Press Release Regarding the Name Change


Contact: crusader@g.holycross.edu, or jfgoda18@g.holycross.edu

WORCESTER, Mass. – The editorial staff of College of the Holy Cross’ 93-year-old student newspaper announced Friday that it will begin publishing under a new name.

The first edition of The Spire—an homage to the distinctive spires of Fenwick Hall, Holy Cross’ main building, oldest structure, and the center of campus—will be published Feb. 9. The editors announced the decision this morning, in the final edition of The Crusader.  

The decision comes after much deliberation, dating back to last year’s editorial board, and is the result of a long process conducted with the intention of making sure the student paper best represents the Holy Cross community and its tradition. This will be the second name change in the paper’s history, with the first coming in 1955, when the name was changed from The Tomahawk to The Crusader.

It should be noted that this decision was made independent of the college administration, and with no knowledge of what the Board of Trustees will decide in their upcoming meeting on the Crusader mascot and moniker this Saturday. The editors said they did not wish to make any recommendation to the Board about its decision.

The decision was announced to the campus Friday, with twin editorials announcing the end of The Crusader and explaining the rationale behind the new name.

“Holy Cross’ crusader, as a motif and concept, has been synonymous with the school since 1925, when it was adopted as its official symbol. Men and women have been proud to call themselves Holy Cross Crusaders for nearly a century. The decision to break with that tradition, then, was not taken lightly or hastily,” the editorial stated.


At the same time, they rejected the suggestion that the paper’s name should be changed because it was shared by a publication of the Klu Klux Klan. Instead, they said the decision was based on the association with the violence of the Crusades.

“No matter how long ago the Crusades took place, this paper does not wish to be associated with the massacres (i.e. burning synagogues with innocent men, women, and children inside) and conquest that took place therein.”

The editorial board’s examination of the newspaper’s name was prompted by a letter, signed by nearly 50 faculty members, which was submitted to the managing editors of The Crusader one year ago. The previous editorial board published it and duly initiated a process to evaluate the name of the campus newspaper. That process included a public discussion in Rehm Library and the paper’s partnership with the college’s lecture series on the Crusades and the Crusader image. Under the current editorial leadership, The Crusader has published opinions from all sides and received and considered plenty of private correspondence on the matter.

In announcing the change to The Spire, the editors said it was important to them to choose a name that carried the weight of history, given the Crusader’s place in Holy Cross tradition. In 1843, Bishop Fenwick of Boston founded the College of the Holy Cross. That same year, the cornerstone for Fenwick Hall was laid. The original Fenwick Hall was a Greek Revival building much like the current one, but with only one spire. In 1852, a fire burnt Fenwick Hall to the ground, leaving the future of Holy Cross in doubt. However, through persistence and resilience, Fenwick was rebuilt and Holy Cross developed into the treasured institution that it is today, the spires of Fenwick Hall standing tall all the while.

“Every student at Holy Cross has stepped into Fenwick at one point or another, and the spires of Fenwick stand tall and proud on Mount St. James for all to see,” they wrote. “They are an iconic feature of Holy Cross and are an architectural hallmark of the campus. Thus, The Spire is an incredibly appropriate name for our newspaper.”


The Spire is the official student newspaper of the College of the Holy Cross. Previously named The Crusader, the Spire covers the news, opinions, culture and sports, and is one  of the premier student-run publications at Holy Cross.

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26 replies »

  1. No Crusader no donations. This attitude and secularism soon we’ll be calling the College in Worcester. The Cross will be gone


  2. This is not Political Correctness. It is Historical Correctness. Too tough a distinction for you to grasp?


  3. Well, if it makes the staff of the Spire sleep better, go ahead. It’s only a newspaper…not the end of the world. I don’t see, however, why anyone would stop donating to the College even if the official moniker and/or mascot were dumped.


  4. Disappointed. We can’t erase history, but learn from it. If we sanitize it, we learn nothing. The Crusades and case against the crusades remain a serious debate for historians. But if the Huff post is the arbiter, the decision is in.
    “Crusader” remains a neutral word to me, and I embrace it as a force for good. I am unashamed and thankful for Western Civilization and it wasn’t always pretty. I will say that The Spire is a good sounding brand, (endearing for all of us that love Fenwick Hall) but lacks the active voice of The Crusader. Graduates of Holy Cross (the College of. . .) have a
    fine voice in the world. May it not be diminished by revision.
    My 1970 Holy Cross Ring is for sale for the price of lunch to any current HC student that likes the logo and tradition. Contact my class chair.
    I remain in good humor.


  5. My statement clearly says to any current HC student who likes our logo and tradition for the price of lunch. That speaks to someone who will carry it forward regardless of what this unfortunate decision about the The Crusader paper is.



  6. Jim, I’m a fellow ’70 grad and my class ring was stolen around 1975. What’s your ring size?

    Lou Reiss, ’70
    Germantown TN


  7. “Crossmen”
    “the Cross”
    Logo: Stylized depiction of man and woman standing side by side. Behind and in the middle, a large plain cross (for simplicity, not a crucifix) taller than the man and woman.
    Impression: Great emphasis on THE CROSS.


  8. Gee, I guess that I will really need to stop watching movies with the “Caped Crusader,” since according to the student newspaper at Holy Cross there is only one historically-valid meaning to the word “Crusader.” I never realized that Batman participated in “massacres (i.e. burning synagogues with innocent men, women, and children inside) and conquest that took place therein.” My bad.

    Seriously, this is the height of idiocy. If this editorial represents the standards used to select individuals to run the student newspaper at Holy Cross, then the college is not doing sufficient vetting of those selected into that role.


  9. Use of the moniker “Crusader” along with the image of a knight and sword unambiguously refers to the European Christian wars in the Holy Land in the 11th-13th centuries. You may be the only person in all mankind who made the leap to Batman.


  10. To the staff of the “Spire” –

    I am deeply embarrassed and upset by this inane, self-righteous decision on the part of the Crusader co-editors and newspaper staff. If any organization on campus should be aware of, and acutely aware of the dangers of practicing “presentism”, it would (and should) be this group.

    Sadly, it appears that making a politically correct statement was first and foremost on your agenda and took precedence over any sound reasoning and honest intent. Your disingenuous rationale for changing the paper’s name is specious at best and would never stand up to the scrutiny of an honest independent debate.

    It’s unimaginable to me that any student going through the vigorous Jesuit-oriented educational experience at Holy Cross could have supported such a frivolous outcome. I’m quite confident that there are many other alumni who will react in a similar manner.

    Deacon Daniel Romanello, KM
    Class of 1975


  11. To the Editors and Staff of the “Spire”

    In follow-up to my prior message, I neglected to include the following commentary.

    As a Roman Catholic Permanent Deacon and Knight of the Order of Malta, my retirement life is dedicated to serving the poor, sick and socially marginalized. I am active in many different ministries, including a multi-denominational coalition – Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc. – who all collaborate wonderfully together in love and peace.

    Before weighing in on the Crusader mascot issue with the Board of Trustees, I conferred with six of my closest Muslim friends. To a one, they all were of the opinion that the matter was much ado about nothing and were incredulous that the subject even was being entertained. As Ahmad said to me, “when we refer back to the past, nothing good can happen”.

    Your collective self-serving perspective of the truth is a disservice to both the College and all that it stands for. “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”.

    As a result, I request the opportunity to meet on-campus with the editors and staff of the newspaper as soon as possible to discuss the above.

    Please let me a convenient date and time for us to meet.


    Deacon Dan Romanello, KM
    Class of 1975


  12. Dan- Radical Muslim, in their mass media pronouncements, routinely refer to Westeners as “crusaders.” While that is not the reason I support replacing our Crusader, your six Muslim friends may not be representative of many Muslims.


  13. Michael –

    Point well-taken…but are we attempting to placate radical Muslims or any other radical sect for that matter? I submit that it is indeed only radicals who would be offended by the Crusader newspaper appellation.

    Where and when do we draw the line at bowing to the altar of political correctness? Should BC change its Eagle mascot/school identity since this animal was the most potent symbol of the oppressive, greedy and blood-thirty Roman Empire? Should MIT no longer be known as the Engineers since such professionals design weapons of mass destruction?
    Should German no later be taught in schools since it’s the language that Hitler used to whip up his country in to a nationalistic frenzy and perpetrate unspeakable atrocities against Jews, homosexuals and other “undesirables”?

    Where does it end? Employing the logic above, perhaps it’s time to change alma mater’s motto – In Hoc Signo Vinces.

    On another note, if the intent truly is honor the iconic campus building, then the new name of the school newspaper should be The Spires.



  14. My support of the name change is NOT based on the fact that it offends anyone. In other words, it is NOT based on Political Correctness. It is based on HISTORICAL CORRECTNESS. That is, the name “crusader” and logo of a knight with sword unavoidably is a reference to the Crusades by European Christians in the Middle East in past centuries. That is an unfortunate chapter in the history of Christianity, as is generally acknowledged. So why should HC attached itself to that unhappy chapter and remind anyone of the serious abuses committed in the name of Christianity. In other words, my concern is NOT aimed at Muslims. Perhaps it is Christians instead who need to be reminded that the Crusades are nothing to be proud of…….something HC should not be proud of. The argument that HC’s “Crusaders” do not evoke the historical Crusades is preposterous.


  15. Michael –

    Thanks for your response.

    I am a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Saint John Of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (SMOM), the oldest continuous order of chivalry in the world – the Knights Templars emulated us. Since my order participated in the Crusades, I am well aware of the history that you cite.

    That said, the Crusades clearly were two-sided affairs – Muslims slaughtered untold numbers of innocents – “infidels” – as well in the name of their religion.

    As I previously pointed out, presentism is a dangerous practice. Today SMOM – a lay Roman Catholic apostolate – serves the poor, suffering and socially marginalized around the world without regard to race, religion, nationality, etc. As one example, the order planned, financed, built and runs Holy Family in Bethlehem, the largest neonatal hospital in the Middle East – the institution’s patients are almost without exception Jews and Muslims. SMOM also funds and runs global international disaster relief (Malteser International); ambulance corps in both Ireland and Germany; and literally thousands of other ministries that do the corporal works of mercy for one and all. Millions of dollars are raised annually and donated to good works.

    As an order, we too disdain the dark reality of the Crusades. Knights and Dames of Malta never think of themselves within the historical context of the word “crusader” but rather as modern champions for social justice and human equality.

    A balanced view needs to taken set within the context of present reality. If we as a society were to jettison the use of every word that had negative connotations at one time or another, the English language would be reduced beyond recognition.



  16. This issue is not about the wonderful work done by the Knights of Malta and other such organizations today. Unfortunately, I would dare say that, among the general population today, this good work is virtually unknown. At the same time, among the general population, there are vastly more persons who know of the regrettable actions perpetrated by Christians in the Crusades. This latter group is the audience who is aware of HC’s association with a bad episode in the history of Christianity. You, as a Knight yourself, cannot be a typical member of the general population as regards this issue.


  17. Michael –

    Thanks once again for your thoughtful response.

    Your own words confirmed my perspective – “Unfortunately, I would dare say that, among the general population today, this good work is virtually unknown”.

    It behooved the staff of the Spire to act responsibly and develop a 360 degree view before making a final determination in this matter. I’m pretty confident that these individuals knew nothing of the Order of Malta and its works but should have since it’s the only remaining order of chivalry that participated in the Crusades. Their “considered decision” most likely lacked an appropriate level of due diligence.

    Balance of thought, action and intention for the good of all rather than the service of a special interest group(s) is a necessary formula for making such important decisions. The staff of the Spire has created the real possibility for serious division among the Holy Cross community that could result in unintended consequences such as a diminution in financial donations. This type of reaction on the part of donors wouldn’t be based upon the result of their deliberation but rather the apparent lack of intellectual rigor and integrity in coming to this conclusion. The latter is a hallmark of the Holy Cross educational tradition.

    I have yet to hear back from the co-editors and staff at the Spire regarding my request to meet in person to discuss this issue. Their ongoing failure to do so would speak volumes. But if they should accede to my request, I would encourage you to personally take part in this discussion in person and/or by Skype.

    As this point, I believe that we have exhausted our points of debate. Hopefully we will have the change to re-engage in further dialogue with the Spire team.

    In the meantime, below is a link that provides another historical view of the Crusades. http://www.history.com/news/why-muslims-see-the-crusades-so-differently-from-christians.




  18. Thank you to Deacon Romanello for your thoughtful responses on the issue and I do thank Michael Falivena for expressing his strong felt point of view. Civil discourse is very important, and I appreciate Deacon Romanello’s posts to be without tone violations to be the high road that we need in the debate. I hope that a dialogue with the Spire will happen.


  19. Jim –

    Thanks very much for your input.

    Ironically, I mistakenly left out the word Hospitaller from the title of my order. It should have read The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta.

    For those unfamiliar with the term, the definition of a hospitaller is an individual – especially a member of certain religious orders – dedicated to hospital work, ambulance services, and all other acts of mercy required to voluntarily care for the needs of the sick and the poor.


    Deacon Dan


  20. At the early Mass today, Ash Wednesday, I received ashes and the blesssing at Gesu Church on the Marquette University Campus near the law school where my grandfather, father and I had graduated. I have unabashedly gone about my public business today with a smudged forehead, even in that bastion of secularism, the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

    Not too many years ago, the Marquette U basketball players were known as the “Warriors”, a 1950’s name change related to the Braves comming to Milwaukee from Boston. Many years after the Braves left for Atlanta, the deemed offensive “Warriors” moniker was sacked and replaced with the soaring high impressionistic “Golden Eagles”. I have doubts that the name change had any direct impact on the basketball win/loss results.

    Had the newspaper been named “The Spires” from the beginning there would be no issue. The discussion is good from all angles. I make my living arguing the facts, the law and the equities of disagreements.

    The Medieval Crusades do not define “Crusader”. Crusade is defined in Burton’s Legal Thesaurus as an activity, campaign, operation, quest, venture…. In my mind, Crusader personified a person willing to fight for a just cause.

    The student newspaper can call itself whatever it wants to in good taste and with a school history going back to 1843.

    I am pleased that the Trustees sided with the majority on the school moniker remaining unchanged.


  21. David- The audience for HC’s moniker is the general population. If you polled the general population as to what a knight brandishing a sword and the moniker “Crusader” refers I dare say that 95% of the respondents would answer that the reference is to the Crusades of the 12th-13th centuries in Europe NOT to “a person willing to fight for a just cause.” The basis for your (and the Trustees’) argument, i.e., the argument that HC’s brand refers to the generic meaning of “Crusader” is blatantly absurd. I’m angry that the Trustees would expect us to be so stupid as to swallow such a preposterous justification.


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