Report Reveals Problems With Female Self-Esteem
BC Must Publicize Findings, Continue To Address Problems Within The Campus Culture
Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, December 12, 2013 04:12
In the report recently released by the ad hoc Faculty Committee on Female Undergraduates, the well-known statistic on Boston College women’s declining self-esteem was investigated in depth. The report presented the survey data that led to this conclusion in great detail and included several quotes from focus groups conducted with female students about what undergraduates believed to be at the root of this disturbing phenomenon.
The report concludes with a number of recommendations for the University, ranging from an increase in the number and variety of mentorship programs available to women, to more ways in which faculty and offices concerned directly with student life can collaborate to promote the healthy development of students.
While the ad hoc committee is commendable for its initiative and hard work during the 2012-13 academic year and the publication of the final report, its efforts must be the beginning rather than the entirety of the conversation surrounding BC’s culture and the toll it takes on female self-esteem. The ad hoc committee has disbanded since the completion of the report, and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Provost’s Office have committed to appoint members for a new, official committee, which will continue monitoring relevant survey data. It is essential that this committee come to fruition, and that it advocate for the implementation of the many recommendations included in the end of the report. It should also take into account other recommendations that were discussed during the ad hoc committee’s meetings, such as chair of the history department Robin Fleming’s suggestions for a bus service to downtown Boston on weekend nights and a student space on campus to provide accessible alternatives to students wishing to opt out of the typical BC social scene.
Drawing attention to the issue of females’ declining self-esteem is an important first step, but making a problem known does not solve it. The administration must capitalize on the attention surrounding this statistic in order to enact the changes that can alter it. Likewise, students passionate about the issue should seek out ways to get involved and enact their own changes. There is no one, correct solution, and no one catch-all remedy. Significant change will be the result of several efforts on the part of multiple groups.
With its new focus on student advocacy, UGBC should also step into the conversation and press for these changes. Other student organizations, as well as individuals, should request a copy of this report from the administration to learn more about the issue. The University ought to not only release copies of the report to interested parties, but coordinate a public discussion of the report’s results. The information contained in this report has great potential to help students, both at BC and at other institutions dealing with similar issues. It is the University’s responsibility to keep this report’s momentum going and not allow progress to cease by keeping the report’s findings strictly internal.