EDITOR’S NOTE: The Heights has placed bars over obscenities and epithets in the photos.
Boston College student Michael Sorkin, CSOM ’21, was arrested by the BC Police Department on Sunday for damaging property in Walsh Hall, racist vandalism in Welch Hall, and assaulting a BCPD officer earlier that morning. Sorkin—who has since been admitted to a local hospital for observation, according to Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley’s Monday afternoon letter addressed to faculty members—was issued a summary suspension and is at risk of being expelled from the University.
BCPD made available its public weekend blotter on Monday afternoon, which includes case summaries describing “Vandalism (Hate Crime)” at Welch Hall and “Malicious Destruction of Property +$1,200,” at Walsh Hall listed about an hour and a half apart on Sunday morning. Also filed was a separate “Malicious Destruction of Property +$250” case at Walsh Hall. The case concerning “Malicious Destruction of Property +$1,200” cites Sorkin, who “was placed under arrest for Malicious Destruction of Property +$1,200, False Fire Alarm, Attempted B&E Non-Residential, Assault & Battery on a Police Officer and Resisting Arrest.” The blotter is available at BCPD headquarters, located on the first floor of Maloney Hall, for members of the University community to view.
Although Sorkin isn’t named on the aforementioned case summary regarding the vandalism report, his connection to all three events—property damage in Walsh Hall, racist vandalism in Welch Hall, and assault of a BCPD officer—is evident in Quigley’s Monday afternoon letter.
Quigley begins the letter by outlining the timeline of Sunday’s events. First, the student discharged a fire extinguisher in Walsh Hall, thereby damaging property, most notably the dorm’s laundry room. Then, he walked from Lower to Upper Campus, arriving at Welch Hall, where he wrote racist graffiti—all of which included the racist epithet “n—-s,” as seen in the photos obtained by The Heights—in what appears to be a permanent marker on the furniture, walls, and blinds in the lounge; the mirror of a bathroom; and the walls of the hallways. By Sunday afternoon, the graffiti had been painted over or removed. Two BCPD officers, who were sent to investigate the hate crime, confronted Sorkin on Sunday morning, and were assaulted in the process. Sorkin was ultimately arrested, and at a later time, brought to a local hospital for observation.
Because of Sorkin’s summary suspension, he is indefinitely banned from BC’s campus. He also faces criminal charges in both the Brighton and Newton district courts and University expulsion, according to Quigley.
Originally, Sorkin’s arraignment was set for Monday afternoon at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, according to Jake Wark, a spokesperson for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. At that time, however, the DA’s office was only just receiving police reports and information about the case, and given that Sorkin is alleged to have committed offenses in two different counties—Newton is in Middlesex county and Brighton in Suffolk county—it was decided that the arraignment should be postponed. Sorkin’s charges include assault and battery on a police officer and malicious destruction of property, according to Wark, per Boston.com.
Currently, one arraignment is scheduled in Brighton district court on Dec. 20. It is possible, according to Wark, that the charges will be consolidated such that Sorkin will be arraigned and charged in one county, but as of Tuesday, these conversations are still ongoing. No arraignment date or charges have been filed as of Tuesday morning in Middlesex county, according to Elizabeth Vlock, a spokesperson for the Middlesex DA’s office.
Quigley proceeded to condemn Sorkin’s actions and racism as a whole, similar to the statements that were issued by University Spokesman Jack Dunn and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Joy Moore on Sunday afternoon—Moore also issued a letter to parents via email updating them on the situation as well.
“I join with my faculty colleagues and students across the campus in voicing outrage over this incident, which strikes at the heart of our shared values and who we are as a community,” Quigley said. “Our outrage is compounded by the fact that the incident occurred a little more than a year after the University dismissed a student who had posted a horrifically racist social media post during a weekend when several Black Lives Matter posters were removed from doors in student residences.”
As Quigley referenced, in October 2017, a screenshot of a BC student’s Snapchat showing a blackened steak and cheese with the caption “I like my steak and cheese like I like my slaves” was circulated on social media the same week that two Black Lives Matter signs were defaced in Roncalli Hall, prompting the “Silence is Still Violence” demonstrations.
That student—whose name was never disclosed—was dismissed by the University. Currently, there is no further update on Sorkin’s status with the University.
This story has been updated.
Featured Image and Photos Obtained by The Heights