Members of the Lambda Law Students Association at Boston College returned to their organization’s office after the Martin Luther King holiday to find that the place had been vandalized and the walls painted with homophobic slurs. The law students’ discovery triggered an investigation, still ongoing, by the campus police at the Jesuit school. It is unknown who committed the vandalism or why, but students involved with Lambda are now attempting to create a positive outcome from this chilling incident.
A student leader 0f Lambda Law, an organization working on LGBT advocacy in the legal system, was shocked by the incident, but had high praise for the school’s response to the situation. The Boston Globe reported:
“Jason Triplett, a Lambda co-chair said he never thought something like this would happen at BC Law School, and that he has always felt safe on campus.
“‘No one can believe that it’s someone at BC law, we believe it was a BC outsider who was looking for some trouble,’ he said.
“Triplett said Vincent Rougeau, dean of the BC Law School, left a faculty meeting the moment he was notified about the graffiti. By lunchtime, the dean had written a letter to the community. And by the afternoon he had consulted with students from Lambda to see how they were doing.
“‘The administration responded immediately,’ he said. ‘Everyone involved is really shocked by this.’”
Triplett went on to question whether this was a targeted attack and doubted anyone in the BC Law community committed it, noting that the law school’s campus shared space with undergraduate freshmen at the institution. Even amid the shock and questions, the leadership of Lambda Law Student Association is already acting to redefine this vandalism. Above the Law , a news service for the legal world, reports on a statement released from the organization (warning: the linked article includes a photo of the graffiti, much of which is vulgar, offensive, and sexually explicit, which may be upsetting to some readers):
“The BC Law community has been overwhelmingly supportive in the wake of this act. An act like this is shocking because EVERYONE at BC law, from fellow students to professors and the administration, has been so inclusive and supportive of our organization and the individuals in our group. Our group is taking this and turning it into a positive thing. We don’t want the person who did this to get attention for her or his negative act. We have asked the administration to not remove the hateful graffiti yet; instead, we are holding a meeting to solicit ideas about how we can turn this into a positive thing for BC Law and the LGBT members of Lambda Law.
“Just as an example, one of the ideas we have already been given by one of our members is to use the words as a backdrop for a dedication to the gay rights movement… posting articles, pictures, and quotes on top of them that show our fight for equal rights from Stonewall to the President’s historic inclusion of gay rights in her inauguration speech yesterday… to show where we have come from and yet how far we still have to go.”
New Ways Ministry applauds the resolve of the students at Boston College, who are fostering community in the wake of this hate crime, and the Boston College Law School administration, whose decisive actions have helped to sustain an LGBT-friendly campus in a trying moment.
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry