Boston U. law students challenge Silber

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 02 2002 11:00 PM ET

In a letter delivered to Boston University chancellor John Silber Tuesday, 514 students and staff from the Boston University School of Law condemned Silber's "intolerable display of bigotry" in closing the Boston Academy's gay-straight alliance in early September, according to the Daily Free Press. Boston Academy is a prestigious secondary school under the university's umbrella.

The letter questions BU's claim that the university is an institution that "greatly values diversity" and implies that students will withhold future donations to BU to show their dissatisfaction with Silber's actions. "We are future lawyers and future Boston University alumni," the letter reads. "In the years to come, we will choose which organizations we wish to support with our energy as well as our income. We will mentor young people and help them decide which university to attend for an undergraduate, graduate, or professional education. The elimination of the GSA will greatly influence our actions in these matters."

The letter was written by five students who helped gather the other signatures in about one week by soliciting law students in the school's lobby and assorted classes, according to the effort's leader, Danielle Drissel. The group of five, who did not pen the letter on behalf of any specific organization, includes Neil Minahan, president of the school's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender club, Outlaw.

The effort is the first major group action at BU in response to Silber's comments and actions in early September. Former BU physical education teacher Eric Lindemer resigned in mid September, citing his objection to Silber's comments and actions.

"What we really were hoping to get across was that [Boston University students] can't condone Silber's behavior," Drissel said. "He's not speaking for us. BU is a community that celebrates tolerance and celebrates diversity. By excluding the GSA from the BU Academy, he really harms the university. He is excluding one of the most vulnerable communities, and that harms us all."