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Student Issued Interim Suspension Over Racially Charged Vandalism, BCPD Assault, Walsh Hall Damage

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Heights has placed bars over obscenities and epithets in the photos.

A Boston College student was issued a summary suspension from the University on Sunday morning after writing racially explicit epithets on the furniture, walls, and blinds in the lounge; the mirror of a bathroom; and the walls of the hallways in Welch Hall. In a separate incident, the student discharged a fire extinguisher and destroyed property in the Walsh Hall laundry room, which is consequently unavailable for use. The student also faces charges for assaulting a BC Police Department officer.

The student is at risk of expulsion from the University, according to statements made by University Spokesman Jack Dunn and interim Vice President for Student Affairs Joy Moore. Dunn said the student has been committed for a psychological evaluation and will likely remain committed for several days. 

Photos of the graffiti obtained by The Heights all include the racial epithet n–––s, written in what appears to be a black permanent marker. Some of the graffiti reads “n–––s are the plague.” In October 2017, a “Black Lives Matter” sign was defaced in Roncalli Hall, which ultimately led to the Silence is Still Violence demonstrations later that month.

As of Sunday afternoon, the graffiti had been painted over or removed.

The disturbing incident that occurred last evening is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by any of us within the BC community,” Dunn said in an email. “We applaud the efforts [of] BCPD, who arrested the suspect.”

Summary suspension is an interim administrative action, which is separate from a formal disciplinary sanction, according to the student code of conduct. Interim administrative actions are designed to protect the University and the student body until a matter can be further investigated. There is no limit to the length of time that interim administrative action can be in place.

Audrey Mooradian, the resident director of Welch and administrator on call for the weekend, sent an email to residents of Walsh Hall early Sunday morning addressing the discharge of a fire extinguisher in the building.

“Due to the discharge of the fire extinguisher in the Walsh laundry room, the laundry room is temporarily off line until further notice,” she said in the email. “Updates regarding the laundry room will be sent out within the near future.”

That afternoon, Brian Regan, the residential life administrator on call for the weekend, sent an email to Welch residents describing a bias-related incident that had occurred overnight. The Office for Institutional Diversity defines a “bias-related incident” as “behavior that, whether or not criminal, constitutes a violation of behavioral standards and policies listed in the Student Guide and Professional Standards of Boston College, and that is motivated in whole or in part by the offender’s bias toward the victim’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, gender or ethnicity.”

Specifically, common area walls, furniture, and a bathroom in the building were vandalized with racist graffiti,” he said in an email. “A student was arrested by BC Police and will face charges as a result of the incident. The student has been summarily suspended from the University and will not be allowed to return to campus until the matter has been adjudicated in the courts.”

Regan went on to describe the relevant portions of the student code of conduct.

“Boston College will not tolerate this type of behavior,” he said. “This incident should cause you a great deal of concern because it strikes at the very heart of the College Road community. This is not only an irresponsible act, but also a cowardly one that does not reflect your sensitivity and concern for one another. The Office of Residential Life and our staff join you in your efforts to foster a community that is welcoming of and respectful to all.”

Just over an hour after Regan’s email, Moore addressed the entire BC community via email condemning the actions.

Heights Editors Steven Everett, Timmy Facciola, Jack Goldman, Abby Hunt, and Jack Miller contributed to this report.

This story is being updated.

December 9, 2018