Police Report Filed, Investigation Possible For Unsanctioned Flyers
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Police Report Filed, Investigation Possible For Unsanctioned Flyers

Over the course of the week, Boston College facilities management removed about 500 fliers posted in buildings throughout campus. The posters, which read “This Poster Is Illegal – Support Free Speech @ BC” were disseminated by members of an unspecified campus group on Monday. There was a police report filed, Dean of Students Thomas Mogan said, but he is unsure whether there will be a criminal investigation.

Non-registered student organizations are not permitted to post fliers around campus, Mogan said. He noted the rationale behind this policy is that there are limited resources available for students to hang fliers while still keeping the environment clean and welcoming.

The posters arrived prior to the second “Rights on the Heights” rally that will take place on Friday, hosted by the Social Justice Coalition, though the posters did not specifically advertise the event or indicate any relation to the coalition. The event will address University policies that the organizers view to restrict free speech, and among the topics to be discussed is the current process for the approval of fliers, which limits posting to registered student organizations with a stamp from the Office of Student Involvement (OSI). This policy was directly referenced on the bottom of each poster from Monday.

Mogan said the students who are staging the rally have gone through the correct process of applying for and obtaining a permit and will be able to exercise their free speech in their demonstration about the lack of free speech.

“The irony of this is that the students who were given a permit on Friday to go ahead and have a forum where they’re exercising their free speech rights are the same students who are saying there’s no free speech on campus,” Mogan said.

Last semester, Climate Justice at Boston College (CJBC) and the Social Justice Coalition hosted the first “Rights on the Heights” rally with the goal of creating a platform for students to voice their concerns about free speech on campus. Currently, only registered student organizations can host official events or hang fliers. Unregistered student organizations, like CJBC, cannot receive funding or reserve University spaces.

Mogan, who was formerly the director of student involvement at Villanova University, noted that there are similarly restrictive policies in place there and they are not unique to BC. This incident only enforces the need for a policy, he said.

“We have facilities management who spent quite a bit of time … to have to go down and take down posters that were in some cases a nuisance and in some cases a safety hazard,” Mogan said.

Featured Image by Maggie Powers

March 19, 2015

5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Police Report Filed, Investigation Possible For Unsanctioned Flyers”

  1. “The irony of this is that the students who were given a permit on Friday to go ahead and have a forum where they’re exercising their free speech rights are the same students who are saying there’s no free speech on campus,” Mogan said.

    Well that sounds a bit condescending. Nice rhetorical move though, Tom: by allowing students this forum (which will accomplish nothing) you can say there is no need to change anything.

    “This incident only enforces the need for a policy, he said.

    Even better, use the outrage/protest on campus as a way to claim the need to not reform the very thing causing the outrage. Yes, that will surely quell the flames, Tom. Good call.

    People are mad about the fact that OSI/BC can deny other groups from being able to take part on campus. — like the people that hand out condoms and information about safe sex, because god/mary/jesus or whatever absurdly empty reason you have, forbids that.

    It isn’t like college kids will still be having sex if we forbid a group from advocating they do it safely, right?

    And it isn’t like BC has gained a reputation for speech offenses in the past either, right?

    Except it has. Boston College has repeatedly tried to have it’s cake and eat it too by telling students that they should challenge ideas and be free to express themselves while at the same time wielding the power of censorship in, frankly, immature, backwards, and rash ways.

    Here’s a partial list:

    2003: Made headlines for putting pressure on the student Newspaper … was it this one by any chance? Oh right. Yes it was. http://www.thefire.org/boston-college-fails-to-live-up-to-its-free-speech-promises-earns-dishonorable-red-light-rating/

    2004: Raised the fees the Heights had to pay in order to maintain its independence.

    2006: Ordered 3,000 copies of the Heights’ orientation issue to be confiscated.

    2008: Disciplined students that posted flyers about the nature of service trips on April fools.

    2009: Cancelled a speaker that was a bit too controversial

    2009: Tried to claim that offensive electronic discourse could be subject to University reprimand

    2014: Suspended students for controversial texts that they had no official record of. Calling their tuition forfeit, basically robbing them.

    So when you try to pretend that there isn’t a problem, perhaps you are uninformed about the history of this school. If so, I think in the interest of competence it would be prudent to consider decisions prior to your posting as Dean.

    You enjoy a considerable amount of influence, power, and authority over the student body. Its probably easy to pretend that these issues will just go away, that the students have no efficacy.

    You would be partly right. We don’t have much power here. But alumni do; trustees do — and most of us will be the former and some of us the latter one day.

    Also, one last thing — you mention Villanova — If any a school can be disgraced as a bastion for censorship, it is the school that suspended a kid for discussing the 2nd Amendment, dis-invited multiple speakers, and to canceled a workshop by a gay activist. Good on you Mr. Mogan.

  2. One last thing: the irony isn’t that students who were permitted to talk about problems with free speech on this campus spoke about free speech.. Thats actually the definition of unironic. It is ironic that they needed permission to do so though.

The offices of The Heights are located on Boston College’s campus. You can find us at:
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Established in 1919 as Boston College’s student newspaper, The Heights has been both editorially and financially independent from the University since 1971. The Heights serves the students, faculty, and staff of the Boston College community, as well as our neighbors in Chestnut Hill, Newton, and the Allston-Brighton area.  

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