2014 was a year of social unrest, as crises and scandals continued to break. From the terrifying spread of the Ebola virus to the outrage over Ferguson, from disappearing planes to school shootings, the problems of 2014 promise to follow us into the new year.
Boston College was not immune from this phenomenon, as discussion spread over student rights and free speech on campus. At the “Rights on the Heights” rally this semester, students expressed their dissatisfaction with various administration policies. Student groups that have been denied recognition by the university shared their experiences and asked for change.
A die-in staged by students earlier this month raised questions about the right of students to demonstrate on campus, a conversation that will certainly continue now that the university has introduced the possibility of disciplinary action.
Yet 2014 was also a year of social movements and progress, at BC, across the country and around the world.
Through the ice bucket challenge, inspired by BC’s own Pete Frates, over $100 million dollars were raised for ALS research.
Many selfless volunteers, including Connell School of Nursing grad John Welch, traveled to Liberia and other affected areas to fight the Ebola crisis.
Students, faculty, and alumni came together to discuss issues of race on campus in the wake of the court decisions in the Ferguson and Eric Gardner cases. FACES, an anti-racism organization at BC, produced this video to educate people about how racism affects all of us, even at BC. Over 200 alumni and faculty signed a letter in support of the students involved.
UGBC is in the process of completing a new student guide, with an increased emphasis on students rights.
What I Be Project came to BC, renewing the conversation on mental health awareness and giving students a chance to discuss their own struggles and triumphs.
Issues that affect college students, like student loans and sexual assault, came to the forefront of public discussion, with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand proposing legislation that would target these problems. Students led initiatives bringing awareness to sexual assault, exemplified by Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz carrying her mattress until her rapist was expelled, or BC’s own “It’s On Us” video.
The efforts of and progress made by students this past year was extraordinary and promises to continue.