Letter to the Editor

by The Cowl Editor on April 26, 2018

Letters to the Editor

Dear Father Shanley,

I hope you are well during this Easter season. I am now writing to you in the open forum after having tried to reach you privately in two letters dated March 17 and April 5 that have both gone unanswered.  Each of those letters was charitable and sincere yet my request for a meeting did not receive acknowledgement of any kind.

My writing to you in this way follows a pattern of how I have handled this matter at each step of the way. I have always taken a respectful approach; opting for private, internal resolutions first. As a student and soon-to-be alumnus, I do not get some sort of cheap thrill in contributing to a negative image of Providence College in the public eye. But where the College has failed to respond appropriately, the public deserves to know. This especially pertains to parents, prospective parents, and alumni.

I continue to hold the position that much of what occurred could have been avoided if you and your administration acted promptly and appropriately.

The sad reality is that causes like mine do not get your attention in the way that others do. I’m not the kind of guy that is going to occupy your office. I’m not going to march around with signs or incite demonstrations on campus. I’m also not going to shame you into signing a list of demands.

Yet, you seem to respond better to these tactics and I believe you’ve encouraged immature behavior that has only further divided our campus in the process.

I’m still holding out for something better. I want real dialogue instead of shouting cheap slogans. I want robust discourse free of virtue-signaling and the attempt to score political points. I want to engage the issues in a way that a difference of ideas is not seen as an attack on one’s person but a commitment to seeking truth.

I have been unable to find this among my peers and, so far, from you.

“Dialogue” is a convenient word thrown around by many but few are interested in what it actually entails. Our campus does not know how to dialogue. Instead of superficially dropping the word “dialogue” every time a crisis arises, let’s model for the community how we can talk about difficult issues.

I still remain willing to do this and I hope you will take the opportunity to show our campus that you mean what you say when you tell us to engage in dialogue.  This is far more valuable than any teach-in or training the College may offer.  PC can continue to offer these initiatives, but unless our leaders are willing to do what they ask of their students, such efforts will remain fruitless.

At a college of less than 5,000 students, I sincerely hope the first time we meet will not be at my graduation.

12 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor

  1. Father Stanley, This young man has been obnoxiously uncharitable in his characterization of you and your administration in numerous interviews for the print and visual media. He has actively sought opportunities to bring scandal upon the college even as the college was working hard to keep him safe from harm while allowing him to stay in a job that many believe he does not have the disposition to properly fill. I sincerely hope that you will not give his request any consideration. He has bullied the campus community for long enough now and it is time that we all stopped paying attention to his antics and let this sad chapter end with his departure so that PC can return to being the peaceful home that most students prefer.
    A Parent

  2. No, Mike you can’t get people on board with your crusade because you are not an attractive leader. People are not drawn to you at all. You are kind of creepy in your behavior about this. All that parading from interview to interview, ranting and raving, your silly Facebook page. You look like a fool. This added touch of crying for attention is simply the most recent in your pathetic attempts to get attention. It is sad really.

  3. He wants real dialogue and yet he put up a poster instead of scheduling a meeting to talk to the residents he was supposed to be serving. He wants “robust discourse” instead of “virtue-signaling….to score political points” and yet Smalankas’ whole rampage has been one giant virtue signal sent out to right wing Catholics who have no tolerance for sinners, especially sinners whose sexual preferences or actions may not be fully in line with Catholic values. Now he wants to “engage the issues in a way that is….not seen as an attack on one’s person” while he holds out for his Title IX decision because of a claim that he was attacked. Can everyone see how clearly two-faced this individual is? He is the worst sort of demanding fool. Happy graduation and good riddance.

  4. I suppose Smalanskas can persuade himself that this public letter with its accusatory tone is charitable because he apparently thinks that Fr Shanley owes him a response to letters he has sent him. I have a message for Mike about how the world actually works.

    Mike, people who run large organizations are not there to satisfy your every desire to be heard. They are not your whipping boy. Fr. Shanley has plenty of staff who have undoubtedly been assigned to make sure that you have been heard and taken care of. He doesn’t have to do it the way you want it done. He doesn’t owe you an audience any more than the pope does.

    Enjoy the handshake you get on the way out the door. I’m sure there will be a lot of happy people when you are gone.

  5. Michael, I believe the previous three comments help to make your point. There is no doubt the best way to communicate is face to face. I’m sure you’d be willing to discuss in person with the above three commenters as well. I am not sure of all the details and as I’m sure you do I believe as Christ taught us we must love all people but of course not all actions. It is never right for a Catholic School to promote what Jesus and His Church deem sinful. I truly hope Father Shanley shows his charity by respecting your decision to meet with him. Continue to spread the Gospel boldly and you will receive your reward. peace and God Bless,


  6. This is a response to Jim. Do you honestly believe that Mike Smalanskas wanted to “communicate face to face” with anyone except Shanley? He definitely didn’t “want to communicate face to face” with his dorm residents because he chose to put up something he knew would be provocative to some of them without even trying to have a dialogue “face to face” about it.

    He is a coward and a bully at the same time.

    Now he is trying to shame Father Shanley with a public letter calling the guy out for not wanting to talk to him after he has spent the last month seeking out self-promoting interviews in which he could slamming PC and Shanley in particular.

    Jim, Father Shanley is a busy man. Personally I hope he is too busy to give this obnoxious guy the time of day. Every time this kid meets with anyone, he twists what they say and presents his own value added version of it to the press leaving the college to have to do damage control. Shanley should stay as far away from this clown as he can.

    As to your supposition that it is never right for a Catholic school to promote what Jesus says is sinful, I wish you could enlighten me as to what, exactly, Providence College has promoted that is sinful? Is it sinful that they promote treating all people with respect?

    Smalanskas has already taken more time and resources of the college than he deserves. He is a big mouth instigator who has foolishly taken to using left wing tactics to pursue a right wing agenda. Ultimately the kid is just a fool with barely a cause. Trying to convince the world that PC isn’t Catholic enough is like trying to convince the world that water isn’t wet.

    1. Edward my friend if I’m not mistaken Michael’s placing posters of marriage between a man and a woman was triggered by another dorm which had posted support of gay marriage/homosexuality. Which of course is considered and intrinsic evil by the Church. Although we are called to love all and never judge any person it is our responsibility to judge sinful action as wrong.
      Peace and God Bless.

  7. Do you honestly think that Providence College administration was the source of the other poster? Did Providence ever promote gay marriage? That’s a real stretch.

    1. Edward, maybe I have the facts wrong? I thought an RA in another dorm posted a poster promoting a lesbian/gay lifestyle. Michael posted something about marriage being between a man and woman. Again, maybe I don’t have the correct or all the facts but I read he was harassed for this and there was also a inappropriate drawing left in the bathroom? I guess an argument could be made that he didn’t use the bulletin board for its intended reason but to be harassed for stating what the teaching of the Catholic Church at a Catholic college should be OK. Do you know why he was harassed and/or if this picture was actually drawn? I know someone who graduated last year and was involved in campus ministry and unlike the majority of the student body attended Mass at least on Sundays. She said she didn’t know him well but that he seemed like a fine young Catholic man. Although it won’t happen, I would love to hear in person from Michael and those from the college who support him and those that don’t. Anyway discussions is this type of forum are rarely effective and I regret if I don’t have these story correct. God Bless you and yours Edward.

  8. I wonder why Mike started this forum by sending an “open letter to Fr Shanley” given that it is such an ineffective means of communication. Edward asked what the college did to promote gay marriage. How does a student putting a poster become the college promoting something? That truly is a stretch. You will find no evidence of PC promoting anything that is against what Jesus taught and to suggest otherwise is simply a lie.

    1. Meg, if PC doesn’t provide birth control or go against the Church in other areas that is wonderful. If none of the RA’s or others employed by PC new about the poster than nothing could be done. If they did know however had the responsibility as a Catholic at a Catholic college to remove any poster that goes against Church teaching.

      I’m also trying to find out if the totally inappropriate drawing of Michael I read about actually occurred and if he was in fact bullied and what the bullying was done for?

      God Bless Meg

  9. Of course the drawing occurred; he has posted photos of it all over the Catholic media. It is shocking that adults would try to blame the college for the beliefs or non-beliefs of those who attend. That is insanity at its finest. Of course, that characterization could apply to the entire set of antics that Michael Smalanskas has orchestrated at PC. Insanity.

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