News, On Campus

Student Assembly Representatives Discuss Water Fountains, Student Care Days, and BCPD

The Student Assembly (SA) discussed reopening water fountains on campus, creating student mental health days, and establishing a better relationship between the Boston College Police Department (BCPD) and students in its meeting on Tuesday.

According to Thompson Penn, sophomore SA representative and CSOM ’25, BC Facilities said it will turn on campus water fountains soon. 

“Unfortunately, when BC turned water fountains off, all the old water started to collect and sit there, which is disgusting,” he said. “So it makes sense that they’ve taken the time to reinstall new, clean water in the fountains. I think everyone will be very happy to have water fountains up and running again.” 

SA members also discussed the possibility of having “student care days,” where students can take up to three mental health days off of school per year. The Boston Intercollegiate Government, an advocacy group representing 14 schools in the Greater Boston area, is seeking ways to improve student mental health after an apparent suicide occurred at Northeastern last December, according to Penn. 

“The Intercollegiate Government believes student care days would be an effective way to help students not get to their breaking point and help those who need a mental break from the overwhelming stressors of schools,” Penn said.

Ellie Rogowski, chair of the Academic Affairs Committee and CSOM ’24, said this program could be a great way to normalize discussions about mental health between students and professors. 

“I also think incorporating mental health resources and explaining these mental health resources in class syllabuses would be a natural next step to this,” Rogowski said.

Julia Spagnola, UGBC vice president and MCAS ’23, encouraged SA representatives to consider other ways UGBC could help improve mental health programming on campus.

“It’s not that [University Counseling Services] doesn’t want to help students,” she said. “It’s that their staffing and resources are really, really low. We want to point students to resources they can actually use and that are actually accessible. I think we all should also consider what we want UCS to look like in the future. What should it look like 10 to 15 years from now?” 

The SA also discussed improving communication between students and BCPD through potential town hall meetings where the student body can ask police officers questions. 

“The issue is that we, the student body, don’t understand the extent of BCPD’s role on campus,” Spagnola said. “I think the BCPD does a good job at communicating clearly with parents at the beginning of the academic year, but students don’t always get that same opportunity.” 

UGBC members also suggested that town halls could be an opportunity to create a dialogue between students and BCPD to discuss topics such as bias-related issues on campus. According to Spagnola, this initiative resulted from a series of conversations between BCPD, UGBC members, and other University administrators.  

“I think transparency and understanding are the keys to success with fostering a more clear relationship with the BCPD,” Spagnola said.

October 12, 2022