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Achampong, King Discuss “Silence is Still Violence,” Student Center in Second Meeting With Trustees

Akosua Achampong, the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) president and MCAS ’18, and Christina “Tt” King, UGBC executive vice president and MCAS ’18, held their second meeting of the year with the Board of Trustees on Friday. The duo addressed the Student Life Committee of the Board, discussing the “Silence is Still Violence” march that occurred in October, plans for a new student center, and advocating for a climate survey at BC.

A discussion of the “Silence is Still Violence” march, which, according to Achampong, was the largest protest in BC’s history, was a focal point of UGBC’s meeting agenda, Achampong said. The UGBC representatives hoped to address the ideas stated in the Silence is Still Violence petition, while, as Achampong stated, reinforcing that the administration should be held accountable.

“Many of the Student Life Committee members seemed to resonate with the experience of feeling unsafe on campus, noting that they had been on campus as women when there were only 20% women on campus,” King said in an email. “Many were also very impressed with the student reaction in the Silence is Still Violence March, and applauded our leadership.”

Achampong and King planned to advocate for a climate survey on campus to gain information about BC’s students of color, religious minorities, and LGBTQ populations. There is currently no data on these student groups, a problem King said should be addressed.

King also stated that a number of high-level BC administrators have recently supported such a survey as a result of students’ requests.

Achampong believes that a student center would become an essential part of BC’s campus, providing spaces for students to gather as a community, hold events, and share their diverse perspectives on life at the University. The center would help prevent the so-called “BC Bubble” by encouraging students to expand their understanding of the community, she said.

Advocating for the construction of a student center has been a central part of UGBC’s agenda for years, and the proposal has been brought up in past meetings between student representatives and the Board. Last year’s UGBC’s leaders, Russell Simons and Meredith Mccaffrey, both BC ’17, made the decision to donate $20,000 of the organization’s funds toward plans for the center.

“They set something of a legacy in motion for student government of really putting your resources where your advocacy is,” Achampong said.  

Due in part to continued advocacy by UGBC, the proposal for the center has been introduced by the Student Life Committee to the entire Board of Trustees, and the center has been put on BC’s building plan, King said. However, the center’s construction has not been prioritized like UGBC would like it to, because the building plan includes items that have not been given a concrete plan for construction. Although the new 10-year strategic plan also does not include a proposal for the center,  the center is still in the works, according to a previous interview with Vice President for Student Affairs Barb Jones.

King and Achampong said, however, that the Board’s willingness to discuss the center is a step in the right direction.

Featured Image by Shaan Bijwadia / Heights Staff

December 6, 2017