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‘Eradicate’ Members Receive Disciplinary Action in Response to Unregistered Protest

Five members of Eradicate Boston College Racism have received disciplinary action following the group’s protest in December that took the form of caroling, according to Gloria McGillen, LGSOE ’17, and Kevin Ferreira, LGSOE ’19.

The five students were contacted by Dean of Students Thomas Mogan Dec. 15 and asked to meet with him. They were cited for disruption and unregistered protesting, McGillen said. Each member responded that he or she would be able to meet with Mogan after Winter Break, given that they were contacted during finals week.

“We will continue to protest around the issues of institutional racism until the concerns of students of color that have been raised and now backed by UGBC are concretely addressed by the administration.”

-Gloria McGillen, LGSOE ’17

Due to federal privacy laws, Mogan could not comment on any potential matters of student conduct.

So far, four of the five students have met with Mogan, according to McGillen.

“I asked Dean Mogan why I was selected and why the other people who were present were selected,” McGillen said in an email. “He stated that he chose students who he saw both at the caroling and at the workshop about direct actions, which was hosted on campus by Eradicate and the BC Graduate Students of Color Association.”

At this meeting in November, Eradicate educated students about direct action and introduced its 12 Days of Institutional Racism campaign, which it hosted from Dec. 1 to 12.

“We will continue to protest around the issues of institutional racism until the concerns of students of color that have been raised and now backed by UGBC are concretely addressed by the administration,” McGillen said.

The resolution via conversation, according to the student handbook, is not a stage of the conduct system that comes with particular sanctions. But if the students are found in violation of these rules again, they could face larger consequences.

The Office of the Dean of Students has successfully registered at least five demonstrations on campus this year, Mogan said. Students and student organizations are required to register demonstrations, he said. This is standard protocol for colleges and universities across the country.

Last semester, when Eradicate posted fliers with infographics on them around campus without the administration’s approval, Mogan met with them to explain that they needed to register any future demonstrations or protests.

“Students have a right to express themselves,” Mogan said. “But, in conducting demonstrations, they do not have the right to infringe upon others’ rights to a non-disruptive academic environment.”

In the past, Eradicate has not always been welcome to register its events on campus, McGillen said. The University’s policies toward protests on campus, however, have been changing. Although not yet expressed in written word, she said, the University is moving to allow unregistered groups, like Eradicate, to register protests on campus.

Eradicate has attempted to learn as much as it can about the successes and failures of past protests, Ferreira said. The group’s members have found that direct actions seem to be most effective.

“None of us is opposed to having difficult conversations,” Jack Dunn, University spokesman and director of the Office of News and Public Affairs, said last semester in response to the infographic. “But the expectation is that they be respectful, civil, consistent with steadfast academic principles. So if they’re willing to work with us, we’re willing to work with them. But this policy with disruption at the expense of communication, at the expense of dialogue, we think, is unproductive.”

With the announcement of the $1.5 billion Light the World campaign and the University Strategic Planning Initiative, Ferreira said the University has the perfect opportunity to address these issues. Eradicate is excited about the future, given the current climate on campus.

“It’s a wonderful moment of opportunity,” Ferreira said.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the meeting for direct action was held in November, not December, by Eradicate and Eradicate and the BC Graduate Students of Color Association.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

January 31, 2016