Kate McLaughlin ‘21
On January 20, Dean Michele Murray, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, sent an email to the Holy Cross student body in which she outlined her plan to enact a series of new opportunities for students to voice their concerns, offer suggestions, or simply stop by to chat about campus life.
Dean Murray’s plan includes both weekly office hours and a monthly Dean’s Forum. Her office hours will be held on Wednesdays from 12:30-1:30 pm in Cool Beans, and will provide Holy Cross students with the opportunity to meet with the dean one-on-one or in small groups.
The Dean’s Forum, designed for larger groups, will allow students to engage in a broader dialogue about the substantive issues related to life on the Hill. The first Forum took place on January 31, and subsequent Forums will be held on February 21, March 28, April 18, and May 9 from 4:00-5:00 pm in Hogan 519.
In the email, Murray wrote that all that transpired on campus last semester has caused many at Holy Cross to ask, “What is my role in creating a campus community that welcomes and honors all of its members?” An October 27 police report detailed an alleged hate crime against an LGBTQ+ student. Two weeks later, a letter penned by English Professor Leah Hager Cohen entitled “A Response to Your Call” demanded that the College halt business-as-usual, and, instead, hold teach-ins, vigils, and community conversations to demonstrate solidarity with those affected and search for solutions. The letter was signed by more than 1,000 members of the campus community and delivered to the office of Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president on November 8. On November 16, all classes, sports practices, and club events were cancelled for the ENGAGE Summit, which was organized to address issues with respect and inclusion on campus and consisted of workshops and performances led by both professors and students.
Following the alleged hate crime in October, Dean Murray wrote in an email to the campus community: “At Holy Cross we pride ourselves on the strength of our community where each one of us is valued for who we are and the gifts we bring. Demand of one another that we actively build the community we desire. There is no place for bigotry or violence at Holy Cross.”
Ajah Eills ‘21 said of the new office hours: “I am glad that the College is becoming more proactive about providing opportunities to hear from students, but this expanded willingness to listen only matters if the College actually uses the input to make meaningful change.”
Dean Murray has worked at Holy Cross since 2017. Students with questions about her weekly office hours or the Dean’s Forum should contact Dean Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org.