Crusader Moniker and Mascot

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Board of Trustees Decision Regarding Crusader

The College of the Holy Cross will continue to be known as the Crusaders, the Board of Trustees decided Saturday following months of discussion and discernment. Read the message from President Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J. and Board Chair John J. Mahoney regarding the decision. More information »


College of the Holy Cross president Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J. has convened a working group to coordinate a discussion this fall regarding the appropriateness of the Crusader moniker and mascot for the College. The group, which consists of students, alumni, faculty and staff, is charged with creating opportunities for the College community to participate in dialogue and provide input on the following question:

In what ways do you think the Crusader moniker and mascot are appropriate, or inappropriate, representations of the College, given our mission, values and identity?  

For our purposes, “moniker” is the name or the word, “Crusader.” When we refer to the “mascot,” we are referring to the visual representations of the character (the knight with the shield and sword), either graphically or as a live character.

The working group has developed an online comment form (see below). Members and friends of the Holy Cross community are encouraged to use the form to weigh in on the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the Crusader moniker and mascot. 

The working group will also be coordinating at least 2 campus events to further the dialogue. Dates and times will be announced in the coming weeks.

Your participation at the events and/or by providing comments, is very important to the College. No decisions have been made, and a full range of options are possible. We encourage you to be thoughtful and creative as you engage in the discussion.  

The working group will present all of the comments, along with a summary of findings to Fr. Boroughs and the Board of Trustees in January. The working group will not be making a recommendation to the Board or suggesting any particular course of action. The working group will limit its work to creating opportunities for the community to share their insights on the question, gathering the comments, and then sharing the full text of the comments along with a summary to the Board. 

It is anticipated that the Board of Trustees will make a decision about this subject at its February meeting. 

Background and Resources  

The question of the appropriateness of Crusader name and mascot was raised in 2016 in the report compiled by the committee charged with coordinating and summarizing a discussion about the name of Mulledy Hall. The hall was named in memory of College founder Rev. Thomas F. Mulledy, S.J., whose ties to slavery had prompted consideration of renaming the building. Ultimately, Fr. Boroughs recommended to the Board of Trustees that it rename the residence hall Brooks-Mulledy, thereby preserving Fr. Mulledy’s role in College history while adding the name of former president Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J., whose legacy points to his dedication to increase the College’s diversity.

The Crusader name is an undeniable part of Holy Cross’ history. It has been in use since 1920, when the College first used it in reference to the athletic teams. Since then, students have adopted the name for their own clubs and organizations, even in representing our community as ‘Sader Nation. And, unlike many mascots, the Crusader has a direct link to our religious identity.  At the same time, we acknowledge our responsibility to thoughtfully examine the sensitivities and implications this name may bear in light of the Crusades. Last spring, as a way of educating the campus community on the meaning of “Crusader” in history and providing a shared foundation of understanding about the Crusades, the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture hosted a lecture and a panel discussion. You may view a video recording of the lecture here and the panel discussion here.

Since we are asking members of the Holy Cross community to weigh in on the appropriateness of the Crusader moniker and mascot in light of the mission, values and identity of the College, it may be useful to review the College mission statement, which can be found here.

Your Comments and Insights 

In addition to gathering community input at the campus events, alumni, faculty, staff, students and other members of the Holy Cross community are encouraged to use the online comment form. This is the primary way to let the Board of Trustees know your thoughts about the ways in which the Crusader moniker and mascot are appropriate and inappropriate, given our mission, values and identity. 

When you click on the link below, you will access the comment form. Please use the form to submit only one response. Duplicate comments will be discarded. (If you sent an email or letter to the College about this subject earlier in the year, you do not need to use this form. Your comments will be shared with the Board of Trustees and will be part of the summary). 

The Board will receive the full text of all responses, including names. While responses are not anonymous, the summary report to the Board and any information published about the summary will not include any names.  

In order to provide plenty of time for all members of the Holy Cross community to weigh in, we will be accepting comments for over 8 weeks — from now until November 26, 2017. 

  • The comment period is now closed.

Next Steps

The full text of all comments received, along with a summary of the comments will be presented to Fr. Boroughs by January 26, 2018, and then to the Board of Trustees. The working group will limit itself to presenting the summary and the comments; it will not be recommending any particular course of action. 

The Board of Trustees will make a decision about this issue at its February 3 meeting. If further action is required, the Board will decide next steps.