him out on his “privilege.”
“Your silence has directly impacted the well-being of your queer and minoritized students during their most vulnerable moments—and not for the better,” the Graduate Pride Alliance declared in an open letter to Leahy in the student newspaper, The Heights.
“We welcome you to come talk to any one of the many queer students, staff, faculty, or priests at Boston College and ask what it feels like to watch our institution erase us from existence,” he wrote. “Come down from your ivory tower of privilege and confront any queer student you claim to support. Ask them about this latest incident and witness the gut-wrenching pain in their eyes as they plead for support and compassion—and most importantly, as always, stay silent.”
According to The Rainbow Times, one student protester also demanded explanations for why there is not a full-time LGBTQ+ staff person, an LGBTQ+ resource center, or gender-neutral bathrooms.
“We feel it appropriate to have an explanation of why this hasn’t happened, so who better to give us those explanations than the university’s leader and president?” remarked Dylan Lang, President of the Graduate Pride Alliance.
The 350 students chanted “break the silence” as they marched, intending to communicate their feeling that the culture at BC is silencing them, The Boston Globe reported, and some protesters wore rainbow-colored duct tape across their mouths during the march to reinforce the message.
“As a gay student at Boston College, I understand firsthand what it feels like to be silenced,” Lang told the Rainbow Times.
Some students also took the opportunity to address other grievances.
One student, for instance, demanded that the president speak out more strongly against racism, while another said “I felt like I had to hide part of myself to truly fit in” because she is blind in one eye.
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