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Monday, December 05, 2005

Boston College in Blogs

BC popped up two particularly noteworthy times in blogs this week. First, the bad news.

1. No semester at Boston College would be complete without the administration discriminating against the GLBT community. BC was called out by the MetroWeekly when the University cancelled an AIDS benefit dance designed to be a safe zone event for GLBT students. Spokesman Jack Dunn defended the move by stating that BC was simply doing "what all 238 Catholic universities in the United States would do." He went on to state BC's new motto: Ever to Follow.

According to Dunn, "as a Catholic university, we cannot sanction an event that promotes a lifestyle that is in conflict with church teaching." This argument was made plausible when Dunn noted that unwilling bystanders were to be forced into sex acts with members of the same gender.

Mr Dunn, you should really stick to ragging on Auditi Guha.

2. The "Double-A Zone," a blog that gives "an inside look at NCAA issues" has held up Boston College as an example of a school that is both "big-time" when it comes to athletics, yet remains committed to the proposition "academics first, sports second.” The blogger, a former employee of the BC Athletics Department, made his case:
While winning is certainly important to the athletics administrators, alumni, fans and other groups associated with the Boston College community, it most certainly isn’t everything.

The football team, which has been ranked in the top 25 for the better part of two years, consistently graduates close to 100 percent of its players. In 2004, the team received the AFCA Academic Achievement Award for its overall excellence in the classroom.

Last October, I was fortunate enough to travel with the football team to Notre Dame. On Friday afternoon, we waited for the players to trickle down from their last classes of the week before departing for the airport at 3 p.m. We arrived in South Bend in time for dinner and pulled out a last-minute victory on Saturday afternoon. We then got on the plane and came back home.

Missing a class is a rare occurrence for a Boston College football player, even on the day before playing Notre Dame.

Most mornings, as I walked up to my office in Conte Forum between 8:30 and 9, I saw student-athletes leaving morning workouts in the weight room with their backpacks strapped to their shoulders, on their way to a full day of classes.

A couple of weeks ago, I was on the phone with a junior linebacker on the BC football team. He redshirted his first year on campus, and has one year of eligibility remaining after this fall. I asked him how school was, and he informed me that he was to receive his undergraduate degree this January, in just three-and-a-half years. He is going to pursue his MBA for the next year-and-a-half.

If that’s not a “big-time” effort, I’m not sure what is.

I was pleased to discover Double-A Zone, it's a great blog, even aside from all the nice Boston College in Quotes fodder.

UPDATE: More backpatting from today's Boston Herald.
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Comments on "Boston College in Blogs"


Anonymous AHL said ... (12/06/2005 10:08:00 AM) : 

I know I'm gonna get flammed for this, BUT...

BC is a private university and also a Catholic university. If it feels it must cancel events that are against Catholic teachings, then so be it. Why in the world would a gay/lebsian student go to BC anyway? There are plenty of more welcoming and equally presigious schools out there. No one forced them to go to BC and they must have known there would be less of a welcoming climate at BC when they applied anyway. BC has already changed their non-discrimination policy. That in itself is HUGE considering how conservative the administration is. The gay/lesbian community should be happy that BC took a step in that direction and leave it at that. As they say, "Rome wasn't built in a day."


Blogger BC Eagle said ... (12/06/2005 11:09:00 AM) : 

AHL, explain to me how hosting a supervised, on-campus AIDS benefit dance, which was sponsored by several different campus groups, "conflicts with Catholic teaching"?

Consider the controversial analogy made by some regarding the GLBT rights movement and the Civil Rights Movement. Sure, the GLBT community should "be happy" that BC took a step in the right direction, just as blacks should have been happy when, say, they were given the right to vote. This analogy isn't the strongest, but I think it shows a situation where a little, although it's good, just isn't enough, and that the affected group can "be happy" but still rightfully want - and justifiiably demand - more.

Consider the hypocrisy as called out in the recent Heights editorial by Paul Breines - that BC turns a blind eye to heterosexual transgressions of church teaching. I openly lived a heterosexual "lifestyle" that was in clear violation of church teaching while at BC (and, to borrown a phrase from the law of property was "actual, visible, open, and notorious), and never felt impeded in doing so.

Consider how this can affect BC's ability to attract talent. If we want to attract the best people in the world to come learn and teach at Boston College, we should stop alienating a substantial portion of society - both the GLBT community and its allies. When faced with "more welcoming and equally prestigious schools," why choose BC? Certainly this is a check in the "negative" column for many - maybe even a majority - of admissions candidates and job applicants when they ask themselves this question.

Consider that this just looks bad for the school. Run a google news search on the issue and see what kind of press BC is getting.

As to the natural response ("but BC isn't trying to be the best possible university, it's trying to be the best possibe Boston College/the best possible Catholic/Jesuit university), I again direct you to the first line of this comment.


Anonymous AHL said ... (12/06/2005 11:41:00 AM) : 

To answer your first question, I don't know how it violates Catholic teaching. And frankly, I'm not really concerned with that. My point was that if BC feels that way, then that is their prerogitive.

I agree that there is some hypocracy there, vis a vis heterosexual activities on campus. But these are for the most part, private. And for that matter, any homosexual activities as well. If two gay male undergraduates want to spend the night together in Edmonds hall, I doubt anyone will care enough to have them thrown out. That is a freedom that they can enjoy.

The point is that being a Catholic institution, BC must maintain a certain "face". Keep in mind that (I think) there's a rule that states no cohabitation by members of the opposite sex. Is this rule enforced? No, and so people ignore it. But BC can still say "Hey, we prohibit cohabitation on campus" publicly and save face.

I guess the problem I have is the amount of pressure the gay/lesbian community feels they must put on for PUBLIC awareness. Now, if some other group hosted the AIDS benfit dance, would BC have cancelled it? Probably not. Is that fair? Probably not. But is it a RIGHT of the gay/lesbian community to be able to host events? No. It's a priviledge. The gay/lesbian community already enjoys all rights afforded any US citizen. And I might add that since they go to BC, they already enjoy many luxeries not afforded the typical US citizen: they live in a place of comfort and can particitpate in a forum of open ideas and receive a quality education at a reduced price.

To reference your point about attracting talent, yes it is a potential drag on attracting new talent. But that, again, is BC's decision. Right now, they must feel it's not a problem since BC's acceptance rate stands at roughly 30% and is falling. But, you're right, that may change. Only time will tell. But it shouldn't be a driving force in admissions, otherwise it's discriminatory.

As far as press, I can only imagine what kind of press BC is getting about it. But there's plenty of other good press out there too, including the increased AHANA numbers (which is another sore point of mine which I won't get into now!) :-)

Bottom line: I guess you can tell by this point that I am more of a free-market type of guy. If BC chooses to do such and such, as long as it doesn't break the law, then that is their business.


Blogger BC Eagle said ... (12/06/2005 12:06:00 PM) : 

OK, so you are saying BC "can" do this (which could start a whole legal argument...), but lets focus on whether or not BC SHOULD discriminate.

You admit there is hypocrisy, you admit that it might put a "drag" on attracting new talent, you admit that BC is getting bad press about it. Bottom line, the market might ALLOW this behavior, but would the wise business person in the market engage in this behavior? Lose talent, look bad to stakeholders.

I guess you can fall back on the notion that anti-gay high-rollers are bankrolling fundraising initiatives - that's probably the only argument along these line's I'll buy (but you didn't make it).

FYI the gay/lesbian community does NOT enjoy all rights afforded any US citizen.

FYI the gay/lesbian community arguably can't "participate in the forum of open ideas" to the same extent that others can when their events are cancelled.

FYI the event WAS indeed co-sponsored by other, non-GLBT groups. According to the Heights, "The AHANA Leadership Council, BC Democrats, and BC Hillel had signed on as co-sponsors of the event."


Blogger Alex L. said ... (12/08/2005 10:00:00 AM) : 

Okay, some thoughts:

I fail to see the truth of this sentence:
"FYI the gay/lesbian community does NOT enjoy all rights afforded any US citizen."

What rights are they not afforded? If I look in the Bill of Rights, I don't see any caveats mentioning people of the gay/lesbian persuasion. Are you refering to Rights, or Fairness? There is a difference.

"FYI the gay/lesbian community arguably can't "participate in the forum of open ideas" to the same extent that others can when their events are cancelled."

Sure they can, just don't join the GLBT club. Join the College Democrats. Join the College Republicans. Join the Ski club. Join whatever club they want. If I start a club at BC called the "Club for Guys who are shorter than 5 foot, 8 inches" which represents males who face discrimination in the workplace because of their perceived diminutive state, and I can't get funding for it from BC, no one is gonna care about that. I would have to just join some other club. But when it's Gay/Lesbian, it's suddenly a big deal?

"FYI the event WAS indeed co-sponsored by other, non-GLBT groups. According to the Heights, 'The AHANA Leadership Council, BC Democrats, and BC Hillel had signed on as co-sponsors of the event.'"

If anything, this shows LESS discrinimation of the club. It would look alot worse if it was sponsered ONLY by the GLBT club and it was cancelled. But with this, one has to argue that BC is against all of AHANA, The college Dems and the Hillel club. Which is doubtful. Maybe BC just didn't like the touchy subject of AIDS. Who knows?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12/08/2005 10:27:00 AM) : 

Ahl is right about market forces. But lets look at alumni giving.
I don't even buy "the notion that anti-gay high-rollers are bankrolling fundraising initiatives." While it may be possible that BC's biggest doners are in fact a bunch of homophobes, this does not address most BC alumni who give modestly to their alma mater. I have no idea how homophobic the Connors, Lynches and Gabellis are but I do know that BC's alumni giving rate is a paltry 25%. This number is pathetic in both absolute and relative terms -- alumni giving is higher at many state schools. Clearly BC is doing something wrong. Now I'm not saying that 75% of alumni refuse to donate because of BC's stance on gays and lesbians, but I do think this is part of a broader picture. On the whole, BC graduates are a relatively liberal group. The practicing Catholics among them tend closer towards Dorthory Day than Opus Dei. In its efforts to appeal to both campus, the administration has failed to convince the vast majority of BC alumni to give to BC over other worthy causes.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12/08/2005 01:43:00 PM) : 

To Boston-area readers of this Blog: PLEASE join BC students, faculty, Jesuits, staff and alumni at NOON tomorrow, Friday, December 9, in the Dustbowl in solidarity with BC's LGBT polulation, in opposition to the recent actions of BC's administration, in defense of BC's recently revised notice of non-discrimination and in support of a better Boston College.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12/09/2005 11:07:00 AM) : 

Jack Dunn is an embarrassment. How does a dance "sanction an event that promotes a lifestyle that is in conflict with church teaching?" Using this logic, Breaking the Barriers Ball should be cancelled, lest students, professors, and Jesuits engage in a huge orgy in Gasosn Rotunda.


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