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MLE Residents Report Pattern of Harassment in Xavier Hall

Destiny Gonzalez returned to her dorm in Xavier Hall around 9:40 p.m. on Tuesday night to a commotion on the third floor. 

“I’m asking one of the girls [on Xavier 3] what happened, and she said two boys had walked down the hallway, chanting, ‘colored girls this, colored girls that,’” Gonzalez, a resident of the third floor and MCAS ’24, said. “But screaming at the top of their lungs, so it’s not, like, whispers or anything. They wanted people to hear.”

Tuesday’s event is the latest in a series of reports of racially motivated incidents from the residents of the Multicultural Learning Experience (MLE) floor of Xavier Hall, where residents have described instances of vandalism and harassment dating back to last semester. 

A student who lives on Xavier 3 and was granted anonymity by The Heights said she and her friend were walking down the hallway on Tuesday night when they saw two male students walking down the hallway.

“We heard them singing a song, but we weren’t paying any mind to it because we were just still in the hallway trying to get into my room, and then they said something in the song about ‘colored girls,’” she said. 

Gonzalez and Letacianna Stoudmire, another MLE resident and MCAS ’24, confirmed that the two male students had used the term “colored girls” while walking down the hallway. 

The anonymous student said the two boys then went into a room in the Loyola 3 hallway, which is adjacent to Xavier 3, and tried to hide from the MLE residents, which Gonzalez and Stoudmire confirmed. 

“And then they kind of took off … towards Claver and Loyola, and two or three girls hid them in their room,” Stoudmire said. “ … There was a big problem because [the girls] were trying to say that like, ‘There are no guys there.’ Basically just calling us liars.” 

Many members of the MLE hallway heard the commotion and gathered in the hallway, according to Gonzalez. 

“By this point, the whole MLE floor is out, [and] we’re angry,” Gonzalez said. 

The resident director took statements from the MLE residents who witnessed the event, talked to the two male students for a short period of time, took down their names, and let the boys go, according to three sources who witnessed the event. 

“They get to walk out of the building,” Gonzalez said. “So that angers the hall a lot, because [the RD] spent 20 minutes taking statements from … the girls who were there the whole time, which I think [was] three or four girls. He spent a long time talking to us. The boys, it was maybe 30 seconds. And they got to walk out.” 

Gonzalez said it was frustrating for the residents on Xavier 3 not knowing whether the two male students would be punished.

“We know that they’re still on this campus somewhere, probably making another person of color uncomfortable,” Gonzalez said. 

The anonymous student described previous incidents on the MLE hallway last semester, which were confirmed by multiple sources, that she believes were racially motivated, from people banging on their doors in the middle of the night to tearing down hallway decorations and name tags. 

“We also had guys walking through our hall, just like trying to make fun of us basically like, ‘Oh haha, this is the MLE floor,’” Stoudmire said. “And then when my friends opened their door to see who it was, they kind of ran, so obviously they had some malicious intent behind what they were saying.”

Executive Vice President and Acting Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Lochhead addressed the multiple reports of bias-motivated behavior on the MLE floor in an email on Wednesday. The email referenced the allegations of the students singing a song with racist lyrics, another incident of students laughing while in the hallway, and earlier reports of vandalism in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“No one at Boston College should ever be made to feel unsafe or threatened, particularly within the confines of their residence hall,” Lochhead wrote. “This conduct will simply not be tolerated.”

The events of the past week have left some residents of the MLE floor feeling on edge.

“Honestly, last night, I was scared to go to sleep,” Gonzalez said on Wednesday. “This has happened three out of the four nights that we’ve been back to school.”

Image by Vikrum Singh / Heights Editor

Stoudmire emphasized her frustration in not knowing the consequences for the vandalizers.

“Basically we’re just all frustrated because there’s no real protection here and no real consequences,” Stoudmire said. “And we also don’t know who’s been really attacking us and shouting at us so there’s no way to really protect ourselves.” 

Lochhead confirmed that the Boston College Police Department had identified two freshmen that confessed to the Saturday vandalism incident. The two students said they were unaware that the third floor hallway was the MLE floor, he wrote. 

The individuals will face sanctions through the Office of Student Conduct, Lochhead said, and the matter is still under investigation. BCPD and Student Affairs are in the process of investigating the other reports from the past week on the MLE floor.

Gonzalez said that the MLE hallway has been a target of racially motivated behavior for a long time, and that it wasn’t until it was “blatantly obvious” that some of the residents put all the pieces together. 

“I personally was in denial for a long time,” she said. “Even with the trashing, I was like, ‘Was this a target? Was it not just a bunch of white boys who weren’t just drunk?’ … And it wasn’t until last night it truly hit me, and I’m still on the verge of tears, because this has been premeditated, and for some reason, it’s inspiring other people to do the same.”

According to Stoudmire, the residents have been in contact with their RD about the incidents that occurred over the past several days. 

“We have been talking to the RD and everything,” she said. “You know, there’s only so much that he can do.” 

Many of the residents on the MLE floors have had multiple meetings this week about the incident that have distracted them from their studies, the anonymous student said.

“It’s obviously retraumatizing us and taking away from our schoolwork and our focus,” she said. “ … It kind of feels like [BC is] trying to make it our job to figure out what we need to do when it’s really not our job.”

Amy Palmer contributed to reporting.

Featured Image by Vikrum Singh / Heights Editor

February 5, 2021