Letters to Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Changing the headlines

Boston University reeks of scandal. For the past several months, students have been watching as story after inflammatory story hits the news. And I’m tired of it. Let’s get our act together, and let’s do this for our own sake.

As a campus, let’s make a pact to do a little better. Our academics are competitive and our individual schools and colleges are award-winning. I am proud to say that BU is home to many of the smartest people I know, so let’s stop acting like idiots.

I won’t rehash the numerous ways BU has drawn negative attention from the public recently, but when I read a report of another scandal on Monday afternoon, I decided that I had had enough. The fact is that most of the students at BU are not involved in any of the controversies of late, but we all need to recognize that BU is in the public eye, and we need to act like it.

BU is not an urban circle of hell where sorority girls drink too much and frat boys are tied up in Allston dungeons until they are found by the police. It is not a place where rape and sexual assault are so commonplace that the school newspaper can joke about it on every page. At least I hope it isn’t, which is why I’m so saddened by all of these reports. And by the way, the fact that the administration thinks the only thing they need to do to counteract this seemingly endless outpouring of bad PR is to make a “task force” isn’t exactly a good sign.

We need to clean up our act. It’s time for the BU community to get together to change our headline, and that means changing some of our behavior as well. I hope that any student, hockey player or not, who sexually assaults another student becomes unwelcome on this campus – because I don’t want them here. But it is up to the rest of us to not seem complicit in these actions. Innocent men, athletes and Greek organizations on campus are getting slandered by association, and they have to speak out against what’s happening. Almost everyone at BU is against hazing, sexual assault and rape – and until recently, that has gone without saying. But we can no longer stand by and watch as all this news damages the reputation of the school and community we love. We have to say something.

I’m proud to attend BU and until recently, my pride went unquestioned. This school has so many positives, my favorite being the fact that no two BU experiences are exactly alike. We should leverage this range of experiences at BU and tell the world about them. If every undergraduate student posts his or her favorite memory of BU to their Facebook, Twitter or blog, there would be more than 18,000 positive examples of BU online to counteract the few negative ones. I can’t name all of the best things about BU in this letter, so I’m going to need your help.

Since each of us attends BU, it is up to us to improve the culture and change our headline. It is clear from our presence on social media that we all have something to say – but it’s time we started saying it together. We should take advantage of opportunities to speak out, and we should start creating some of our own as well. I’m a senior, so I’ll only be at BU for a few more weeks, but I’ll keep speaking out, and I hope you will join me.


Heather Potts

COM 2012

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  1. I am graduate of the class of 1996 and have maintained a close relationship with BU. And to be honest with you I am not that embarrassed or upset about the current events. I am older than most readers so I will let you in on a secret, there is no protective bubble around you or this school. So what a Fraternity hazed it’s pledges, we all do it, it’s part of the culture and to sound appalled when you hear it proves you are a liar. This is too long, the point is you’re in college, screw up, make awful decisions, get arrested, thumb your nose at authority, be stupid. That’s what we did and we’re still alive!

    • Spoken like a true alpha male. You might not be upset or disturbed by recent events at BU, but as a young woman I am upset, disturbed, and frankly a little bit scared. I’m paying nearly $60,000 to go here and I shouldn’t be afraid to take a shower or to use the library. As a male, you will most likely never have to worry about being sexually assaulted (of course not to say that it doesn’t happen to men). But, to violate someone else’s body, whether it be in the form of sexual assault or hazing, is a crime and that experience of violation is something that no one should ever have to go through.

  2. Emily Kaeding SMG 2010

    Thank you Heather for addressing these issues.
    As a recent alum living in Ohio, it saddens me when the news reaches the midwest and creates negative perceptions in my neighbors’ minds who had little – to -no idea what BU was prior to these scandals…

    I hope that the University will work to eradicate this negative PR and work to better push out the amazing things happening there!

  3. I hope we pass this around. We need this to go viral and posting best memories be a meme. We can use some good developments right now and badly.