From: Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., President
To: Holy Cross Campus Community
July 9, 2019
Dear Members of the Holy Cross Community,
Last August, I informed you that we had learned of allegations of serious misconduct against artist in residence and organ instructor James David Christie. Despite his submitting his resignation, we immediately placed Mr. Christie on administrative leave, banned him from campus and from contacting members of our community, and commenced an investigation which we committed to seeing through to completion regardless of Mr. Christie’s employment status.
I write today to let you know that Mr. Christie has been found responsible for multiple violations of the College’s prohibitions on sexual harassment and misconduct based upon the information gathered during the investigation. Mr. Christie declined to participate in the investigations or the adjudication process. These findings represent a serious violation of our standards for conduct and a grave abuse of Mr. Christie’s position at the College. This behavior stands in stark contrast to our values, our commitment to the safety and well-being of our students, and our mission of building a respectful community.
I want to thank the individuals who came forward and shared their stories with us. We are grateful for the participation and patience of those involved in the lengthy process as the College sought to conduct thorough investigations with commitment and integrity. Their courage is commendable and has already had a positive impact on our community, prompting us to initiate a separate external review of our culture, structure and procedures to prevent future misconduct.
I am deeply sorry for what our alumni experienced. It is simply unacceptable that anyone would experience this kind of behavior at Holy Cross. While we cannot undo past behavior, we are committed to supporting our brave alumni who came forward and to aiding in their healing. I look forward to meeting with these alumni to share my personal gratitude and support and to listen to their feedback and ideas regarding our culture and processes.
Absent special circumstances, the College limits the information it shares regarding Title IX investigations as we must respect privacy concerns and various legal requirements. The scope and impact of the violations found through this investigation process give rise to a unique situation where I believe that it is important to share information regarding the outcome of the investigation and steps that we have taken to prevent future misconduct.
Mr. Christie will be subject to a number of sanctions based on the findings in the investigation. He remains subject to a no trespass order and is not permitted to be on any properties owned or leased by the College for any purpose or to participate in any events sponsored by the College. Any awards or honors issued to Mr. Christie by the College will be revoked. His employment record will reflect that he was deemed terminated for findings of multiple violations of College sexual harassment and misconduct policies. The College will release this information in response to anyone seeking employment verification or references for Mr. Christie in connection with his future employment. Further, we will notify any organizations and institutions referenced in the investigation reports of any reported allegations as they relate to those institutions and organizations.
In addition to issuing the sanctions, the College is taking the following steps:
- The College is developing new policies to establish clear and appropriate expectations for interactions between faculty or staff and students, on and off campus.
- We will require additional mandatory training on the sexual misconduct policy for all employees.
- An initial training on maintaining professional boundaries was conducted by Praesidium in May 2019 for College faculty and staff. Additional sessions will be held in September 2019. Participation in this training is mandatory.
- The College will conduct additional training for students on the sexual misconduct policy and their rights, options and resources. The College will also conduct a training regarding appropriate boundaries and recognizing potential grooming behavior.
- The Provost’s Office will establish new methods for students to provide feedback on music lessons and lesson instructors.
- The Provost’s Office will, in consultation with current and former Organ Scholars and Brooks Music Scholars who desire to participate, establish clear written guidelines for the selection process for Organ Scholars and Brooks Music Scholars and for the expectations for Organ Scholars and Brooks Music Scholars, including expected participation in ensembles, music lessons or events sponsored by the music department.
This is only the beginning of our efforts. We are committed to taking the necessary steps to address these crucial issues. We recognize the tremendous task ahead and pledge to work together with our community members to implement effective measures to prevent future misconduct on our campus.
Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.