Dorms on upper campus in the snow
Katherine McCabe / Gavel Media

Women's Multicultural Learning Experience Floor Vandalized in Racist Incident

Last Saturday, the third floor of Xavier Hall—part of the CLXF freshman dorm complex on Upper Campus—was vandalized. This section of Xavier Hall is home to the Multicultural Learning Experience (MLE) Living & Learning Community.

According to the Boston College Residential Life website, “The MLE focuses on diversity in all forms including race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, physical ability, religion, and more. Students in this community will live in an inclusive community dedicated to promoting the understanding of differences and celebrating diversity.”

In an email sent to the CLXF community obtained by The Gavel, the vandalism was said to have included aggressive knocking and destruction of door decorations and trash cans, with trash being spread across the hallway floor. All vandalism was contained to the MLE section of the dorm. 

A subsequent email to CLXF residents stated that a Boston College Police Department detective identified two students responsible for this incident; neither is a resident of CLXF. The perpetrators confessed to the incident and will go through the University’s conduct process. Due to federal privacy laws, however, the outcome of the process will not be made public.

The FACES Council, an organization dedicated to anti-racism and educating the BC community on issues of race, identity and systems of power and privilege, released a statement on the incident. The statement emphasized the disgust the organization felt and condemned the incident.

“Students must be held accountable for hate crimes just as harshly as they are held accountable for breaking COVID-19 rules or drinking violations,” the statement read. 

It also pointed out that Fr. Leahy, in a statement released after the events in June 2020, stated that everyone should affirm Black Lives Matter. By “failing to protect the students on the MLE floor” Boston College has failed to uphold its pledge. 

Other anti-racist organizations also released statements. 

Black at Boston College, an Instagram forum page for Black students, released a statement on Tuesday night. It read in part, “Over the past few decades, the MLE floor, which solely houses first year students of color, has been the target of racist and misogynistic hate crimes such as these. Therefore, while we are disgusted and appalled by these events, we are not surprised. We want to be clear to say that this is a strain of hate crimes…against students of color simply due to the fact that they exist.”

LGBTQIA+ at Boston College, a similar Instagram forum for LGBTQ+ students, also released a statement regarding the vandalism: “The LGBTQ community of Boston College fervently condemns the racist and misogynistic crimes that occurred on the [MLE] floor of the Xavier dormitory. We stand in zealous solidarity with students of Color at Boston College. This violent, malicious act against women of Color, in a location that was meant to serve as a safe space, is absolutely abhorrent.”

As of Tuesday evening, neither the Boston College administration nor BC Residential Life have released statements. Both Black at Boston College and LGBTQIA+ at Boston College have commented on this silence.

The former said in its statement, “This is Boston College. The university can only isolate so many incidents without the public noticing a clearly designed pattern. When [University President] Father Leahy and the administration committed themselves to being allies to students of color last summer, we cautiously took them at their word. It is now time to see how they respond when the student body desperately needs them to.”

The latter added a similar comment, saying, “The university has the utmost responsibility to ensure the safety, and physical and emotional well-being of its students, particularly students who identify with marginalized demographics.”

The Gavel published a statement on Monday. A portion is included below:

“The Gavel vehemently condemns the actions that took place. It is unacceptable that the school has not yet spoken out against such bigotry. We are committed to using our platform to spotlight these injustices and create a safe space for students of diverse backgrounds to speak on their experiences. If you feel your voice has been left unheard, you are welcome to submit a written piece to our Letter to the Editor page on our website, www.bcgavel.com, or contact us directly at [email protected].”

This is a developing story and will be updated as and when new information becomes available.

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