Open Letter to Father Boroughs and the Board of Trustees

To Father Boroughs and the Board of Trustees,


As members of this Holy Cross community who are concerned with seeking justice within and beyond campus, we want to express our disappointment in the decision to keep the Crusader moniker.


We held an open discussion on Monday, February 12th to discuss the situation. During this conversation, students, faculty, and staff in attendance concluded that there were many points of concern regarding the Crusader moniker decision and the way that this decision was announced:


  1. The claim that white American Catholics can transform the meaning of the word “crusader” comes from a place of power and privilege, when the reality is that the term is embedded with an inescapably violent, destructive history.
  2. There were limited details regarding how and why the Board came to the decision of keeping the moniker.
  3. The announcement failed to adequately acknowledge that there are community members who adamantly disagree with keeping the Crusader moniker, and the decision was presented as if there was a unanimous acceptance of the Crusader as the symbol of the College.
  4. The announcement failed to recognize what this decision conveys to the highly diverse Holy Cross and Worcester communities, which consist of many Muslim and Jewish members who are offended by the moniker, and by extension the College’s decision to keep it.
  5. There is no publicized action plan or timeline regarding how the College will examine how the physical representation of the Holy Cross Crusader can change to appropriately reflect our mission.


Given the relieved and victorious tone of the announcement, it is important to follow up immediately and intentionally on how the campus will take concrete steps in redefining “crusader.”


First, change the mascot. While you define Holy Cross Crusaders as “crusaders for human rights, social justice, and care for the environment; for respect for different perspectives, cultures, traditions, and identities; and for service in the world,” the visual representation of the Holy Cross Crusader is a knight with a sword and shield. He is a symbol of religious intolerance directly tied to the violent medieval Crusades, not a person pursuing peace and justice.  Far from distancing ourselves from our Catholic and Jesuit roots, changing the mascot would allow the community to more appropriately and accurately reflect the values, ideals and call of that faith tradition.


Second, acknowledge that everyone in our community does not agree with the decision and that people may feel hurt or discouraged by the Board’s decision. The decision regarding the “Crusader” mascot and moniker has significant repercussions on our community’s identity and its relationship to the world.  The weight of this impact must be expressed clearly and kept in mind while considering future decisions regarding marketing and branding for the school.


We recognize that this decision was not simple and that there are many factors at play, given the lack of consensus among the entire Holy Cross community. We realize that the College’s ability to live its mission in meaningful ways (providing financial aid, fair salaries for employees, etc.) relies greatly on the trust, pride and support of the community as a whole. However, it is important to openly acknowledge the weight that financial pressures played upon the decision, in order to promote unity and understanding amongst the community.


Finally, we formally request that you revisit this decision to keep the moniker when the “Become More” capital campaign ends in 2020.


We look forward to continuing in thoughtful dialogue with every member of our community around what the “Holy Cross Crusaders” express to the world. Thank you for your time.



Katie Bowles ‘18

Molly Caulfield ‘18

Tori Jackson  ‘18

Ciro Aprea ‘18

Tess Andrekus ‘18

Nathan Manna ‘21

Rebecca Beaulieu ‘18

Courtney Esteves ‘19

Marcellis Perkins ‘19

Caroline Babinski ‘20

Louis Hurtado ‘19

Paulina Martin ‘21

Sarah Baker ‘18

Patricia Corey ‘18

Jennifer Sciarrino ‘18

Emma Powell ‘20

Anamika Dutta ‘20

Katarina Blonski ‘20

Manuel Trejo ‘19

Michael Ward ‘18

Fred Boehrer ‘18

Jacqueline Cannon ‘20

Adam Coshal ‘20

Adeline Gutierrez Nunez ‘19

Caroline McKinley ‘20

Kara Cuzzone ‘19

Alison Randall ‘19

Donatella Guanciale ‘20

Mia Yee ‘19

Jordana Irzyk ‘21

Marie Therese Kane ‘18

Mattie Carroll ‘19

Michael DeSantis ’18

Caitlin Daniels ‘18

Nicholas Taliento ‘21

Katherine Lenahan ‘19

Chloe Gonzales ‘20

Daniel Mendez ‘20

Ryan Fay ‘20

Emma Lynch ‘20

Maria Pishkin ‘20

Carlito Beal ‘18

Jacqueline Galvinhill ‘18

Claire Fitzpatrick ‘21

Brooke Creedon ‘20

Eleanor Oser ‘20

Rossangelly Toro Carrillo ‘19

Anna Jones ‘20

Adrian Cacho ‘19

Meredith Coolidge ‘19

Aleyra Lamarche ‘18

Hanna Ballantine ‘19

Katherine Elacqua ‘19

Lauren Inman ‘20

Olivia Cesarini ‘20

Mae-Chu O’Connell ‘19

Luke Walsh ‘19

Raphaella Mascia ‘21

Elizabeth Hallahan ‘20

Grace Burke ‘21

Emily Brown Baker ‘20

Erica Hudson ‘18

Efrain Lozano ‘19

Carly Priest ‘18

Catherine Winn ‘21

Mithra Salmassi ‘19

Teresa Murphy ‘19

Hannah Brennan ‘19

Alice Galvinhill ‘20

Mariel Aleman ‘18

Christine Morrison ‘20

Elaines Pena ‘18

Yareli Rojas ‘20

Julia Palmerino ‘18

Emily Lam ’18

Anny Thach ‘20

Emma Grugan ‘21

Yen Nguyen ‘19

Tori Blot ‘18

Sage Leimer ‘21

Laura García ‘19

Berenice Ortiz ‘18

Zain Tirmizi ‘21

Daniel Tallman ‘21

Eve Wenger ‘18

Toshanna Santos ‘18

Erica Mendoza ‘18

Caroline O’Connor ‘20

An Pham ‘18

Hannah Moore ‘18


Emily Breakell ‘17 (alumna)

Victoria Mousley ‘17 (alumna)

Keith Plummer ‘17 (alum)

Abigail Kehoe ‘17 (alumna)

Alexandra Briefs ‘17 (alumna)

Jane McGrail ‘17 (alumna)

Lauren Roberts ‘16 (alumna)

Megan Demit ‘16 (alumna)

Elizabeth Inman ‘15 (alumna)

Kristen Kelley ‘15 (alumna)

Nina Batt ‘15 (alumna)

Brian Clark ‘15 (alumnus)

Moira Garvey ‘78 (alumna)

Caitlin Powers ‘16 (alumna)

Charles Strauss ‘02 (alum)

Jillian Plummer ‘12 (alumna)

Hildie Hoeschen ‘17 (alumna)

Norman M. Cohen ‘72, Rabbi Emeritus

Scott Schaeffer-Duffy ‘80 (alumna)


Isabelle Jenkins ‘10, Associate Director, Community-Based Learning

Melissa Boyle ’00, Associate Professor of Economics

Steven Levandosky ‘92, Associate Professor of Mathematics

Edward T. O’Donnell ‘86, Associate Professor of History  

Elizabeth O’Connell-Inman ‘79, Director, Directed Independent Spanish Curriculum, Lecturer in Spanish

K.J. Rawson, Associate Professor of English

Melissa F. Weiner, Associate Professor of Sociology

Ann Marie Leshkowich, Professor of Anthropology

Todd Lewis, Professor of Religion

Danuta Bukatko, Professor of Psychology

Susan Amatangelo, Professor of Italian

Ara Francis, Associate Professor of Sociology

Stephanie Yuhl, Professor of History

Virginia Ryan, Visiting Instructor in Religious Studies

Miles Cahill, Professor of Economics

Peter Joseph Fritz, Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Caroline Johnson Hodge, Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Theresa McBride, Professor of History

Alice Laffey, Associate Professor Emerita of Religious Studies

Matthew Eggemeier, Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Robert Bellin, Professor of Biology

Alvaro Jarrin, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Tat-siong Benny Liew, Class of 1956 Professor in New Testament Studies

Anthony B. Cashman, III, Director of Distinguished Fellowships and Graduate Studies

Justin D. Poche, Associate Professor of History

Helen Freear-Papio, Director of the Foreign Language Assistants Program, Lecturer in Spanish

Maria G. Rodrigues, Director, Latin American, Latinx, and the Caribbean Studies, and Associate Professor, Political Science

Stephanie Crist, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology

Judy Powell, Spanish Academic Administrative Assistant and Foreign Language Assistant Program

Victor Matheson, Professor of Economics

Kolleen Rask, Professor of Economics

Lihua Wang, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology

Thibaut Schilt, Associate Professor of French

Alan Avery-Peck, Professor of Religious Studies

Jorge Santos, Assistant Professor of English

Bridget Franco, Associate Professor of Spanish
Nancy Baldiga, Professor of Accounting

Sam Lovett, Assistant Chaplain

Katherine Kiel, Professor of Economics

John Little, Professor of Mathematics

Rodrigo Fuentes, Assistant Professor of Spanish

Juan G. Ramos, Associate Professor of Spanish

Allegra Martin, Director of College Choirs, Music Department

Sara G. Mitchell, Associate Professor of Biology and Director of Environmental Studies

Claudia Ross, Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Jennie Germann Molz, Associate Professor of Sociology

Nikki Tantum, Digital Transgender Archive Project Coordinator

Angie Woodmansee, Assistant Director Office of Study Abroad


Categories: Opinions, Uncategorized

6 replies »

  1. Get a life, people. If this really meant that much to you, you wouldn’t be attending or working at Holy Cross. It is ridiculous to expect the school to cater to your every demand and insecurity. No one is stopping you from leaving.


  2. The patently ridiculous justification for the Trustees’ decision to retain “Crusader” is an insult to the intelligence to everyone in the HC community. It proves once again the virulently top down nature of HC.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The patently ridiculous justification for the Trustees’ decision to retain “Crusader” is an insult to the intelligence of everyone in the HC community. It proves once again the virulently top down nature of HC.


  4. Thank you to everyone who helped organize this letter! You articulated my stance exactly, and did so from a place of love and respect. May people continue to share and listen with empathy.

    Part of the reason I chose not to attend HC right out of high school, is because I could not imagine how I, who value peace, inclusivity and community, could be happy at an institution aligned with a moniker of religious aggression and intolerance. Of course, that was the rationale of an 17 year old, and I am immensely grateful to have transferred to Holy Cross in the end. Nonetheless, the symbols with which HC chooses to associate bear powerfully on the imagination of prospective students. As a high schooler deciding between two outstanding colleges, it was too easy to point to the mascot as a reason why I should not attend. I recently started a new job, and like most proud graduates, I decorated my cubicle with an HC pennant. My coworker asked how I felt being associated with a warrior of religious violence, and much like I felt at 17, I was ashamed. Mostly I was ashamed that my coworker’s perception of HC be so far from the culture of compassion and care that I associate with our school.

    Everyone has their own narrative/opinion/idea on this subject, and mine is no more important than the next person’s. I just hope people continue to share with respect and listen with compassion. To all members of the HC community, thank you for being so engaged in this topic. And always, thank you Holy Cross!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations!
    You have made the esteemed list of “Do Not Hire from Here”
    Global Manager of a very large bank


  6. You give the SJW crowd one inch and they are emboldened.

    The proper course of action would have been to keep the name and the mascot as is. You would then invite the “aggrieved” parties to transfer to an institution with a more suitable name for their athletic teams.

    But, now that you were cowed into action … this “issue” will never die until they win. I foresee a day – in the very near future – that Holy Cross will be called the Big Purple.


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