Timothy O’Donnell, president of Christendom College, has just posted this official response to our recent two posts. Tom McFadden, VP for enrollment, has verified that it was written and posted by the college, and that the same statement will be posted on the Christendom homepage on Thursday, January 17.
We are glad the school took the trouble to respond. We are nowhere near done with this story.
OFFICIAL RESPONSE FROM CHRISTENDOM
A recent blog, which contains misleading information and serious inaccuracies, was posted about Christendom College. Despite those inaccuracies, the hearts and prayers of our entire Christendom College community go out to all involved in the incidents described and to anyone who may be a victim of sexual harassment or assault.
We would like to apologize to any of those in our community who feel they were not properly responded to concerning an alleged sexual harassment and assault. Christendom College will continue to do everything it can to understand how to best respond to these very difficult and tragic situations. In retrospect, the College may not have served these victims as well as we could have, and for this hurt we are truly sorry for any additional pain that this may have caused.
Please be assured that Christendom College is committed to maintaining an academic environment free of discrimination and all forms of coercion that impede the academic freedom, security, or well-being of any member of the community.
As a campus dedicated to following the teachings of the Catholic Church, we strive to foster an environment where every student feels safe and respected and where the dignity of the human person is upheld and honored. Sexual harassment and assault is inimical to such an environment. As part of this commitment, the College undertakes to educate the student body about sexual harassment and assault.
• We have a new sexual harassment and assault policy published in the Student Handbook with instructions on how to report sexual harassment and assault and how to receive resources for recovery (page 29 of the student handbook).
• New student orientation includes a session that covers sexual harassment and assault, reporting, and on-campus resources for support.
• RAs are now trained in responding to and reporting sexual harassment or assault.
• Our on-campus nurse and counselor are available at no cost and can help with trauma and recovery.
• We now have a formal grievance policy students can use to make a complaint against any campus community member who is not covered by the student policy (e.g. faculty, staff, etc.). We can use this process to address inappropriate comments or unreasonable behavior that makes students feel uncomfortable.
• A female Residence Life staff member now lives in the women’s residence halls. This gives women more of an opportunity to share a concern or incident with a staff member they trust. A male Residence Life staff member also lives on campus to assist the men.
• We now offer both a men and women’s monthly formation series that addresses mental health, healthy relationships, and other gender-specific topics.
If some believe that our efforts and policies have failed to bring justice to their particular situations, please understand that despite being fallen human beings, the faculty and staff do their very best every day to provide a just and safe environment.
Respect and honor for women was at the heart Christ’s mission and therefore it is at the heart of the mission of Christendom College. We are committed in our policies, our procedures, and in our on-campus culture to uphold and promote the dignity of women and men.
We will continue to do so in fidelity to our mission: to restore all things in Christ.
Dr. Timothy T. O’Donnell