Frequently Asked Questions

Comprehensive Investigation into Faculty Sexual Misconduct

What is this investigation about?

Following reports in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years by Holy Cross students and alumni of sexual misconduct involving two College employees, the College examined and took steps to address the culture, structures and procedures that may have allowed misconduct to occur. However, some members of the community believed it was important to conduct a more comprehensive investigation that examined culture and structure and also included a review of historical accounts of faculty sexual misconduct. In May 2021, the Board of Trustees initiated a Comprehensive Investigation into Faculty Sexual Misconduct. The goal was to provide information to support “meaningful and significant evidence-based actions to improve culture, restore trust, acknowledge accountability and decrease student vulnerability as related to faculty sexual misconduct.”

Was this an independent investigation?

Yes. The investigation was conducted by Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez of Cozen O’Connor in Philadelphia. You can read more about their selection as investigators here.

Cozen was given full autonomy and independence to determine how to conduct the investigation, what materials to review, and whom to interview. The observations, findings and recommendations included in their report are their own. Cozen’s report has been shared in its entirety with the community.

What is the CIOC and what role did it play in the investigation?

In initiating the investigation, the Board also authorized a Comprehensive Investigation Oversight Committee (CIOC), comprising two trustees selected by the Board Chair, two tenured faculty members selected by the Academic Governance Council and two administrators selected by then-President Philip L. Boroughs, S.J. Understanding the need for an independent committee to oversee the investigation, the board created the CIOC and gave it oversight authority of the investigative process in accordance with the authorized scope.

Committee Members:

  • Nancy Andrews Ph.D, Associate Professor, Classics; Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
  • Nancy Baldiga Ph.D, Professor, Economics and Accounting
  • Christopher Collins, Esq. ’80, Member of the Board of Trustees; Of Counsel, Mirick O’Connell
  • Michele Murray Ph.D, Senior Vice President for Student Development and Mission, Dean of Students
  • Donna Murphy O’Brien ’77, Member of the Board of Trustees; President, Strategic Visions in Healthcare
  • Daniel Ricciardi ’06, Associate Vice President, Investments and Institutional Resources, Assistant Treasurer

The CIOC has been advised by attorney Michael E. Baughman of Troutman Pepper.

What was the scope of the investigation?

The scope of the investigation was three-fold: (1) a confidential review of facts, materials, surveys and documents related to prior investigations, committees and campus summits; (2) a review of the College’s current culture as it relates to faculty sexual misconduct, with particular focus on structural issues that might have discouraged the reporting of faculty sexual misconduct or the College from addressing predatory behavior; (3) information from survivors and individuals who were willing to provide additional context about prior incidents.

All members of the community were invited to participate in the review without restriction. Opportunities included directly contacting the investigators, attending campus or virtual group meetings with the investigators and completing the anonymous survey instrument provided to all community members.

Between January and August 2022, the investigators interviewed more than 75 students, staff, faculty and alumni on a confidential basis about issues related to faculty sexual misconduct. Twenty-one of those individuals reported experiencing sexual misconduct (including a range of conduct from verbal sexual harassment to physical sexual acts) while at the College between the 1950s and the 2010s.

The investigators were not charged with investigating whether specific acts of misconduct in fact occurred. Rather, they considered the historical accounts of abuse for the purpose of determining how those accounts might help to consider whether there were cultural, structural or organizational factors that might have contributed to faculty sexual misconduct, or more broadly, an environment where faculty sexual misconduct could occur.

What are the investigators’ recommendations?

The recommendations fall into five main categories: restorative approaches to address the harms of the past; preventive work to reduce the potential for sexual misconduct through enhanced educational programming; strengthening of institutional structures, policies, and practices to shift the conditions that may have allowed misconduct to occur; steps to foster increased reporting; and effective practices to enhance responses to reports when misconduct occurs. They also offered a sixth category of recommendations designed to ensure that the process for implementing the recommendations has the appropriate hallmarks of trust, accountability, visibility, and sustainability.

How will the College move forward with the recommendations?

The Board of Trustees, president, and CIOC are fully committed to carrying forward the work of this investigation. To do so, and given the effective collaborative model of the CIOC, President Rougeau will next appoint a representative Recommendation Implementation Committee. The committee will be charged with recommendation review and implementation, as well as regular reporting on implementation progress to him and the community. The committee’s charge and members will be detailed in the coming weeks.

Will the community have the opportunity to discuss the report with the CIOC and College leadership?

Yes. We will hold a number of meetings for this purpose including:

  • Special Town Hall meeting for all faculty and staff on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. ET in Seelos Theater or on Zoom
  • Webinar for Alumni on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on Zoom
  • Special Dean’s Forum for all students hosted by Dean Murray on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET in Hogan.
  • We will also hold a special service as a Prayer for Atonement and Healing (details will be forthcoming)

What if I can’t attend?

A recording of the presentation portion of the faculty and staff town hall will be posted publicly online after September 13.

I understand this investigation focused on reports of historical misconduct. What is Holy Cross doing for students now to address and prevent sexual misconduct today and in the future?

In recent years, the College has made meaningful investments and improvements in our work to respond to and prevent sexual misconduct. For instance, the College’s Office of Title IX and Equal Opportunity hired a new director in March 2020 and has since added full-time positions for an internal investigator and an assistant director of prevention and education. It has partnered across campus to provide comprehensive training, education and prevention; conducted a campus climate survey for students and strengthened the College’s policies and practices significantly. You can learn more on the Title IX website and in a forthcoming annual report from the office.

How can any member of the community, including alumni, report sexual misconduct to the College?

Individuals considering reporting potential sexual misconduct, discrimination, and/or discriminatory harassment have multiple options, including working with the Office of Title IX and Equal Opportunity, Holy Cross Department of Public Safety and/or Worcester Police. There are options to complete an online form (which may be done anonymously), contact the Title IX coordinator directly, or file a criminal report. More detailed information is available here.

I would benefit from speaking to someone and could use some support. What resources are available to me?

If you are in need, please avail yourself of the following resources:

For Current Students

  • Counseling Center: 508-793-3363
  • Chaplains’ Office: 508-793-3012
  • Class Deans: 508-793-2530
  • Public Safety - Routine calls - 508-793-2224; Emergencies: 508-793-2222
  • Student Affairs, Deans Irish & Murray: 508-793-2414
  • Title IX and Equal Opportunity: 508-793-3040

For Staff and Faculty

  • Employee Assistance Program (including counseling support)
  • Public Safety - Routine calls - 508-793-2224; Emergencies: 508-793-2222
  • Title IX and Equal Opportunity: 508-793-3040

For Alumni

  • Title IX and Equal Opportunity: 508-793-3040

I have a question that’s not answered here, or I want to offer feedback. What should I do?

We welcome your questions and feedback. To be in touch about the investigation or report, please email