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Letter to the Editor: At college, deeply misguided priorities

Editor:

Like many Christendom College alumni, I have been disturbed and outraged at the news coming to light recently: multiple women reporting that they were sexually assaulted (some on campus, some off campus, usually by male students) and were met by indifference and callousness by a college administration that has never been big on accountability or transparency. Men accused of rape were allowed to continue attending this tiny school alongside the women they attacked.

What’s most staggering, however, was Christendom’s continued refusal to address the issues once made aware. Despite incidents that were reported as far back as 1998 (and again in 2009 and 2011) it was 2013 before the college adopted any kind of policy regarding sexual assault. Now, Christendom President Timothy O’Donnell (who has run the school since 1992) is apologizing if he “may have” hurt women through his indifference, and the school’s main defense is a policy that they didn’t adopt for years after being presented with complaints of sexual assault. It appears the college had better things to do than take steps to protect women on its campus. Currently, the focus of the college has been on a massive capital campaign to build an even bigger chapel on its campus. The millions needed would build a gigantic structure overlooking Interstate 66.

I was shocked to read Ken Ferguson’s claim that the college can’t discuss any of the accusations due to Title IX restrictions. After all, the college has advertised its refusal to participate in Title IX funding for decades, peppering the fact into donor ads mailed to alumni. Since it’s not a Title IX school, I can only assume that response was a dodge to avoid telling the full story.

I’m deeply ashamed to be linked to this school. It’s not a place I would let my children attend, and as long as O’Donnell is in charge I bet many other parents will agree with me.

John P. Connolly, Front Royal

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