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Boston College students hold ‘die-in’ because ‘oppression’ and ‘institutional passivity’

These days, you can actually witness students complain about being “oppressed” — so much so that they’ll pretend to be dead — at a posh private institution whose total cost of attendance tops $70,000 per year.

Last week at Boston College, a group dubbed the Black Eagles organized a “die-in” to protest the “various forms of oppression” at the school, as well as BC’s “culture [of] institutional passivity.”

“[T]his culture continues to ripple into both student and faculty experience,” a Black Eagles flyer reads.

According to The Heights, a total of approximately 150 students — 100 lying on the ground with another 50 surrounding them — participated in the protest. Most had duct tape over their mouths to symbolize “the institutional silencing” that supposedly occurs at the school.

The Black Eagles also submitted a letter to college officials with its “recommendations” regarding the school’s “structural inequity.” For example, it criticizes BC’s “Diversity Edu” online module (required of all students) as “significantly lacking depth and fail[ing] to utilize intersectionality.”

It also blasts the module for failing to equip students “with the tools to comprehend the complexities and nuances of different identities and experiences.”

The Undergraduate Government of Boston College offered its support to the die-in attendees, stating “While Boston College students have expressed a need for more comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion programs for decades, the events of last fall made it painfully clear that the University still has a long road ahead […]

“BC administrators have repeatedly expressed their opposition to all forms of prejudice and discrimination; however, statements alone will not succeed in changing our campus culture.”

From the article:

The Black Eagles recommended that the University work with outside organizations such as the Southern Poverty law Center, the Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance (AORTA), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Center for Social Inclusion. The Black Eagles indicated their appreciation for the University making efforts to “build a more inclusive community.” …

The Black Eagles also requested that the University continue to work on diversifying its staff. Specifically, the group asked that BC work on hiring “high ranking administrators of color to present the perspectives that are simply inaccessible to our current administration.” They also asked that the administration prioritize hiring black and Latinx professors within their efforts to hire AHANA+ faculty. The Black Eagles indicated their consternation with the idea that students can go through the curriculum at BC without taking a class taught by a professor of color. …

Administrators say there is a sense of confusion surrounding the idea that students should be “scared” of conversations with administrators about racial issues, which was referenced in the Black Eagles’ release. Administrators felt that with the creation of DiversityEdu and the upcoming Student Experience Survey, the University is working to try to bridge the gaps in understanding between it and students of different backgrounds by providing resources and listening to student requests.

When the die-in concluded, participants removed the tape from their mouths and began singing “We Shall Overcome.” And it wasn’t about the college’s high tuition.

Read the full Heights piece and Black Eagles letter

MORE: Boston College panel of white profs lament ‘whiteness’

MORE: Boston College cracks down on condoms

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.