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Racist Incidents Reported in Gonzaga Hall

Three sets of racist incidents have occurred on the second floor of Gonzaga Hall since Thursday, Oct. 19—the day before the ‘Silence Is Still Violence’ March—including the defacing of “Black Lives Matter” signs and the writing of racially-charged statements in the floor’s bathroom.

The third set of incidents, which began this past Thursday, were statements written inside bathroom stalls on Gonzaga 2. All three statements seemed to target one of the floor’s resident assistants, and two of them were racially charged. The Heights viewed photos of the three statements, but they were not provided for publication.

Friday’s latest incidents follow two others reported recently in Gonzaga. Residents of Gonzaga and Fitzpatrick Halls were notified of the first set of incidents on Friday, Oct. 20, via an email from Matthew Razek, a resident director on Upper Campus.

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs George Arey is the only Office of Residential Life employee authorized to speak to the media. Arey did not respond to several requests for comment made throughout last week regarding the earlier incidents. At press time, Arey had not yet responded to an email sent Sunday night seeking comment on the incidents that occurred starting Thursday, Oct. 26.

All of the residents of Gonzaga 2 who spoke to The Heights were granted anonymity for safety concerns.

In his email sent Oct. 20, Razek told residents that on the night of Thursday, Oct. 19, a “Black Lives Matter” sign was removed from a resident’s door and another sign was defaced. He said that the incidents were documented and reported to the Office for Institutional Diversity (OID) and the Boston College Police Department was investigating the incident alongside the Office of Residential Life.

One resident of Gonzaga 2 told The Heights her “Black Lives Matter” sign was ripped off her door on Thursday, Oct. 19. She said that BCPD came to her room later that week and gave her a new sign to put on her door.

“Once again, please know that it is our mission within Residential Life to create safe and inclusive communities for our students from all backgrounds experiences, and identities at Boston College,” Razek wrote in the email to residents.

Razek encouraged students who have any information about the racist acts to report the person or people responsible to ResLife staff or BCPD.

The second set of incidents occurred on Friday, Oct. 20, the same day about 2,000 students, faculty, and administrators marched in solidarity to protest multiple racist incidents that occurred the week before.

On Saturday, Oct. 21, Gonzaga residents received another email, this time from Peter Hausladen, the resident director of Walsh Hall, who was on call at the time. In the email, Hausladen said that he was contacted by members of the community about two more racial incidents on the second floor of Gonzaga.

Two racially inflammatory statements were written in a bathroom on Gonzaga 2 and another was written on a whiteboard in the hallway, Hausladen said in the email. These incidents were also reported to OID and BCPD, he said.

One Gonzaga 2 resident said she discovered the first racist statement in the bathroom, which read “Black Lives Don’t Matter.” She reported this to her resident assistant, who called BCPD. When the resident assistants performed a check a couple of hours later, a second statement was written in a stall that read “Black Lives Don’t Matter. Only White Ones Do,” according to the student. The statements mirror the vandalism of two signs earlier this month in Roncalli Hall.

The bathroom door was propped open with paper towels, according to a resident, so there is potentially no record of who swiped into the bathroom during the time the racist phrases were written. Students in some on-campus housing are required to use their cards to access communal bathrooms.

Gonzaga residents received a third email on Sunday, Oct. 22, from Brian Regan, assistant director of the first year area, with times for meetings for each floor of Gonzaga Monday night. During these meetings, employees from the Office of Residential Life spoke to students about these incidents as well as steps to move forward.

Residents who were unable to attend were told to contact their resident assistants so that they would be able to follow up with those absent later in the week.

Featured Image by Chris Russo / Heights Editor

October 30, 2017

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