I began this vigil for justice after I discovered many breaches of confidentiality by Holy Cross and its president at the time, Michael McFarland. After Philip Boroughs became president, he made no effort to address what happened and instead had his lawyer threaten me. I decided communication had to change, so I showed up with one sign and a friend and the protest began.
Holy Cross promised mediation to me after I began a hunger strike, and then never did anything about mediation. I found again that the administration cannot be trusted.
I am making plans to continue the vigil for justice since there is still an obvious need to stand up for justice and to share what I’ve experienced in hope that Holy Cross can address what it’s done and make it better.
I drove by Holy Cross twice yesterday and went to a place nearby where I keep the signs for my protest. I have not been back for the protest in recent months for several reasons, some family reasons and some work related. I also know that Holy Cross will be around forever and I have plenty of time to come back and start again. While I was in the neighborhood I thought of many of the people who I’ve known since my years at Holy Cross and my recent years at the protest. Some of the people then are still at HC now! And classmates later came back to work at the college. Plus, it was such a great experience for me to meet current students who stopped by and talked to me about their own experiences of civil rights violations or wanted to hear more about mine.
I expect to be back to the vigil for justice soon. To date, no one in the administration of the college has responded to the concerns I raised so I have to continue communicating this way. I look forward to many new conversations about the need to address civil rights violations at the college. I’m grateful that I can stand outside and remember all the great experiences I’ve had.
I’ve received great support over the time I’ve had to spend holding Holy Cross responsible for its problems. I’ve been lied to (about mediation and communications), I’ve been lied about (in emails sent to the HC community, for example) and I’ve experienced many violations of my civil rights by people who must know better but do not care to do the right thing.
But there are always people who encourage and seek to understand. There are people who try to help. There are people who take the time to learn.
So I am continuing with this Vigil for Justice at the College of the Holy Cross. I took some time off, seeing if time off would make a difference, but the administration ignored every single one of my communications. I learned awhile ago that this whole vigil is about seeking another way to communicate. On it goes. Year #4.
Vincent O’Rourke is no longer general counsel at Holy Cross and he said who to contact after he left. I learned this when I contacted him via email on his last day. So, since then I communicated with the two people, both women, who he said to contact. I explained my intention to change communication since all past communication did not work.
I heard nothing in reply. Silence. More proof that old communication patterns don’t work.
100 days might be too long to wait.
Today I wrote to Holy Cross general counsel Vincent O’Rourke with an email about the need to change communication since virtually all other communication since Fr. Boroughs became president has been futile. I reminded him that 1,132 days have passed since the college agreed to settlement talks. After I wrote, I received a reply that O’Rourke is no longer the college’s general counsel as of tomorrow, and I was asked to write to Jane Corr, a special assistant to Fr. Boroughs.
I wrote to Jane Corr with a message to give to Fr. Boroughs. I said this:
One thousand one hundred and thirty two days have passed since Holy Cross agreed to “settlement talks”. The college has done nothing since then, and most notably never got back to me about mediation. Instead, with the help of students and faculty, I’ve learned many times that the college administration tells lies about me. Among other times, it especially tells lies every September. Faculty and students tell me about the lies, even providing the texts.
If the college continues to make no effort re “settlement talks” or keeps telling lies about me, then one hundred days from today I will have to communicate differently. The college doesn’t need 100 days to do better, so that’s enough. All of my effort to date has been futile, so communication has to change.
I was a philosophy major at Holy Cross at a time when most of the focus was on existentialism and history. Some colleges were more focused on language and hermeneutics which Holy Cross covered too, but not much.
For awhile recently I sensed two sources of passion in me growing at the same time. Civil rights and communication that works. Through this experience with Holy Cross, 2012-2015, I found that practically no communication works, and less with time. It stands out because all my other experience with Holy Cross was different, full of easy communication, responses that fit, and a willingness to listen. This is not today’s Holy Cross. Today if you speak up about problems and share your bad experiences, the College will tell lies about you, break laws to try to shut you up and make you go away, and tell people they tried to help but you refused — when that never happened.
So I am planning a new way of communicating the next time the college will tell lies about me. Since I’ve been on this road for awhile, I’ll be ready.
I’ve had so many other things to do, and while doing those things I daydreamed about writing here and about protesting at Holy Cross, but had to do other work. I am surprised but okay with it. Why? I am pretty sure the College of the Holy Cross will still be there when I have time. Mediation — mentioned in the last post — was rescheduled for May. It does not involve Holy Cross. It’s mediation with the Jesuits responsible for the Jesuit perpetrator, who is somewhere else. Holy Cross told me three years ago that it would get back to me about mediation but it never did. I expect a long haul with Holy Cross. It’s been a long haul so far.