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On Wednesday, the leading officials at the famed-for-jazz Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, issued a full apology on Facebook because the college permitted police to use their bathrooms during a protest on May 31, as The Boston Globe reported.
Berklee President Roger H. Brown, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Mac Hisey, and Police Chief David Ransom wrote:
Dear members of the Berklee community,
We are writing to follow up on the Public Safety message posted on Sunday night about Boston Police officers’ access to the Berklee Performance Center.
Following the peaceful protest at the State House on May 31, Boston Police staged officers at various intersections throughout the city. One of these locations was at Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street. On Sunday, Berklee Public Safety allowed officers stationed there access to restroom facilities in the Berklee Performance Center.
Boston Police of course have jurisdiction over the roads and other public spaces around our campus, but not inside our buildings. The decision to allow them into our facilities was ours. This was not a formal decision by the institution, but an informal one, made on the spot. Some have asked if the campus was used to house or stage activity of the Boston Police; it was not.
We have heard from many of you personally and across social channels of your hurt and anger that this access was permitted, especially as the facility is not currently open for students and members of our community. Allowing police officers into the space was in no way meant to undermine Berklee’s support for Black Lives Matter.
We understand that many members of our community feel betrayed. We are deeply sorry for the impact this had on our community and for perpetuating feelings of oppression, silencing, and marginalization. We will make a more concerted effort to consider the effects of our actions.
Let us assure you, this should not have happened, and going forward, it will not happen again.
But some responses on Facebook were far more sympathetic to the police, including, “I’m very happy you chose kindness… kindness to allow a public servant to use the bathroom,” “One of the reasons I felt ‘peace’ leaving my daughter in Boston was the presence of law enforcement. We walked around the city and saw cameras throughout the city and officers present everywhere. Iappreciate the effort officers make around school when they do coffee with an officer. Not all officers are bad and law enforcement in general is getting a bad rap. Thank you for being decent enough to allow officers to use your facilities,” and “How quickly Berklee College, right there on Boylston St, forgets the BPD running in to protect this City during the Marathon Bombings. Berklee – you are guiding the minds of students, be a bridge builder not a divider.”