BC adopts policy on speakers who dissent on Catholic teaching

BC adopts policy on speakers who dissent on Catholic teaching

Boston College has revised its speaker policy and now says that the university administration now has the power to “balance and even cancel” speakers who present opposing viewpoints to the college’s Catholic heritage.

The policy comes out of the Office of the Dean of Student Development, and it’s already garnering the usual cries that it curtails academic freedom. While the policy retains a statement that “the free exchange of ideas is a principal value of the University,” it now adds:

Such freedom of inquiry is, however, not absolute and must be balanced by the University’s obligation to adhere to the principals and values inherent in Boston College’s identity as a Catholic and Jesuit institution.

To maintain an environment in which such freedoms can thrive, while at the same time being sensitive to and respectful of the Catholic heritage of the institution, the University administration reserves the right to review presentations funded by student activity monies. Such a review could result in necessary adjustments to require that balanced views be presented, postponement of the program for further discussion and review, or, in rare instances, cancellation of the program.

The administration says that this is to be a reminder that the school is Catholic and Jesuit. It’s sad that such reminders need to be given or that anyone could have forgotten it. If a college is a Catholic academic institution, it should be bovious when a student applies and attends, so that he knows exactly what he’s getting. And if he’s not comfortable with that environment, there are plenty of secular colleges willing to serve.

Falsehood, dissent have no right to free speech

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  • It remains to be seen whether this policy actually has teeth or is just window dressing.

  • Dom,  the reason the story is so biased is because they “couldn’t find anyone who liked the policy.”  I told them that that was because they didn’t look and gave them a list to go to.  They said they’d try again for Thursday’s issue.  In the meantime, they are asking students everywhere what these “Jesuit ideals” actually are. 

    Here is where I need all of YOUR help.  Everyone, PLEASE, if you are a BC grad or just concerned about the state of Catholic education, please write to The Heights by Wednesday noon (preferably Tuesday midnight).  Tell them how this new policy, while not perfect, is a significant improvement. 

    The student senate voted to condemn the actions of the administration and this has become a huge issue here on campus.  Students are upset saying that this is “not the BC we signed up for.”

  • I wonder what moved Boston College to change.  Is there pressure to change from an outside party i.e. Rome or Cardinal O’Malley? Or is there a desire to make BC more Catholic on the part of the administration and the Board of Trustees?  I think Melanie is probably right.  It is, in all probability, window dressing.

  • Carrie, last year when the gay dance was cancelled, people said that we need to stick to our Jesuit ideals such as compassion and tolerance and stop simply listening to the Church.  Many of the Jesuits here do not even know their Jesuit ideas.  If you go to my blog by clicking on my name, you’ll see that my most recent post was on exactly that.

  • What I find interesting is that student events will only be cancelled if the funding is from the university itself.  They can still host events without using university money.  Isn’t this just logical??

  • Seems like only yesterday that BC was explaining to us their right to prefer “Jesuit” ideals over “Catholic” ideals.  Maybe someone explained to them the difference between “shake the dust off your sandals on your way out” and “put your arm around them and celebrate your commonalities.”