The Residence Hall Association (RHA) held a Town Hall meeting in Higgins Hall on Tuesday to address issues such as documentation, drinking and sustainability. Officers from the Office of Residential Life, Sustainability Program and Boston College Police Department were also in attendance to respond to student concerns.
Drinking under age and documentation were hot topics at the meeting. Officers said that while students can be documented if caught in the act of underage drinking, the safety of Boston College students is always of paramount concern.
“We have help-seeking policies. Students can call any of our departments if they see a person is significantly intoxicated. It is not a conduct situation. There is no conduct record,” said Monica St. Louis, Associate Director of Reslife. “[The policy] is very popular among students. But students do have to talk about their conduct with our faculty.”
The administration wants students to take advantage of these programs in order to take care of one another. “Don’t think twice to use it. Roommates and friends are not qualified to decide if a person needs help or not,” said Christopher Darcy, Associate Director of Residential Ministry.
Students also had concerns about their rights concerning room searches. “What rights do students have? I heard the myth that RAs or residential staff can search students’ refrigerators if they are BC’s property,” asked one senior.
“Once you've signed the contract, you have agreed to follow the BC residential polices. If your RA comes in and suspects you have drinks in your refrigerator and you have them, show them and take the drinks out. If you don’t have them, it is a perfect opportunity to show that the assumption is wrong,” said St. Louis.
“It is not because the fridges are BC’s property. We just don’t want you to have any drinks in the room. We hope you can cooperate with RAs or any Reslife faculty who come in.”
“I am aware that the drinking culture is associated with rape. I’m wondering if BCPD has any programs to prevent it from happening on campus?” another student asked.
“We offer a R.A.D. course, which stands for Rape Aggression Defense. It is a free course for women, and it does teach some of the early signs of an oncoming rape situation. We also have R.A.D. for men,” explained Jeffrey Postell of BCPD.
“There is also a huge network out there that students can use to raise awareness. April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the Women’s Resource Center will host many events.”
Students also care about sustainability on campus and wanted to know more about the Residence Hall Energy Contest.
“It is a game among residents, aiming to reduce energy consumption. [From our observations from last year,] freshmen have the lowest energy consumption," said Robert Pion, the Sustainability Program director.
"We just want to raise awareness about the concept of sustainability among students... It’s small steps. It’s little steps. [People] don’t think it has any big effects, [but] each change we make will contribute to the bigger picture."
Another topic mentioned at the meeting was the allowance of holiday lights only from Oct. 15 to January. BCPD also urged students to make sure their doors and windows are closed when leaving their rooms. “BCPD is here to keep everyone safe, to keep the community safe,” Postell said.
At the end, the administrators emphasized that they are open to questions and suggestions and to not hesitate in contacting them with any concerns.
Featured image via arvindgrover/Flickr.