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Monday, September 26, 2005

Racial Controversy at The Heights

As many of us read in The Heights a few weeks ago, three residence hall directors at BC resigned after being caught smoking marijuana in a residence hall by the Boston College Police Department. The story from September 12 can be found here (in PDF).

The coverage of the incident by The Heights sparked controversy; the article headline "RDs Resign Following Drug Bust" caught the ire of minority groups at BC and of The Daily Free Press (the independent student newspaper of Boston University).

Below the headline were photos of the three RDs – who are black. A BC minority group alleged that the Heights would not have used the phrase "drug bust" if the three RDs were not black. The group demanded an apology from the paper, which the paper delivered.

As a result of their outrage, campus activists allegedly set fire to a rack of Heights papers, resulting in $500 worth of damage.

Follow up and related news in The Heights here and here.

UPDATE: This story was also covered briefly by Fox News.

UPDATE: The AHANA Leadership Council is the group that reportedly demanded an apology from the Heights (as referenced above). See also coverage by The Daily Free Press.

FYI: AHANA is an acronym that refers to persons of African-American, Hispanic, Asian or Native American descent (and is actually copyrighted by Boston College). A lack of precision in my original post has led to some confusion; as brought to my attention by a commentor, the term "AHANA" itself is not an organization, but an adjective, and there are a number of campus programs and organizations that use the AHANA name, including BC's Office of AHANA Student Programs and student groups like the AHANA Leadership Council and AHANA Management Academy.

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Comments on "Racial Controversy at The Heights"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/26/2005 09:04:00 PM) : 

A suggestion: why not use the term AHANA instead of minority on this blog? Sure some readers who did not attend BC may not be familiar with the term, but this is a good opportunity to educated them.


Blogger BC Eagle said ... (9/26/2005 09:13:00 PM) : 

I think that is a good general practice. However, in this instance, I got the information from news reports that used the term "minority group" and not AHANA. Since the news - and indeed my post - are alleging this group (whoever they may be) committed a crime, it is probably best not to attribute the action to AHANA, because AHANA refers not only to minorities, but to an official office at BC (Office of AHANA Student Programs). I doubt the AHANA Program at BC sanctioned or condoned the alleged arson.


Blogger BC Eagle said ... (9/26/2005 10:27:00 PM) : 

I have updated the post, though, to emphasize that it was AHANA that reacted and formally protested, but that an unspecified activist group set fire to the papers.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/27/2005 12:42:00 AM) : 

I don't mean to nitpick but I do think it's important to note that AHANA is not an organization, as suggested in your last update. It's an adjective, and there are a number of campus programs and organizations that use the AHANA name, including BC's Office of AHANA Student Programs and student groups like the AHANA Leadership Council and AHANA Management Academy. The apology was demanded by members of the ALC.


Blogger BC Eagle said ... (9/27/2005 12:53:00 AM) : 

Point taken, and thank you for the clarification. I (wrongly and presumptively) assumed AHANA in this instance referred to the BC Office of Student Programs. I will alter the post to reflect this. Thanks again, and I will try to be more accurate and precise in the future.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/27/2005 04:00:00 AM) : 

No sweat ... awesome job with this blog. Keep it up!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/28/2005 03:21:00 PM) : 

AHANA was disgraceful when I was at BC and it still is. The people who allege discrimination anytime they do anything illegal are a joke. Demanding 'equality' one minute while expecting preferential treatment at another is logically irreconcilable.

If 3 RHDs are caught smoking weed, they're getting kicked out and it's big news whether they're black, white, or orange. AHANA, what a PC joke.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/29/2005 01:29:00 AM) : 

A few points in response to the previous post:

* Like the rest of BC, AHANA students, faculty, staff, alumni, etc. have a broad range of beliefs, values, convictions, etc. To speak of AHANA as this big monolith that thinks and acts in unison is "logically irreconcilable."

* The "people who allege[d] discrimination" in this case were two members of the ALC. They did not speak on behalf of all AHANA students or even of all members of the ALC. Does the president of the St. Thomas More Society speak on behalf of all Catholics at BC? Of course not. Most BC students, Catholic and otherwise, would probably disagree with him/her. My impression is that while many AHANA students were upset about the Heights episode, many were also upset by the actions of the ALC leadership.

* AHANA a joke? C’mon now ... while it may have its problems (more on that below), the Office of AHANA Student Programs (which is what I assume you are referring to) is in my opinion (and I am not AHANA) one of the greatest developments at BC in the past quarter-century. Do you realize that over the past few years AHANA representation has increased to almost one-third of the undergraduate population? Do you realize that during that time BC has gone from being one of the most homogeneous to one of the most diverse schools in the country? Most importantly, do you realize that BC has one of the highest graduation rates for AHANA students nationally? None of this would have been possible with out the institutional support of the OASP.

* That said, one of the unfortunate side effects of the OASP is that the campus is too often divided on racial lines. The fact that you, as an alum, still talk about "us" and "them" speaks to this point. Frankly that's what I really find "disgraceful." Your attitude seems to forget the whole reason BC was conceived in the first place: to serve the "minorities" of its day. The fact that the Jesuit Order has taken up human rights and social justice as their principal ministries in recent years gives BC all the more reason to commit itself to these principles on campus.

* I agree that the actions of the 3 RA’s and their firing was big news. Nuff said.


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