In an email to students sent on Wednesday, the Office of International Programs (OIP) announced that it will be implementing restrictions on the number of students who will be approved to study abroad each semester beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year. The discrepancy between the number of students going abroad in the spring and those going abroad in the fall creates “challenges for on-campus students seeking housing and seats in required courses.”
Similarly, BC Dining Services implemented changes to Late Night at Corcoran Commons with limited forewarning or student outreach. Now operating out of Addie’s, it has faced largely negative responses from students. Students should recognize that Late Night is a privilege that we’re fortunate to have. While it might be a silly thing for us to care so much about, it is a part of BC’s social culture that students are obviously very passionate about—maybe more passionate than BC realized.
Student reactions to these two institutional changes—the former significant to academics, and the latter to BC’s social culture—demonstrate a lack of communication between students and the administration regarding policy changes on campus. For new implementations to encounter better reception from students, it is important that the administration considers students’ input, not only via focus groups but by establishing pilot projects and communicating potential changes with students prior to their complete execution.
In the past, pilots and collaborations with students have presented new academic and social programs that were eventually integrated on campus. Starting several years ago,the University gradually introduced Complex Problems and Enduring Questions courses intended to excite students to fulfill core requirements by initially presenting them to a small number of freshmen. BC slowly increased the number of seats available while continuing to monitor student responses to the programs. Likewise, DiversityEdu emerged after the administration met with student leaders to address the student demonstrations criticizing the administration’s lacking response to the racist incidents that occurred last year. This program, now required for all students to complete independently by a set deadline, is a beneficial educational tool created to foster a more inclusive environment in which all students feel welcome.
These are big changes being made within the operations of the University that contribute significantly to the identity of BC: About 50 percent of students study abroad, and—senseless or not—a lot of students and alumni feel very strongly about Late Night. Without gathering students’ opinions regarding such established institutions within BC, even marginal changes may face unnecessary retaliation, which would prove unnecessary given adequate student input.
Featured Graphic by Anna Tierney / Graphics Editor