By: Pooja Aggarwal, Co-Station Manager & Communications
Stay the course. The voice of our protest organizer, Michela McDonagh, rang in our heads on Monday, November 13th, as hundreds of us silently marched down Boylston Street. The protest was organized in response to a recently published Boston Globe article, which discussed incidents of sexual misconduct, by professors, at Berklee. While all of the aforementioned professors were fired, it was the “hush-hush” way in which Berklee handled those situations, and continues to handle current sexual assault cases within the student body, that has led to an uproar among both students and faculty on campus. We marched to the Berklee Performance Center, where the administration, including President Roger Brown, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Larry Simpson, and Senior Vice President for Student Enrollment and Engagement, Betsy Newman, were present, and ready to hear our concerns. We stated our demands for change, which included stricter action on our zero tolerance policy, more transparency, and expulsion for students/faculty that are found responsible for rape. Roger Brown said in his opening statement, “To everyone who has been harassed or abused at Berklee, I am so sorry. I apologize for this institution … I want to commit to you today, and I am going to need your help. We’re going to root out abusive behavior from this institution, and we’re not going to tolerate it.” The open forum went on for three hours, where students shared their own stories involving sexual assault. It became clear to the administration that there is a lot of work to be done. There will be a working group comprised of students and faculty, from both the college and conservatory, so that our voice can be heard and can play a larger role in influencing Berklee’s policies. It seems that the Berklee administration is listening and willing to make a change. We will be watching.
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