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Crusader Working Group and Conversation

From: Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., President
To: Holy Cross Community
September 28, 2017


Dear Members of the Holy Cross Community,

At the end of last semester I said that we would be undertaking a conversation about the Crusader moniker and mascot this fall. As you may remember, the question of the appropriateness of the Crusader name and mascot was raised in the 2016 report by the Mulledy Healy Legacy Committee, which was charged with coordinating and summarizing a discussion about the name of Mulledy Hall in light of Fr. Mulledy’s ties to slavery. We will be moving forward with this discussion over the next few months, and I wanted to let you know how we will be approaching the process.

To facilitate our dialogue, I have convened a working group of alumni, faculty, staff and students to design and implement a process that engages the Holy Cross community, both on campus and from afar, in a discussion about 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?

I have asked Dan Kim, Vice President for Communications to chair this working group. The full list of members is below.

  • Dan Kim, Vice President for Communications, Chair
  • Tess Andrekus ’18, Officer of Diversity, Student Government Association
  • Brian Duggan ’96, President of the Holy Cross Alumni Association and member of Board of Trustees
  • Kristyn Dyer ’94, Director of Alumni Relations
  • Rev. Paul Harman, S.J., Director of Special Projects in Mission
  • Ed O’Donnell ‘86, Professor, History
  • Marcellis Perkins ’19, member of the Men’s Basketball team
  • Rose Shea ‘87, Associate Director of Athletics
  • Brenda Hounsell Sullivan, Director of Office of Student Involvement, Assistant Dean

I have charged the group with creating opportunities for students and families, faculty, staff and alumni to participate in the dialogue. The working group will then create a report and summary of findings to be reviewed by the Board of Trustees at the February board meeting. The working group will not be making a recommendation or suggesting any particular course of action.

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. We look forward to conducting a thorough, inclusive dialogue that invites participation by all members of our community.

The working group has developed an online submission form for comments, which I encourage you all to utilize. The working group will also schedule two or more live discussion sessions for the College community this semester. A webpage has been set up to provide background and direction for submitting comments. After receiving all of this input, the working group will submit its report to me in January. I will present the summary report and all of the comments to the Board at its February meeting, and anticipate that we will come to a conclusion at that time about the use of the moniker and mascot. If further action is required, the Board will decide next steps.

I am looking forward to a thoughtful and engaged discussion and am confident that the Board will carefully reflect upon the information presented and thoughtfully discern the question before them when they meet in February.

Sincerely,

Boroughs

Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.
President