The recent reports of a Boston College football player facing possible charges for the illegal audio recording of a roommates’ sexual encounter are sweeping the BC community. Just days after a guilty verdict in the Rutgers privacy violation case, it became known that a BC graduate student went to the Boston College Police Department after discovering that there was an audio recording of her having sex. A BC football player had recorded audio through the door while she was with his roommate.
What perhaps is most troubling about this case is the statement issued by BC in which both the student and the victims’ actions were deemed “inappropriate.” As a Jesuit institution, Boston College has an official policy of no “cohabitation.” This policy is outlined clearly in the official Residential “Life Conditions for Residency” which states, “Sexual activity between or among members of the same or opposite sex is prohibited in the residence hall.” While the graduate student in this case did violate this official policy of the university, it seems absurd that Boston College would criticize her for disobeying a trivial rule when the more serious matter of privacy violation was at stake.
Lizzie Jekanowski, a BC student involved in Students for Sexual Health, was interviewed concerning the case and likened it to “blaming victims of sexual assault for their crimes.” While in this case, fortunately, no one was victim of sexual assault, there likely are students who have been. Victims of sexual harassment, privacy violation, or rape often fear reporting their crimes because of humiliation or potential backlash against them. Instead of supporting a student in her effort to correct an injustice against her, Boston College has instead opted to deem her actions “inappropriate.”
There is a well-known university policy dealing with alcohol on campus. If a friend has had too much to drink and needs medical assistance, you can call Eagle EMS without concern that you will be punished if you have also been drinking. This policy sends a clear message to students that when it comes to alcohol related issues, the university’s primary concern is the safety of the students. This recent statement, however, calls into question whether safety comes first in matters involving sex on campus. The graduate student in this case was brave enough to come forward and do something about the severe invasion of her privacy. The university’s statement only gives other students with similar issues another reason to stay silent.