PC investigating potential racial incident at off-campus party

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence College is investigating a weekend incident in which a group of students said they were peppered with bottles and racial slurs.

The incident is said to have happened at an off-campus party on Eaton Street, near Pembroke Avenue, late Saturday night.

According to a message from the school’s president, Fr. Brian Shanley, five female students of color said they were blocked from entering the party. The women said people on the balcony started yelling racial slurs, throwing bottles, and even dumping water on them.

In a message sent to students, Shanley said he was deeply saddened by the incident.

Dear Members of the Providence College Community:

I regret to inform you that the College received the following report regarding an incident that occurred off-campus. Late last Saturday night/early Sunday morning, a group of five female PC students of color walked to a nearby off-campus residence of some PC students to join their friends at a party. Upon arriving, they were informed that the house was full and no other people were being allowed in. As they began to leave, the students said they noticed that other students – white students – were being allowed into the party. After raising questions as to why they were turned away, they reported that water and beer bottles were thrown in their direction from a balcony. This behavior was accompanied by comments that made the targeted students – women of color – feel fearful, devalued, angry, and humiliated.

The incident was reported to both the Providence Police Department and the PC Office of Campus Safety and Security, and investigations are ongoing.

While I am deeply saddened by this incident, I applaud the courage of these students to bring their report forward. As President, I want to assure you that this incident is being investigated thoroughly and fairly, consistent with our core value that all members of the College community be treated with dignity and respect at all times. We know from our experience at PC, and that of colleges and universities across the country, that the impact of such incidents is not limited to the students who experience them; they bring pain to our entire community. We will continue to work collaboratively with all members of the College community toward creating and sustaining an environment in which all students feel welcome, safe and supported.


Brian J. Shanley, O.P.


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