STOKES SOUTH — This past Friday, the Boston College Academic Review Board found Brigham O’Brennan (MCAS ‘21) guilty of gross academic misconduct after a week-long investigation. Rather than place him on academic probation, the Board demoted the sophomore from English major to English captain.
As an English captain, O’Brennan’s academic career will be only slightly affected. According to Board member Anik Shah, the sophomore will still be able to graduate on time, provided that he complete six credits of remedial English, attend monthly advising sessions, and lead an infantry battalion through the trenches of war.
Those familiar with O’Brennan’s case agreed that the unorthodox punishment matched the unconventional crime: haphazardly using a semicolon.
“You have to give the kid some credit,” said Mia Scarola, an adjunct professor of English. “It was a bold move. But let’s be honest. There is a time and a place for the semicolon, and this just wasn’t it.”
Though certainly a deviation from the norm, O’Brennan’s demotion is not unprecedented. Records show that at least two other Boston College students have been subject to similar penalties in the past: the first, in 1887, when Michael McCray (MCAS ‘89) submitted a book report consisting only of verbs, and the second, in 2013, when Dennis Harrow (LSOE ‘14) enlarged his periods to font size 14.
At press time, representatives from the Academic Review Board were reviewing the list of punctuation marks prohibited by the University, including ampersands, backslashes, and Obama commas.