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BC Reports New Incident of Racial Bias, Suspends Student

Boston College has issued a summary suspension to a student who wrote racially offensive language on classroom chalkboards, according to a University email sent to students on Friday.

This past week, the Boston College Police Department identified the student, who awaits a pending disciplinary resolution through the Office of Student Conduct, wrote Michael Lochhead, executive vice president and acting vice president for student affairs, in the email.

“Any student found responsible for engaging in conduct that violates our community standards will be held accountable,” Lochhead wrote. “I ask for your renewed commitment to helping advance BC’s culture of care and welcome for all.”

This latest occurrence follows racially biased incidents that occured on the Multicultural Learning Experience floor of Xavier Hall earlier this year, and a 2018 hate crime committed by former student Michael Sorkin, for which he accepted a plea deal and avoided the charge. Sorkin also received a summary suspension, before later being removed from the University, according to a 2018 email from Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley.

A summary suspension is an interim administrative action which the University can take when a student is deemed to threaten the health, safety, or wellbeing of the BC community, according to the Student Code of Conduct. 

“It is intended to help protect the University and members of the community until a matter can be investigated and adjudicated, and remains in effect only as long as the Director of Student Conduct or designee determines there is a need for it or until the matter has been investigated, adjudicated, or otherwise resolved,” the code of conduct reads. 

Student Affairs is reviewing DiversityEdu modules, as well as training for ResLife staff, according to Lochhead’s email. 

Undergraduate students will be required to attend one of three meetings concerning campus and community life expectations in late March or early April.

“While we are making progress, it is clear that work remains to be done,” Lochhead wrote. 

The email also said that the University is working with Koya Partners, an executive search company, to select a new vice president of student affairs by the 2021-22 academic year, following Joy Moore’s announcement that she would be stepping down from the position.

The email also said that the University is exploring options for Commencement and Senior Week activities, after the Commonwealth announced changes in gathering size restrictions.

The University will also install more outdoor seating venues and the Office of Student Involvement will host more in-person events later this spring, according to the email.

Since the beginning of the academic year, the BC community has emerged with a stronger sense of unity, Lochhead wrote.

“We have accomplished so much under challenging circumstances,” he wrote. “Let us end the year strong, united in our commitment to live up to our motto of Ever to Excel.”

Featured Image by Victor Stefanescu / Heights Editor

March 13, 2021