Many of the hundreds of posters hung around campus during Sunday night’s “Our University Has a Problem – Protest on Sexual Assault @ BU” demonstration were removed by Boston University Facilities Management and Operations staff members early Monday morning.
BU spokesperson Colin Riley said the posters were not placed in areas the University allows public expression.
“There’s free-expression boards on campus,” Riley said. “I’m told that was communicated to someone representing the group.”
The posters displayed different phrases related to the protest, including “Our University has a sexual assault problem” and “Our University has a rape problem.” Some posters also included resources for survivors of sexual assault.
Protestors also used chalk to write on buildings and sidewalks on campus property.
Prisha Kumar, one of the main organizers of the event and a junior in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said she and her fellow organizers did not receive any information about designated expression boards.
“We were never told anything,” Kumar said. “I tried reaching out to find what technically was … allowed, but Dean [Battaglino] told us to push the envelope so we did.”
Riley said the posters’ removal was “nothing out of the ordinary” and followed University policy. He said they would have done the same if students put up posters “about your band.”
Kumar said it was “infuriating” the University removed the posters due to their placement on campus.
“They’re so stressed and on edge about this but when it comes to violence, whether it be sexual-based or racially based, they are silent,” Kumar said. “They don’t take any action unless it hurts them and their reputation.”
Sophia Lopez, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, said while she didn’t know much about the issue, she said she believed it was unusual these posters were removed.
“I’ve seen other posters,” Lopez said, “so it’s weird that those ones would be taken out.”
Riley said the University respects students’ opinions and protesting is allowed on campus.
“There’s no silencing,” he said. “People are welcome to protest.”
Justin Kan, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said it is “very upsetting” the University has not addressed the events or the issue of sexual assault on campus.
“I have never heard nor seen of these free-expression boards,” Kan said. “And if they want to make these the main outlet for addressing student concerns, they should make that more publicly available.”
He said the University is taking steps backward on advancements made by the student body.
“When students take action and the University works to get rid of any progress that students are trying to make,” Kan said, “I think that they are actually looking to silence the students.”