News, On Campus

UGBC Representatives Criticize BC’s Lack of Communication

Student representatives of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College criticized the lack of communication between the University and the student government’s leaders during a virtual UGBC meeting on Oct. 6. 

The meeting centered on potential initiatives for the semester and rising concerns among the student body regarding the restricted guest policy that went into effect on Oct. 2. The policy prohibits students from having more than one to two guests in their residence at a time. The University had previously allowed students to have one guest per each resident currently in the room. 

In response to concerns over the guest policy change, Kevork Atinizian, UGBC vice president and CSOM ’22, said that the administration didn’t notify him or Christian Guma, UGBC president and CSOM ’21, prior to the announcement.

“That email went out—you know, just like you guys, I was like, ‘What the hell is this?,’” Atinizian said.

Hollie Watts, UGBC’s international student representative and MCAS ’21, criticized the new guest policy, saying that it could prompt students to socialize at bars instead of their rooms.

“That is exactly what we do not want to be happening,” Watts said. “Safe socialization in the dorm room, when we can be distant, is a lot better than socializing at bars.” 

“I think that the revised guest policy is stupid in some ways,” Atinizian said, echoing Watts’ criticism.

With Guma and Atinizian unaware beforehand that the administration would be changing its policy, the representatives questioned the communication between the University and student leaders. 

“With stuff like that, huge changes that are going to affect the student body so drastically, is there any way we could ask BC to maybe even just communicate to you or Christian before they announce those things?” asked Sasha Wong, MCAS ’24. “If you’re equally as shocked by the email, it looks like UGBC is out of the loop.”

Atinizian defended UGBC’s record this semester, though, contending that UGBC’s advocacy  had led to increased testing and transparency from the administration throughout the semester.

“Now we do have much more tests, compared to what we initially had coming onto campus,” Atinizian said. “That’s a result again of our advocacy as UGBC.”

When asked about UGBC’s influence on BC’s testing policy, Senior Associate Director of University Communications Ed Hayward told The Heights that the University has focused its testing on students identified through contact tracing and that UGBC has helped by encouraging students to follow COVID-19 protocols.

“From the beginning, Boston College said that it would be flexible in its weekly testing volume as it focused on quickly testing individuals and residential units identified through contact tracing,” Hayward told The Heights in an email. “UGBC has been most helpful throughout the semester in encouraging students to follow public health guidelines. We are grateful for their efforts.”

The meeting also served to fill empty seats in the Student Assembly. Taline Ratanjee, Lynch ’21, was nominated as a Class of 2021 representative; Lorenzo Leo, MCAS ’23, was nominated as a Class of 2023 representative after Madeline McGrath, MCAS ’23, stepped down from the position; and James Kirwan, CSOM ’23, was nominated as the first-generation representative.

The nominated students were absent from the meeting. The representatives did not discuss the nominees’ platforms or qualifications, but each representative was unanimously voted into the Student Assembly.

After his confirmation, Kirwan stepped down from his position as first-generation representative due to it being a conflict of interest in his role as an opinions columnist for The Heights.

The assembly had previously formed working groups in response to the University’s handling of both the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice. The groups focus on student policy, conduct equity, administrative training equity, and police training. 

The groups discussed their research on how other universities have acted this past year with the hopes of applying these measures to BC. Laura Perrault, UGBC representative and MCAS ’21, said that she met with Associate Vice President for Student Engagement Tom Mogan to discuss racial justice and BC.

“I met with Tom Mogan just to go over the research that I collected, looking at what other education we can provide to our police department, including student voices within that,” Perrault said.

Featured Image by Madeleine Romance / Heights Editor

October 10, 2020