Dear Members of the Boston College LGBTQ+ Alumni Network,
In 2015, Dominic Longo and Michael Fee founded the most recent iteration of what is now known as the Boston College LGBTQ+ Alumni Network, building on efforts over the last two decades to create a community of BC’s LGBTQ+ alumni. Since its formation, the Network has existed outside of the University as an unofficial group run and funded by volunteers. We have also dialogued—with each other and with the University—about if, how, and when the Network should become an affinity group of the Boston College Alumni Association, the University’s official association for all alumni, which already has a number of identity and professional affinity groups.
We are excited to announce that we, the University, and the Alumni Association have agreed to form an LGBTQ+ alumni affinity group as one of the newest networks formally affiliated with and recognized by the Alumni Association. The Alumni Association will publicly announce this news in early April in Alumni Connections, the monthly e-newsletter that BC sends to all alumni globally, and will host an official kick-off event in the fall.
We will explain below more of how and why this decision was reached, but if this is already too-long-didn’t-read, then let us put up front the two items with which we need your help.
- First, we have a database of alumni contact information who form this Network. Your name is in this database. We are not providing your contact information to the University unless you agree. The names we provide—of those who opt-in—will be the foundation for BC’s own database of LGBTQ+ alumni who it will contact about future affinity group events and announcements on behalf of the new LGBTQ+ alumni affinity group. If you would like to opt-in to share your information with the University, please complete this form; we ask that you do this before March 29, but will keep the form open through May. Please note that the Network’s listerve will no longer be active after May; opting in, therefore, is the only mechanism through which you can stay informed of future LGBTQ+ affinity group events and activities.
- Second, we want to dialogue with you. To that end, we are hosting two small receptions to connect with you, to answer your questions, and to learn what considerations you want addressed during this transition to the University. Kevin McLaughlin, President of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, Jim Husson, Senior Vice President for University Advancement, and Leah DeCosta, the newly appointed Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations, plan to attend these events and look forward to meeting you and answering your questions. The event in New York City will be on Tuesday, April 16 from 6:30-8:30pm[please save the date!], and the event in Boston will be sometime during the latter half of April or early May. Invitations and more information are forthcoming. If you cannot attend in person or do not live in one of those cities, but have questions or comments, please send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Okay, back to how we got here.
During the past four years, we have discussed whether or not to pursue University recognition, and we have heard from many of you about what you think this group should do. Thank you for your candid opinions. We recognize that LGBTQ+ alumni have a range of perspectives on BC and hope that BC will continue to do more for its LGBTQ+ students and alumni, but the vast majority of people have encouraged us to seek University recognition. We have concluded, therefore, that becoming a part of the Alumni Association is important for legitimacy, visibility, and sustainability.
BC will not be the first Jesuit Catholic school to have an official LGBTQ+ alumni group, but the number of other Catholic universities that have an LGBTQ+ alumni group is small. That BC can be a leader in this direction lends legitimacy to the existence of such groups, and we hope it will encourage other Catholic schools to follow. While an endorsement is never needed to validate or give visibility to anyone or anything, the establishment of an LGBTQ+ alumni group elevates LGBTQ+ alumni in a way that BC has not done before. And, perhaps most importantly, this move demonstrates to prospective students, current students, and alumni that BC sees and supports its LGBTQ+ alumni in a direct and deliberate way. From a practical perspective, becoming part of the University ensures this group’s survival because we can marshal the resources of the University to keep this group going.
When we approached the University about whether it would be interested in forming an LGBTQ+ affinity group, we were met with welcome, excitement, generosity, and thoughtfulness. We have had multiple conversations with University leaders—including Kevin, Jim, Leah, and Joy Moore (Leah’s predecessor who is now BC’s Interim Vice President of Student Affairs)—during which we posed multiple and difficult questions. We were so impressed by the response and reception we got that we unanimously decided to accept the invitation to become an official affinity group. We trust that the University will continue to remain supportive while giving this group the freedom to serve LGBTQ+ alumni in a meaningful way that ultimately will help foster and encourage increased engagement with our alma mater.
We have immensely enjoyed the work of this Network and are excited to remain involved as we transition to the University. We sincerely hope you will join us as we become a part of the Alumni Association. We cannot underscore enough how monumental and historic this is, and how thankful we are to you and the University for supporting this.
The National Team and Advisory Council