Update on the Crusader Mascot and Moniker Discussion

From: Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., President
To: Holy Cross Volunteer Leaders
Update on the Crusader mascot and moniker discussion
May 10, 2017

Dear Volunteer Leaders,

We have received some inquiries from alumni about a proposed conversation regarding the Crusader mascot and moniker. We have been responding to alumni questions individually, but I wanted to let you know my thoughts and plans in this regard. I feel it is important that you are aware of what we are thinking and able to share our plans if you are asked by your fellow classmates and Holy Cross friends.

When the Mulledy/Healy Legacy Committee submitted their report to me last June, they indicated that some members of our community, both on- and off-campus, would like us to consider the appropriateness of the "Crusader" mascot in light of our commitment to interreligious understanding. In my response to the Committee’s report, I said that the campus community would undertake such a conversation.

This semester, 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.

Separately, this semester, the editors of the student newspaper have considered whether the name of the paper, The Crusader, should be changed. Any decision the student editors make is theirs to make as the leaders of a student organization and is distinct from the conversation I have said that the College community would engage in regarding the mascot.

As you can imagine, many alumni have begun to write and call to express concern that the College has started an official process on the mascot question, or has even made a decision without getting input from the alumni community. Some have questioned whether contemplating this conversation means that we are not committed to our Jesuit and Catholic identity.

I want to assure you that our commitment to our mission as a Jesuit, Catholic liberal arts college named the College of the Holy Cross remains steadfast. We are proud of our history, traditions and identity. And in fact, I plan to begin this conversation in the fall with a thoughtful dialogue about the College’s identity, mission and values. We will then review the questions regarding the mascot through the lens of our core values and identity. I am committed to including all members of the Holy Cross community – students, faculty, alumni, parents and friends of the College – in the discussion. While we do not yet have a process established, we are looking into a variety of ways to provide all members of our community the opportunity to engage and participate in the conversation in an effective, manageable way.

I appreciate that May and June are particularly critical times for the work you do for the College. Thank you for your continued partnership and your commitment to helping us provide a transformative educational experience for our students.

I look forward to working with you, and I promise to keep you updated with our plans regarding this subject.


Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.