Campus Climate

A community-wide effort toward building the welcoming, inclusive and respectful environment that we seek at Holy Cross. 

The Campus Climate Initiative consists of two distinct, but related areas: 

  • Diversity and Inclusion -  At Holy Cross, we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community. We seek to respect and honor all perspectives and life experiences, and to openly engage and learn from our differences. More »
  • Sexual Respect - The College is committed to providing an environment of well-being, learning, and accountability for its members by preventing the occurrence of sexual misconduct and addressing its effects. More »

The foundation for this initiative began in Fall 2018, with the ENGAGE Summit, and will continue into the Fall 2019 semester with action steps already planned as well as additional recommendations from the Diversity and Inclusion and Sexual Respect and Conduct Planning Groups, and the Sexual Misconduct Policy Review Committee.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to review the results of the 2019 Campus Climate Survey via Moodle. Please use your Holy Cross credentials to log in to Moodle. Please click on “Dashboard” or “Site Home” on the left hand column. After doing so, there will be a block on the right hand column titled “Campus Climate 2019 Survey." The moodle site will be updated as more analyses are conducted. Questions about the survey and requests for additional analyses can be sent to Denise Bell, Director of the Office of Assessment and Research, at

Attorney Phil Catanzano of Holland & Knight has also completed a Review of our Culture, Structures and Procedures (PDF) which will guide additional action steps. 

This page will provide up to date information on the goals and tactical plans under each area. It will be updated regularly. If you have questions or feedback about the content on the page, please email


Action Item and Timing

Gain deeper understanding of campus climate and issues facing our community.

The ENGAGE Assessment Subcommittee has been reviewing and compiling results of the surveys completed about the ENGAGE Summit and the full ENGAGE Team met on  February 13 and is considering options for repeating successful Summit sessions and for additional events in the next academic year.

Campus climate surveys were administered to all community members in March and April 2019. Detailed results can be viewed on Moodle. The results of the surveys will serve a variety of purposes related to improvement efforts and planning.

Dean of Students Michele Murray will be hosted open office hours throughout the Spring semester.

Inform campus community of Department of Public Safety processes and initiatives.

Chief Shawn de Jong and DPS held information sessions in the Spring 2019 semester.

  • February 7: Chief de Jong met with the Outfront group
  • February 12: Coffee with a Cop, 8:00 - 10:00 a.m., Hogan 1st floor
  • February 27: Pizza with Public Safety, 6 - 7:30 p.m., Hogan 1st floor

A Timely Warning FAQ has been added to the DPS website. Further information about Timely Warnings can be found in the College’s annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

Improve lighting and surveillance ability on campus.

Additional external lighting has been added throughout campus in spring and summer 2019.

Additional security cameras were installed in common spaces across campus in the summer. Plans call for 34 new cameras in the Luth Athletic Complex, 67 on the exteriors of buildings, the parking garage and athletic fields, and 118 inside academic and administrative buildings and the Hogan Campus Center. About 95 percent of these cameras have been installed as of September 2019.

Cameras in the Organ Loft have been relocated based on feedback from our Organ Scholars.

Clarify and communicate the College’s policies for campus speakers, discussions and posting.  

Provost Margaret Freije and Vice President for Student Affairs Michele Murray convened a group of faculty, administrators and staff to discuss freedom of expression on our campus. Based on those discussions, a committee was formed to draft a philosophical statement on freedom of expression. This committee was co-chaired by Dean Murray and Dean Amit Taneja, Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and included students, faculty and administrators. The draft philosophical statement was completed in Fall 2018. This draft has been discussed in various settings among students, faculty and staff and these discussions will continue in the Fall 2019 semester.

Review structure and processes to ensure clear lines of hierarchy as well as oversight and accountability.

All new hire letters and annual raise letters now include language identifying the reporting line for the position.

Supervisors are asked twice a year to ensure that our Human Resources records reflect their direct reports and to report any discrepancies to HR.

Human Resources is working with division vice presidents to conduct an internal review of the lines of hierarchy on both a College and departmental level to create better understanding of reporting structures and create better accountability for professionals on campus.

Continue to develop resources and programs to support our students.

In the spring of 2019, the College hired consultants to review best practices for coordination of care and communication between and among three departments that provide medical services: the Health Center, Sports Medicine and the Counseling Center. The respective directors are reviewing the consultants' recommendations and putting forth strategic priorities for the upcoming academic year.

Continue to provide and enhance training related to both diversity and inclusion and sexual respect.

The Department of Human Resources and the Title IX office sponsored a required online training designed by EduRisk for Colleges and Universities called Respect Happens Here: Prevent Discrimination and Harassment Together. As of January 22, 2019, all Holy Cross supervisory employees have completed this training.

All Athletics staff, coaches and student-athletes were required to complete online training modules covering various topics including sexual misconduct and mental health by November 1, 2018. All coaches and other Athletics staff are trained annually on sexual misconduct, their responsibilities as “responsible employees” and the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


Establish a planning group to identify and address issues related to diversity and inclusion on campus in general and for specific groups in need of support.

A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Planning Group was established on February 11 to develop a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. The Planning Group has submitted its recommendations, which were presented to the campus community at public sessions in early May. Amit Taneja, Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is developing a process for evaluation and prioritization of the recommendations.

Ensure appropriate resources are dedicated to developing and implementing campus-wide programming and training on diversity, inclusion and bias issues.

An interim LGBTQIA+ coordination group was named in November 2018 to focus on programming and training through the Fall 2019 semester.  They published a series of events for the Spring 2019 semester, which Dean Michele Murray sent to students on February 4.

A comprehensive external review of the Office of Multicultural Education was completed in Spring 2019 to help determine how to best accomplish our goals in this area. Next steps will be communicated in Fall 2019.

Ensure skilled and appropriate resources dedicated to support historically marginalized or minority groups on campus

The College added a fifth staff member to the Counseling Center in September 2018, who specializes in working with LGBTQIA+ students. A sixth psychologist has also been hired and will begin in August 2019.

The review of the Office of Multicultural Education will include resource recommendations for this area. Next steps will be communicated in the Fall 2019 semester.

Develop and communicate a protocol to improve the timeliness and adequacy of communications related to  bias incidents and support in the aftermath of such incidents.

The group that gathers to respond to bias incidents was formalized as the Bias Response Team in the Fall 2018 semester. The team held a retreat in December to begin developing a standard protocol for addressing bias incidents on campus. Bias incidents may be reported to the Bias Response Team via an online form.

The Department of Public Safety held information sessions in the Spring semester to provide information about Timely Warning notices, their work on campus, and their approach to investigations.                                           

Sexual Respect and Conduct  

Review culture, structure and procedures at the College to prevent future sexual misconduct.

Phil Catanzano, senior counsel at Holland & Knight and former attorney for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, was hired to conduct a review of culture, structure and procedures at the College designed to prevent future sexual misconduct. Fr. Boroughs updated the College community on initial findings and plans to address areas of concern on November 14, 2018. Further updates were sent to the campus community March 1, 2019 and April 30, 2019.

The Provost’s Office, Student Affairs, Athletics and the Chaplain’s Office will work together to develop policies and training establishing clear expectations for interactions between faculty or staff and students, on- or off-campus. An initial training on maintaining professional boundaries was conducted by Praesidium in May 2019 for College faculty and staff. Additional sessions will be held in September. Participation in this training is mandatory.

Establish a planning group to identify and address issues related to sexual respect and conduct on campus.

A Sexual Respect and Conduct Planning Group was established on February 11 to develop a Sexual Respect and Conduct Strategic Plan. The Planning Group has submitted its recommendations, which were presented to the campus at public sessions in early May.

Improve policies and processes related to Title IX, incorporating feedback from community members.

The College has engaged Jody Shipper of Grand River Solutions to evaluate our resources and advise on the appropriate structure of our Title IX Office and related initiatives going forward. Ms. Shipper has met with College leadership and members of the community to gather feedback and input, including through three listening sessions held at the end of July. UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2019: Ms. Shipper has completed her structural review of the Title IX office.  Based on that review and in keeping with national practices, the College will create a centralized Office of Title IX and Equal Opportunity to receive and investigate all allegations of prohibited discrimination and harassment, including but not limited to Title IX.  This approach will ensure a parity of response and resources to all individuals who report violations of civil rights or other interests protected under our policies. 

The firm Issacson Miller has been hired and begun a national search process to hire a new Title IX Director. Isaacson Miller is finalizing the position description based on feedback from the community and Human Resources will then be posting it to the College’s website. Throughout the fall semester, Isaacson Miller will be identifying qualified candidates and meeting with the search committee to review candidates. The committee will hold “airport interviews” in early January to identify finalists. 

The College began in Spring 2019 a review of our Sexual Misconduct Policy and procedures. The Sexual Misconduct Policy Review Committee, comprised of faculty, students and administrators, coordinated this review, working with an external expert. 

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2019: The policy has now been updated based on recommendations from the SMP review committee which met during the spring semester under the guidance of Darryl Lapp from Locke Lord.  You can find the new policy here and read Fr. Boroughs’ August 7th email and the committee’s work. 

The Title IX Office held more than 10 listening sessions between November 2018 and January 2019.

The Office held two open office sessions in the Spring 2019 semester and is available to hold additional sessions upon request.

Provide increased transparency of campus incidents of sexual misconduct and the work of the Title IX Office.

The Title IX office has created a Title IX Q&A that answers key questions related to the implementation of the College's Sexual Misconduct Policy. They will continue to add to this Q&A and also create a visual representation of the process for addressing reports of sexual misconduct. 

The Title IX office has published a summary report relative to academic year 2017-18. This annual report can be found here: Office of Title IX Initiatives - Annual Report-Fiscal Year 2018 (PDF)

Provide transparent comments and communication regarding changes to Title IX regulations proposed by the Department of Education in November 2018.

The College collaborated with the other 54 colleges and universities that comprise the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) to craft comments on the proposed Title IX regulations. The College submitted those comments with a cover letter specifically regarding Holy Cross on January 30, 2019. The comments are posted on the Title IX website.

  • The Title IX Office held seven information sessions in November and December 2018 for the campus community on the proposed regulations.

Allocate adequate and appropriate resources to education and prevention efforts as well as to the investigation process.

Staffing and other resources will be reviewed as part of the College’s review of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and procedures in the Spring 2019 semester and the work of Jody Shipper of Grand River Solutions. Additional resources for education and prevention efforts have been set aside for the next fiscal year.

Continue to enhance training and education related to sexual respect and conduct.

The Title IX office added a training resources section to its website in the Spring 2019 semester. These trainings include online resources on topics such as healthy relationships, sexual assault prevention, and additional Title IX training for faculty, staff, and supervisors. Members of the campus community are encouraged to send training requests and suggestions to

On January 23, 2019, The Title IX office, in partnership with the Office of Student Wellness Programming, the Student Government Association and other campus organizations, co-sponsored an event to bring Speak About It, a 60-minute performance about consent, healthy relationships, communication, and bystander intervention to campus. A cohort of 100 students attended a program customized to Holy Cross. Gathering feedback from the January 23rd event, the Title IX Office, in collaboration with Student Affairs, will evaluate this program for future integration into required campus programming.

The Student Government Association and the Title IX office have joined efforts to coordinate a campus wide collaboration on a sustained “It’s On Us” campaign, building upon the College’s 2017 It’s On Us program.  They held three planning sessions in the Fall 2018 semester. In addition, the SGA is joining efforts with the National Jesuit Student Government Alliance (JSGA) to participate in a collective "It's On Us" campaign across all Jesuit Colleges/Universities.

Actions Taken Based on Discussions Following February 2019 Sit-In

  • President Boroughs communicated his sorrow that any student would feel unsafe in an email to students on February 6, following a meeting with a group of students participating in the sit-in.

  • The Sexual Misconduct Policy Review Committee, aided by an experienced attorney, will be evaluating how interim measures are determined, as well as many other questions about the Policy and how it is executed. The Committee began their work in April 2019, and the College's policy has been updated to reflect their recommendations.

  • The Provost presented a proposal for a policy to remove faculty awards in cases of misconduct to the Academic Governance Council on February 19, 2019. The Academic Governance Council did not approve this policy. The Academic Governance Council has voted to recommend that the removal of faculty awards and other formal recognitions be considered as possible sanctions in findings of faculty violations of the Sexual Misconduct, Scholarly Misconduct, and Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment policies. This will be considered as part of the Sexual Misconduct Policy review. In addition, the Academic Governance Council committed to establishing a policy for removal of faculty awards, and other formal recognitions as part of a larger policy review regarding sanctions for faculty. The Academic Governance Council voted that until a formal policy is decided, the Provost may remove awards for serious misconduct. In order to ensure fairness, the Provost has established an administrative process to review the records of all winners of prior awards.

  • Jody Shipper of Grand River Solutions completed a structural review of the Title IX office. Based on that review and in keeping with national practices, the College will create a centralized Office of Title IX and Equal Opportunity to receive and investigate all allegations of prohibited discrimination and harassment, including but not limited to Title IX.  This approach will ensure a parity of response and resources to all individuals who report violations of civil rights or other interests protected under our policies. The College published a Title IX Q&A webpage, which seeks to address questions about the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Title IX resolution process.

    The structural review also included recommendations regarding staffing.  The College has set aside additional resources and is committed to right-sizing so as to allow this office to respond to allegations in a prompt and responsive manner.

  • President Boroughs has updated the community regularly on the Colleges actions as a result Phil Catanzano’s review of culture, structure and processes over the course of the 2018-19 academic year. He sent and posted updates of concerns raised in the review and action steps the College is taking to address them on November 14March 1, and April 30.