Published: Monday, April 23, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 20:01
“I just want you to be happy and succeed,” said the Residential Director of Hardey-Cushing to many of her residents on Newton campus. She and the Office of Residential Life attempted to make Hardey-Cushing a better place by putting the Pathways Initiative into effect this year. Unfortunately, the Pathways Initiative has backfired. Students are not happy.
Under the Pathways Initiative the RA-student ratio is lowered in an attempt to foster community growth. Rather than promote community growth, it has created a hostile environment in which RAs have developed into quasi police officers. In disciplinary meetings with students concerning marijuana, an official has been quoted as saying that they do not care if students smoke marijuana in the Newton Woods as long as it is not in the dorms.
The residential director staff position is described on the Boston College website as follows: “The Resident Director strives to create a safe and inclusive environment for all students by modeling the values of a Jesuit Catholic institution with a commitment to social justice.” The advice given to students proves that RDs act more like police officers than they offer students real life advice and help them grow in the Jesuit ideals. Say, for example, maybe she should instruct students to not partake in illegal drug activities at all and not just simply change locations to avoid getting caught.
There is absolutely no trust whatsoever between the residents, RAs, and the RD in the buildings of Hardey-Cushing. That is sad. The RAs who say to your face that you can trust them and that they are your friends turn and report everything that comes out of your mouth.
We pay nearly $10,000 a year to live in the overflow campus in Newton, and in Hardey-Cushing, we are paying for Residential Life to take away many of our most basic freedoms as American citizens. I understand that safety is of the utmost importance to Residential Life, but there is a line between keeping a campus safe and policing it like the Gestapo. Residential Life has crossed that line time and time again. Students are not happy, and a surprising amount are moving off campus (5 of 17 from my floor) next year because they are so fed up with many of the ridiculous Residential Life policies, specifically under the Pathways Initiative.
Apparently Residential Life chooses to ignore the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. The right to privacy is not explicitly outlined in the Constitution, but its idea is present in many of the Constitutional amendments. The 4th Amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” I think Residential Life needs to brush up on their U.S. History studies because this amendment does not exist here at BC. They state, along with BCPD, that they can come in and demand you open a fridge or drawer if they so ask. This is not only illegal and unfair, it also, again, promotes a community with absolutely no trust. The head of Residential Life for Newton campus laughed in my face when I brought up the 4th amendment. I do not find my rights as a United States citizen a laughing matter. Just because some executive at BC makes the argument that because they own the dorms they can do what they want with them does not excuse them from blatantly ignoring our Constitutional rights. Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus temporarily during the American Civil War, which was somewhat justified. I do not feel that we have a crisis of that nature here at BC and therefore I am flabbergasted at the lack of respect Residential Life has for our most basic rights. Even criminals in jail have a right to privacy, and probable cause is needed to search even their few possessions. We are not criminals here at BC, yet we do not even have the rights that they do in jail! I have heard students say in the past it is better to be stopped by a BCPD officer than a Boston Police officer, and I do not agree, because at least if I am stopped by a Boston Police officer I know they will follow the laws of our nation that have been upheld for hundreds of years.
I also believe that whoever created the Pathways Initiative might have forgotten the age of freshman students, on average probably 18 or 19 years old. We are legal adults, and maybe it’s crazy of me, but I do not feel it necessary to have RAs knocking on my door at 8 p.m. many nights a week asking if I want candy and want to chat. If I have a problem I will reach out. Many of the Pathways Initiative programs such as Frosh.0 and Bro.0 seek to “foster community growth” with speakers and activities. It is comical that they have to incentivize students to come by offering free dinner. The number of people that attend solely for the free dinner is overwhelming, so what is that saying about this Pathways Initiative? It is failing. It is unnecessary. And bottom line, it is a waste of our tuition money.
Had I been aware of the lack of respect that Residential Life has for its students, I would have never lived in the dorms. In the next couple of years, one of two things will happen. Either Residential Life will realize that they need not act like they were trained by Stalin or more and more students will continue to move off campus. BC Residential life is by far the strictest and least trusting of any university I have ever heard of and I truly believe that this reputation will catch up with them faster than they are aware of.