Demand transparency and accountability for sexual misconduct at Holy Cross

Demand transparency and accountability for sexual misconduct at Holy Cross

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Holy Cross Truth started this petition to The Holy Cross Board of Trustees

Allegations of sexual misconduct have shaken College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts in the past year, beginning with five alumni coming forward against former college organist James David Christie, and continuing with allegations concerning Philosophy professor and former Dean of Faculty Christopher Dustin. These allegations span decades of alleged misconduct.

These revelations led to unprecedented outrage in the student body, including an anonymous Instagram account publishing stories of campus sexual assault on Instagram, a letter demanding answers and improvements, and a days-long sit-in outside of the President’s office demanding accountability, reform, and answers.

Although Holy Cross has launched many investigations of individual cases and abusers, and has engaged multiple law firms to create cultural reviews and policy recommendations, it has consistently refused to initiate an independent investigation of sexual abuse on its campus. An independent investigation has been called for by student groups, a faculty committee, a survivor of James David Christie, an overwhelming margin of the full faculty, and an alumna who claimed to have informed the college of concerns about Dustin in the 1990s. These requests were denied by the college President and the Board of Trustees, who have stated that policy has been consistently followed, and that no further investigation is necessary. The college responded to the most recent allegations by the 1990s alumna by launching yet another narrowly scoped investigation, to be reported directly to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

A meaningful independent investigation would:

  • seek to uncover patterns of behavior, complicity, and knowledge, not focusing solely on individual bad actors or policy violations
  • examine any and all historical cultural issues and administrative failures that allowed abusers to operate with impunity on campus
  • be broad and open-ended in scope and timeline, and free to expand or adapt its methods and goals as information is gathered
  • maintain credibility through the commitment of college leadership to noninterference in its work
  • produce a public report that keeps survivors' identities safe.

An independent investigation is a common and effective process when a school faces a systemic issue of historical abuse, such as at the Horace Mann SchoolPhillips Exeter, St. Paul's School, USC, or in the Larry Nassar case. An institution with nothing to hide has nothing to fear from an independent investigation.

By signing this petition, you agree that Holy Cross must initiate an independent investigation, and affirm that this problem has gone on for long enough. You believe that Holy Cross must hold itself accountable for the mistakes, oversights, and abuses of its past, even if it is painful for the institution. You affirm that survivors have suffered in silence long enough, and that they deserve to have their stories heard, in ways that will lead to meaningful accountability and change.

For more information about this petition or this crisis, or to learn about what you can do to help this cause, visit www.tiny.cc/hctruth.

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