Caroline Ahearn, News Editor
Following its creation by College of the Holy Cross President Rev. Philip Boroughs, S.J., last month, the working group tasked with facilitating the dialogue on the appropriateness of the Crusader moniker and mascot held its first open discussion on Thursday, October 26 in Brooks Concert Hall.
The working group, which consists of students, alumni, faculty, and staff, held this discussion to encourage and create an opportunity for the College community to provide input on its central question: “In what ways do you think the Crusader moniker and mascot are appropriate, or inappropriate representations of the College, given our mission, values, and identity?”
Stephanie Yuhl, who is not part of the working group but is a professor in the history department and director of the Montserrat program, facilitated Thursday’s discussion. With a list of ground rules behind her emphasizing the importance of an open and shared space, Yuhl opened the dialogue by reminding all in attendance that the goal for the day was simply to have a dialogue. The discussion was not intended to be a debate, and no decisions would be made immediately following it.
People from across the Holy Cross community attended and spoke at the discussion—current students, recent and past alumni, faculty members, Jesuits, and parents—and their opinions were just as varied. Many believed strongly that Holy Cross should omit the Crusader moniker and mascot, while others were angry that the College was even discussing the possibility of changing it. However, most audience members’ opinions fell somewhere in the middle. Some participants acknowledged the negative connotations associated with the word “crusader,” but most suggested that rather than change the name, that Holy Cross use the controversy to educate rather than eliminate. Others brought up the point that having the name “Crusaders” was fine, but the fact that we represent the Crusader with a mascot carrying a sword that causes people to connote our school with the violence of the Crusades is wrong.
The only consensus that came close to being reached is that Holy Cross’ community should strive for political, social, and economic justice, and that we must be men and women for and with others. But, as for whether or not this goal should be represented under the moniker and mascot of a Crusader, no decisions have been made.
In addition to last week’s discussion, the working group will be holding a second discussion on Thursday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Brooks Concert Hall. For those who cannot attend the discussions or prefer not to voice their input publically, an online feedback submission form has been set up as well. The working group will present all of the comments from these discussions and the online form to Father Boroughs and the Board of Trustees in January.
photo by Caroline Ahearn