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I thought that this article was pretty amusing!

BC = better contribute

By Brian McGrory Globe Columnist / April 16, 2010

Suppose for a second that the ball fell through Gerard Phelan’s fingertips and bounced to the Orange Bowl turf on that famous November afternoon in 1984, the Miracle in Miami rendered but a dream.

Doug Flutie threw the legendary Hail Mary pass to receiver Gerard   Phelan in 1984.
(Archive photo / Joe Rimkus Jr.) Doug Flutie threw the legendary Hail Mary pass to receiver Gerard Phelan in 1984.

Would Boston College admissions be anywhere near as selective these days? Would BC have such a prominent national name?

And would one of its officials, when asked this week why BC doesn’t provide the same kind of money to the City of Boston that other area colleges do in lieu of taxes, respond that the school is “opposed’’ to those kinds of payments?

You see, BC, God love it (and ask any alum, He does), is a unique place. It views itself as a college on a hill, never mind that it’s just Chestnut Hill. It firmly believes that if it were not for its very presence, Boston as we know it — as a center for culture and commerce — would cease to exist.

It wasn’t always this way. BC used to be the place kids would go when they had more ambition than achievement. The school would accept a fire hydrant if it could pay the tuition. Once in, you could be certain of three things: a diploma, a spouse, and a job. Everyone at BC marries someone from BC (and has children who go to BC), and it’s a Vatican mandate that graduates hire BC graduates.

“Your references say you’re chronically tardy, you have a police record, a sense of entitlement, and a 2.0 from BC. How soon can you start?’’

Then the great Doug Flutie threw the ball from midfield to good-guy Phelan and every honors student in New York and New Jersey wanted to be at The Heights. The alumni acted like they had graduated from Harvard with priests. The same tribalism that seemed quaint when the school was adequate became insufferable as it prospered.

But at least with all this prosperity, and with its Jesuit principles, you would think BC would be helping its namesake city in whatever way it could. Think again.

Colleges are nonprofit institutions and don’t pay property taxes. Most schools, understanding that they can strain a city’s budget, contribute some payments in lieu of taxes.

Harvard gave Boston $2 million in 2009. Northeastern kept property on the tax rolls and paid $1.9 million for it. Boston University, the gold standard, paid Boston $4.9 million in lieu of taxes and an additional $3.4 million on property it could have excluded.

And BC? The school gave Boston $293,000 in lieu of taxes, and $383,000 in property taxes it elected to pay, for a total payment of $676,500 on the property it owns in Boston.

That ranks BC dead last among the four major schools.

I called BC’s spokesman, Jack Dunn, who is like a lot of other BC graduates — unfailingly polite and relentlessly proud of his school.

“We are opposed to payments in lieu of taxes because we’re a nonprofit organization and have been for 150 years,’’ he said.

The school didn’t seem opposed to the 27 firetrucks, seven ambulances, and six cruisers from Boston that raced to Conte Forum when there was an ammonia leak Tuesday morning.

Dunn told me about all the volunteer work that BC students do. He told me the school spends $9.5 million a year on programs in the Boston schools — though most of that money actually comes from private foundations.

“We are the most generous,’’ he said. “That’s our position. It centers around an understanding of contributed service. There is a culture of service that permeates BC.’’

I’m sure there is. But it also needs a culture of pay-more-money. Boston is struggling. The mayor is rightfully pressing nonprofits to contribute more, to be more like BU, to make the city better.

BC needs to get over itself. Here’s one idea: Pretend it’s a football game. Go Flying Eagles. Go be a better citizen.

McGrory is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

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