A Boston College student confessed to assaulting three women on a Facebook page and later told people it was a ‘joke.’ But campus authorities — and his classmates — aren’t laughing
Two days after a Boston College student posted on a community Facebook page that he had sexually assaulted three intoxicated women, hundreds of students planned to meet Thursday night for a discussion about the culture of sexual abuse on campus.
“I was finally able to get what I wanted,” the unnamed student wrote on the Facebook page “Boston College Confessions,” which is not officially associated with the university.
“I put her clothes back on her (which was more difficult than you’d think) and tucked her into my roommate’s bed. When she woke up the next morning, she asked me who I was and why she was in my room. She had no recollection of the prior night.”
He added: “She thanked me for being a gentleman, which I chuckled at under my breath.”
The student also said that he had sought counseling and had had “another experience” this month.
The page’s administrators quickly alerted university officials and local police to the post — which has since been removed — Tuesday evening, said Pail Chebator, the university’s dean of students, in a statement.
But hours after the posting was made public, a student approached the police and confessed his confession: it had all been a joke.
“The student appeared quite remorseful,” Chebator said in a statement.
“Nevertheless, this matter will continue to be investigated and the student will be referred to the Student Conduct System for resolution of this matter.”
But joke or no joke, three students read the post and immediately moved to organize a campus-wide event — titled on Facebook: “A Response to Boston College Confession #7122” — to address the topic of sexual assault and rape on campus.
“The fact that it may have been a hoax is not comforting because rape is not a joke,” Colleen Lavin, a senior and one of the event’s organizers, said in an e-mail. “This post is just an example of the serious implications of rape culture on college campuses.”
Chelsea Lennox, also a senior and an organizer of the event, said the post’s impression on the community had been undeniably felt.
“The reality is that the student body was impacted in a way that we hadn’t seen before,” she said. “Students were compelled to take action and have their voices heard.”
Don Orr, a senior and the event’s third organizer, agreed, saying the post had sparked an “unprecedented concern for sexual assault on campus.”
The first half of the event will feature a panel discussion with members from the Boston Police Department, as well as from the Bystander Intervention Program, a sexual assault prevention program based on campus.
The latter part of the night will allow for students to speak openly about the ways Boston College can improve its services when it comes to sexual assault prevention, according to the event’s description.
As of late Thursday afternoon, more than 370 students RSVP’d to the discussion.
“We hope this event can educate our peers on the very real, yet often under-acknowledged prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses,” Lennox said.
The university’s student government issued a statement Wednesday afternoon condemning the post and encouraging the community to rally together.
“The vocal response of the student body, on social media and other forums, and of the BC administration to seek justice and healing demonstrates that the BC community is indeed moving forward by taking a stronger position of standing with the survivors of sexual assault and speaking out,” the statement says.
When asked about the history of the confessions page, Lennox said she was disturbed by the apparently recent uptick in posts referring to suicide attempts and eating disorders.
But on the whole, nothing that might be considered a crime had ever appeared before — “not beyond things like taking 2 cream cheeses from the dining hall or only paying for one,” she said.
A large number of universities have similar forums, although an increasingly large number are moving away from Facebook and toward Whisper.sh — a collective social media website that shares anonymous secrets and aims to connect users.