News, On Campus, Featured Story, Administration

Inaccurate Rumor About Mod Engenders Response From Dean of Students After Vandalism

The circulation of a text message on social media that alleged that residents of a mod were “drugging women’s drinks” resulted in the mod being vandalized and threatened, which garnered a response from Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Tom Mogan.

The text message, which was screenshotted and spread across social media by students, resident assistants, and the residence hall association, alleged that incidents of drugging had been reported to the Dean of Students, but that no action had been taken. It claimed that the mod was continuing to register parties and urged people to avoid going to the mod and to alert their friends.

In response, Mogan sent an email on Feb. 5 to residents of the mods clarifying that “no one has reported [an incident] to [the Dean of Students’ Office] or to BCPD that they were drugged at a social event in this Mod.”

The text message went viral among students and on social media and led to the mod being vandalized during the early morning hours of Feb. 3. BCPD has confirmed to The Heights that three incidents of “suspicious circumstances,” as reported on the BCPD public blotter were listed in reference to the vandalism of the mod.

“This type of behavior will not be tolerated,” Mogan said in the email. “Students found responsible for committing acts of violence or issuing threats will be held accountable through the conduct system.”

It is not currently clear where the text message originated from.

Administrators cannot speak about the ongoing investigation into the incident due to FERPA law, but BCPD Chief Bill Evans was able to explain the downside of social media being used to handle potentially criminal or unsafe matters.

“Social media can be good if used for the right reason,” Evans said in an email to The Heights. “It, however, can spread some misinformation which can be very harmful and serious.”

Evans cited his experience with rumors emerging on social media during the Boston Marathon Bombing requiring quick corrections from the Boston Police Department (BPD). Evans was superintendent of BPD when the bombings occurred and ran the on-the-ground operations to capture the perpetrators.

Evans noted that while BPD was in pursuit, social media had already declared the perpetrators captured, causing potential safety issues. He also explained that during his career, he had to deal with people using social media and giving away the positions of officers in tense situations, unintentionally putting them in harm’s way.

Reporting from Celia Carbone and Jack Goldman was used in this article.

Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Editor

February 18, 2019

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