Take Off Your Armor! Put Down Your Swords!: Rally Behind Community

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 We do not believe that a Crusader for love or social justice is bad, but the mascot points strictly to the historical reference of slaughters.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!

9 replies »

  1. Keep the name. It is beautiful. Should be a non-issue. Stop worrying about “hurting” others “feelings”. If the name bothers some, then they should choose another school to attend. One where their tender sensitivities wouldn’t be irritated by a mascot and moniker. Seriously? I don’t know whether I should laugh or weep at the idiocy. Other cultures are working very hard to eradicate us. We should ALL be crusaders for the Roman Catholic faith.


  2. Well, in CA, some people are trying to FORCE Christian colleges to change their religious instruction to suit a certain group of people. If the school panders to ‘political correctness’ on this, I can promise you that later, it will be the name of the school, ‘Holy Cross’ that will offend someone and want that changed. I really hope the Holy Cross doesn’t compromise like Donatella Guanciale and Emma Powell think they should. The both of you are of the generation where if someone is offended, be polite and understanding. But what you both don’t understand, is it won’t end there. Look up what’s happening to Christian colleges in CA, and maybe then you will understand why I don’t want them to change the mascot name. First, it starts with a moniker, then name of school and then religious instruction.


  3. This whole thing is disgraceful! If you don’t like it pick another school to go to. Holy Cross has had this mascot for years & years & years. Im sure you knew this when you applied there AND got accepted there. Now you want to look like some kind of hero & change things that been this way for years. Seriously JUST KNOCK IT OFF or pick another school to go to.


  4. This whole thing is disgraceful! If you don’t like it pick another school to go to. Holy Cross has had this mascot for years & years & years. Im sure you knew this when you applied there AND got accepted there. Now you want to look like some kind of hero & change things that have been this way for years. Seriously JUST KNOCK IT OFF or pick another school to go to.


  5. I feel very sorry that you ladies have grown up in such a protected environment. There is so much pain and misery across the world and you sit in your insulated environment throwing out banal ideas such as “We should drop the Crusader moniker if it offends just one person”. That is not just unrealistic – it is idiotic. Grow up. The Crusades were 700 years ago and nobody except a few snowflake students and sheltered faculty care.
    I sympathize with you because when I was at HC in the 70s, I was taught many falsehoods particularly when it came to communism. The Alumni Magazine actually published an issue dedicated to extolling the virtues of Chairman Mao. Many years later I would learn the truth about the horrors that evil man inflicted on the Chinese people.
    So enjoy your remaining time at Holy Cross and I hope your are unsuccessful in your crusade ( sorry -I forgot that term is so offensive). If the college leaders bow to your political correctness I will never give another nickel to my beloved alma mater.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s