B.C. Minority Leaders Receive Racist E-Mail

Boston College's (B.C.) campus was up in arms last week in the wake of racist e-mail messages sent to 13 of its student minority leaders.

The messages, sent under a false identity by someone with a B.C. account, were received late Wednesday and early Thursday.

The message, which included the line, "BC is for white men," was directed to members of a B.C. umbrella student minority group.

The group, AHANA, an acronym for Asian, Hispanic, African-American and Native American, was featured in last week's The Heights, a Boston College student weekly.

In a college of about 9,000 undergraduates, just under 20 percent of B.C. students are minorities.


Reaction on campus quickly swelled against the e-mail message. On Thursday evening more than 1,000 students and top administrators met to discuss the message, according to the B.C. press office.

The college promised to seek out the responsible individuals.

"Behavior of this nature is not and will not be tolerated at Boston College", the statement read. "This University intends to take swift and appropriate action upon completion of the investigation."

Unlike the e-mail system at Harvard, e-mail accounts at Boston College operate on afive digit identification code. This makes theorigin of last week's hate message difficult totrace.

"Theoretically, it could have come from anybodywho has access to a computer," said Reid Oslin, aB.C. spokesperson.

At Harvard, where Faculty of Arts and SciencesComputer Services delivers more than 300,000e-mail messages per day, the potential forincendiary letters is also present, but no studentminority leader at Harvard was aware of any suchhate mail being sent here in recent memory.

Several minority leaders said they weredismayed by the e-mail message but optimisticabout the future of race relations at Harvard.

Sergio J. Campos '00, president ofHarvard-Radcliffe RAZA, a Latino/Mexican-Americanstudent group, said he was disappointed but notshocked by the news at B.C.

"I guess this is just another sign that racismisn't dead," he said. "As isolated and petty asthat act is, it's just symptomatic of somethingmuch larger."

Skylar H. Byrd '00, who is on the executiveboard of the Black Students Association, said shehad not heard of the hate mail.

"Usually when people write things like that,it's because of ignorance," said Byrd, who is alsoa Crimson editor.

Caroline T. Nguyen `00, co-president of theAsian American Association (AAA) and also aCrimson editor, was aware of the hate mail, andthe AAA membership was notified of it by e-mailover the weekend.

"I think it's an atrocious thing to havehappened," she said.

Recalling last year's Race Relations Forum,Nguyen said the issue needs continual attention.

"I think that especially after the incident atB.C....something like that is definitely needed. Ithink that ongoing race discussions are alwaysgood things," Nguyen said.

--This report was compiled with wiredispatches.

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