Opinions

Alumna Shares Statement Detailing Allegations

Jaime McAllister-Grande ’99

Alumna

My name is Jaime McAllister-Grande and I’m a 1999 graduate of Holy Cross.  I was back on campus about 2 weeks ago; I spoke anonymously at a faculty meeting about my experience with the Title IX reporting process.  I now feel like it’s time for me to come forward publicly to tell my story.  

In 1997, during the spring semester of my sophomore year, I experienced what I consider boundary violating and other inappropriate behavior from one of my professors. I decided to report the behavior to my class dean, Margaret Freije. I wanted someone in power to know what was happening so Holy Cross could do something to stop it, and make things safer for students. The only action item I remember Dean Freije offering me was if I wanted to connect with another student who had recently shared with her similar concerns about that same professor.

Over the last six months I have been contacted by Holy Cross’s Title IX office and lawyers retained by Holy Cross who are investigating more recent claims against this faculty member. From the news coverage, these claims sound alarmingly similar to what I experienced.  I’ve received the mass emails to alumni from President Boroughs, publicly thanking victims for coming forward, while I know privately he has not personally reached out to most of these courageous survivors who put their careers and well being on the line because they want Holy Cross to be a safer place.

I am coming forward now because I want every student at Holy Cross to feel they are protected from misconduct. Last week, I shared a statement regarding my experience with the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.  I understand that since I shared my statement, Father Boroughs sent a letter to the community that states, in part, “The College will launch a thorough and impartial investigation into this report. The focus of the investigation will be on what was communicated to Provost Freije, and whether she has acted appropriately and responsibly in light of any claims that may have been communicated to her.” It remains unclear from this statement whether the “thorough and impartial investigation” is into my report only, or is a broader review of any and all reports to Provost Freije. 

Even if it was the latter, starting yet another investigation that only looks at a slice of the picture – my report to Provost Freije – is not enough. Such a limited investigation hinders the opportunity to draw meaningful connections – and asks survivors to recount their experiences multiple times, which is painful and upsetting. I understand that other survivors, as well as faculty and students, have asked leadership for a more global independent and transparent investigation into sexual misconduct and institutional knowledge of that misconduct to determine not only who did what but also who knew what and when. I think that conducting such an investigation, and sharing the results publicly, is the only way that Holy Cross can learn from its mistakes, gain back trust within its community and help survivors heal.

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