Board of Trustees Decision Regarding Crusader

Below is a message from Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., President, and John J. Mahoney ‘73, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

February 3, 2018

Dear Members of the Holy Cross Community,

Today our Board of Trustees engaged in an important and robust conversation about the appropriateness of our Crusader mascot and moniker. Our exchange was the culmination of a discussion we as a community have been undertaking for several months. Many of you participated in this discussion through submitting thoughtful and informed feedback via our website, letters, and emails or through campus listening sessions. Thank you for your input; it was immeasurably helpful in informing our deliberation.

After a process of individual discernment over the past three weeks and then thorough group discussion this morning, the members of the Board reaffirmed that we at Holy Cross will continue to be known as the Crusaders. 

In 1925, our students chose the moniker “Crusader” to represent them. The literal definition of the word, “one who is marked by the cross of Christ,” was appropriate for our institution’s Jesuit and Catholic intellectual and spiritual tradition. Our students, faculty, staff, and alumni have continued in that tradition, and through their work and lives have defined what it means to be a Holy Cross Crusader: We are crusaders for human rights, social justice, and care for the environment; for respect for different perspectives, cultures, traditions, and identities; and for service in the world, especially to the underserved and vulnerable. We engage in dialogue between faith and reason and uphold the importance of reflective learning, critical thinking, thoughtful analysis and holistic education that encompasses the health of body, mind and spirit. With a rigorous Catholic and Jesuit liberal arts education, we prepare our students to make a difference in the world.

While we acknowledge that the Crusades were among the darkest periods in Church history, we choose to associate ourselves with the modern definition of the word crusader, one which is representative of our Catholic, Jesuit identity and our mission and values as an institution and community. We are not simply crusaders, we are Holy Cross Crusaders. 

With this in mind, the Board also has asked the College administration to take this opportunity to assess how the visual representation of a Holy Cross Crusader can best align with this definition.

As many of you know, earlier this week the editors of the student newspaper made their own decision regarding the name Crusader, choosing to move away from it in favor of a new name. It is important to note that the student newspaper is editorially independent of the College, and that their decision-making process was completely separate from the Board’s. In engaging in their own process of research and dialogue, these students have demonstrated a commitment to the kind of self-reflection and critical thinking we seek to nurture here at Holy Cross, and they have made a difficult decision with thoughtfulness and purpose.

We put together the video above so that you could learn more about the Board’s decision and rationale.

Thank you all for your thoughtful engagement in this process and your support as we move forward as a community. 


John Mahoney, Chair of the Board of Trustees 
Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., President