By Donatella Guanciale ‘20 and Emma Powell ‘20
We sat down in the very first row of Brooks Concert Hall. It was daunting, but also exciting to see so many alumni, friends of the community, college staff, professors and fellow students sitting in one place. It was clear that we were all united by the fact that we love this school!
We do not wish to argue that any one person loves Holy Cross more, but as present students on this campus we would like to offer our thoughts within the ongoing conversation about changing the Holy Cross Crusader mascot and moniker. Both of us had difficulty speaking at the discussion, yet we desire to vocalize our post-discussion thoughts and conversation that developed over Kimball mashed potatoes.
What was perhaps the most difficult point made by our community was how to distinguish the word “Crusader” from the historical “Crusader” who slaughtered non-Christians in the name of Christ. We do not believe that a Crusader for love or social justice is bad, but the mascot points strictly to the historical reference of slaughters. To change the mascot without changing the moniker seems difficult, as we want a mascot that can actually rally us at sporting events and in other contexts. However, the Georgetown Hoyas have “Jack the Bulldog,” so their name and mascot are distinct, yet recognizable. As it stands now, the Crusader symbol is used sparingly across campus. It would be great if we had a mascot that was fun and widely used, like the Ohio State Buckeyes or the Boston University Boston Terriers. Not only would the mascot make for good school swag, but it could potentially be popularized. A fresh start may seem to us like the only option, but surely one of our many creative minds can figure out a better compromise. One option is to keep the name “Crusader” in other places. There is no reason to rid our history of the Crusader, and it is important to keep a record in our histories of this controversial symbol, word, and name. Perhaps create a Holy Cross Memorabilia museum? The answer is not set in stone. Ideological destruction of artifacts leads only to repetition of mistakes in human history, so that is not what we are suggesting.
Many of those in favor of keeping the name and mascot spoke of the strong legacy and tradition held at Holy Cross. They reminisced about the fond memories of the years they spent at Holy Cross as students and with members of their families. But what was so important to notice in most of these stories was the experiences and collection of feelings that they conveyed. They were surrounded by the love and power of our Holy Cross community. People meeting at Holy Cross is what kindled a strong love for the school, not some knight on a horse. They were united in a community which led to years filled with fun and spirit and joy because of those amazing people who left a legacy on their hearts. However, what many failed to notice is that within the present Holy Cross community there is not a shared unity amongst ALL of us. While some have no issues with the Crusader, many feel tension or take offense with it. Why would we not consider changing something that takes away from the experience of our community, even if is just a single person who takes issue? We should want to spread the ability to love and appreciate our time at Holy Cross because of the people we are with, not because of the symbol we wear on our jerseys. All members of the Holy Cross community, past or present, should be united under one symbol, not separated. If the mascot prohibits people from feeling like they belong or they are not loved within this community, change it.
We mostly feel deeply that we are united by each other and our experiences, not by a symbol. We hope our fellow community thinkers continue to join in the conversation about the Crusader moniker and mascot because an exchange of ideas unites us in itself! We can continue to build and develop with each other. We invite you to engage with what we have said here and offer your own thoughts!