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.