Its location on the front page caught my attention when I went to the site of the newspaper to check up on the day’s news. It was about a protest denouncing Boston College’s response to a gay slur on campus. A photograph by a staff photographer for the newspaper was displayed along with the story. In it are some people holding a sign which read: “Silence = Violence”.
I went on to read other news papers. That’s strange I thought, no one else was covering this front page story. Only one newspaper in the nation had it. It even had it on its front page. It felt it was so important that it sent a staff photographer out to cover it.
Why were none of the other newspapers covering it? Were they by their silence also committing violence? Or, was it this one newspaper was making something out of nothing as it is apt to do when BC is involved? Or, was it not news at all, more of a feel good moment for the me-me generation.
I recall the days of the ’60s when there were student protests. They originated in the civil rights movement brought on when a new president took office who seemed to suggest there could be a new day in America which called upon people to sacrifice. Eary on a small number of students participated in the civil rights movement but most campuses remained sleepy places, Then came the free speech movement, workers rights, the Vietnam War and students were jolted awake recognizing some may become cannon fodder. The campus protests spread like wild-fire across the nation growing larger every day.
These were matters of great concern: the deprivation of equal rights to American blacks and a war that was gobbling up the lives of mostly poor Americans from the cities and farms. Those demonstrations led to the great and memorable Martin Luther King speech at the Lincoln Memorial and the eventual stopping of the war. They had a purpose. They meant something.
I turned back to the article on the Boston College protest to see what great issue caused the 350 student march. How great was this grievance? How many suffered because of it? What were the students hoping to change?
That Thursday morning they left their nests early to protest an “insidious” lack of response from the administration to an anti-gay slur.
Reading on it appeared that on Saturday September 17, ten days before the march, late in the afternoon or early in the evening, probably after BC got run over in football by after the Virginia Tech team, some numbskull rearranged the letters on a sign in the campus parking lot to spell out a gay slur.
They have no idea who pulled this tasteless and ignorant stunt. He, or perhaps she, might not have anything to do with Boston College. The last I knew the parking lot was pretty open to anyone who wanted access to it. It could very well have been a prank by a student from another college.
Of course there is a chance the perpetrator did go to BC. I don’t doubt there are numbskulls at BC as there are in every other colleges and universities in the land. I also thought the idea of college was to take those numbskulls and change them. Either way there is a fifty-fifty chance the perpetrator of the incident might not even have a connection with the school.
But did that justify the insidious lack of response that brought the students out. Hold on a minute, the university did respond. The associate vice president and dean of students published a letter in the BC newspaper four days after the incident. He said among other things that : “ Boston College does not tolerate acts of intolerance and hate toward any individuals or groups of individuals in our campus community. The Boston College Police Department is currently investigating this incident.” He went on to encourage anyone with information to come forward.
Until the identity of the perpetrator of the foul deed is discovered it would seem the response is more than adequate. If the act was done by a stranger to the university why would the university have to do more and what more could it do? The students talked about atmosphere and feeling more welcome and they were seconded by Barbara Jones the vice president for student affairs.
I thought this march was like the Seinfeld show which was a show about nothing; it was a march about nothing. I’d have to say that except for one thing. From all I can see it was a march by students who have it so easy they have nothing to march for so they marched for themselves so that they could feel good about themselves and pretend they are doing something. These are the students from the me-me generation when everything is about them.
In the Sixties things mattered to the students; now nothing does except their own comforts. If the issue was so important why is it they have not again stirred from their nests? Did they end their protest marches because the weather became too inclement? Or, was it because the newspaper that covered the march did not plan to cover it further? Or was me-me was too busy thinking of me-me?
It is not that there aren’t things happening in the nation and the world that the students could be concerned with. Have they heard about the refugees, the wars, women slavery, the famines? Do they care about our involvement in the Middle East? Afghanistan? Iraq? Somalia? Do they know an election for president is going on? Perhaps the woman concerned with student affairs could see if any of those topics could moved them
We’ve come a long way from the Sixties when student protests and marches had substance. Now they are frivolous one-off events. The future looks bleak