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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 in the Spring 2019 semester with action steps already planned as well as additional recommendations from the Diversity and Inclusion and Sexual Respect Planning Groups which will be delivered by April 15, 2019.

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 Several of these items are already in process, and more will be added based on the recommendations of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Planning Group and the Sexual Respect and Conduct Planning Group.


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. Preliminary results from the student survey were presented in two open sessions in May and can be downloaded here (PDF). The Office of Assessment and Research will perform further analysis on the student survey and analyze the results of the faculty and staff surveys over the summer.  The results of the surveys will serve a variety of purposes related to improvement efforts and planning.

Dean of Students Michele Murray will be hosting the following during the Spring 2019 semester:

  • Open Office Hours every Wednesday 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. at Cool Beans
  • Dean’s Forums, 4 - 5 p.m. in Hogan 519 on January 31, February 21, March 28, April 18, May 9

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 in area of campus, and more will be added in summer 2019. 

Additional security cameras will be installed in common spaces across campus in the summer, including 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.

Cameras in the Organ Loft will be relocated to cover the front of the loft where the organist sits, based on feedback from our Organ Scholars.

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

In February 2019, the College initiated a campus-wide discussion to develop and refine a shared philosophy of freedom of expression.

In January 2018, 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.  The committee 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.

The College has 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 consultants completed their work in early April and their recommendations are being reviewed.

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 by April 19, 2019. The Planning Group has submitted its recommendations, which were presented to the campus community at public sessions in early May.

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 end of the 2018-19 academic year and to perform a peer review for how similar academic institutions are meeting these needs. They have 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 by the end of the spring semester, with a permanent solution in place by the start of the 2019-2020 academic year.

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, and has hired a sixth psychologist who will start in the summer of 2019. The newest clinician, Kelsey Moran, specializes in working with LGBTQIA+ students.

The review of the Office of Multicultural Education will include resource recommendations for this area. Next steps will be communicated by the end of the spring 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. A further update were sent to the campus community March 1, 2019.

The Provost’s Office, Student Affairs, Athletics and the Chaplain’s Office will work together this summer to develop policies and training establishing clear expectations for interactions between faculty or staff and students, on- or off-campus. New guidelines will be presented in Fall 2019.

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 by April 19, 2019. The Planning Group has submitted its recommendations, which were presented to the campus at public sessions in early May.

The College will work this summer to address the objectives set forth in the Planning Group’ report, and will create new staff positions to address the needs of the community and to work with current members of the campus community to better coordinate the work already being done.

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

The College will engage an external firm this summer to review the structure of the Title IX Office and provide best practice recommendations.

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, are coordinating this review, working with an external expert. 

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 is creating a visual representation of the process for addressing reports of sexual misconduct and a list of FAQs, both of which will be posted to the Sexual Respect and Title IX website.

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)
Going forward an annual report for each academic year will be published by July 15.

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. 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 will add a training resources section to its website in the Spring 2019 semester. These trainings will 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

The Title IX office will expand its training program to include training to each academic department during the Spring 2019 semester. The training program will include specific education on the issue of grooming and detailed information regarding the reporting responsibilities of faculty and staff.

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.

  • 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.

  • The College is evaluating external firms to review the structure and resources of the Title IX Office and offer best practice recommendations. This review will take place over the summer of 2019.

  • The College published a Title IX Q&A webpage, which seeks to address questions about the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Title IX resolution process.

  • 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.