Message from the Oversight Committee

Dear Members of the Holy Cross Community:

When we began our service a year ago as the committee charged with oversight of the Comprehensive Investigation into Faculty Sexual Misconduct, we did so with a deeply held commitment to this work, understanding the need to more fully reckon with the past. It was only through such effort, we knew, that our community could heal and make meaningful, lasting changes in culture.

As the Board of Trustees made clear in our charge, this goal demanded an investigation whose scope was clear and whose process was thorough, rigorous and wholly independent. It also called for investigators with extensive professional expertise and integrity, who grounded their work in a values-based approach. We found those investigators in the extraordinary team of Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez of Cozen O’Connor’s Institutional Response Group. Later today, Cozen O’Connor’s full report and recommendations will be shared with the Holy Cross community in a message from President Vincent Rougeau and Board of Trustees Chair Helen W. Boucher ’86.

As the final report of the investigation is shared, we express our appreciation to the many alumni who shared deeply personal experiences and insights with Cozen O’Connor. At the center of the investigation were more than 75 interviews with students, staff, faculty and alumni, among them survivors of sexual and gender-based harassment or violence involving College faculty. The survivors’ courage enabled this work, and their voices are critical not only in looking back, but also in moving us forward. As a committee, we have been humbled to listen, to reflect and to learn from the sobering accounts and narratives shared through this process. We have had the grace of time and space to receive these accounts over the course of the investigation, to identify the lessons learned and to reinforce our commitment to help prevent future harm. As alumni, as administrators and as trustees, we have moved together through a multitude of emotions - from anger to sadness to frustration to grief, and ultimately, to hope. Above all, we want our survivors to know: We see you, and we hear you. Your experiences have been and will remain at the center of our work.

We also express appreciation to the Cozen O’Connor team, who explored whether and how cultural, structural and organizational factors may have contributed to an environment in which faculty sexual misconduct could occur. The investigators were not tasked with making factual determinations regarding historic incidents. Rather, they conducted their review with the goal of providing information to support recommendations to build on the significant steps the College has taken over the past four years.

Ms. Maisto Smith and Ms. Gomez note in their report that they were given full autonomy and independence to determine how to conduct the investigation, what materials to review and whom to interview. As the representatives of the College who oversaw the investigation, we affirm that their observations, findings and recommendations are their own.

It was important to us and to the investigation team that all members of the community be 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.

As committee members, we are grateful to all who participated in this important work. We thank the Board and administration for the trust they showed in empowering us to oversee this investigation. We extend our gratitude to the Cozen O’Connor team for producing a report that provides a comprehensive picture of the issues surrounding faculty sexual misconduct and offers specific recommendations for what we as a community can next do to further strengthen protections and address cultural concerns.

While many within the community have been deeply engaged with the issues examined in the investigation, others have little or no background information. Moving forward will require all of us to work together in the spirit of collaboration and trust. To that end, we hope all will read the report and recommendations in full, and we look forward to opportunities in the coming days to engage in conversation about them at the various meetings that have been announced for community members.

If you have further questions or feedback for us, you may also submit it via the CIOC email address (, which will remain active through a transition of this work to a Recommendation Implementation Committee.


The Comprehensive Investigation Oversight Committee
Nancy Andrews Ph.D, Associate Professor, Classics; Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
Nancy Baldiga, CPA, 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