Students Propose to Reallocate Dunkin ’ Funds
by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
At the very last meeting of the 68th Student Congress of Providence College, members of the congress passed a recommendation on the reallocation of the revenue made at Dunkin’ Donuts on campus from Catholic Relief Services to the politics of philanthropy class.
The recommendation, presented by Stachel Roberts ’18, a member of the class, and Sean Richardson ’20, stated that the funds will be used “for students of the class to distribute to community-based organizations based on values, interest, and causes chosen by students during the course.” The piece of legislation also stated that the reallocation works in accordance with PC’s “PC 200” initiative, as the reallocation of the funds will go toward providing “a rigorous and distinctive interdisciplinary academic experience that includes deep and unique connections among the liberal arts and professional courses of study.”
Professor Nick Loungo, head of the department of Public and Community Service at the College spoke to the Congress two weeks prior to the vote, and explained he was in full support of this piece, and valued student feedback and approval before moving forward.
John Sweeney, CFO of the College, explained that prior to 2012, “PC Perks” was located where Dunkin Donuts currently presides in Slavin. PC Perks worked similarly to the Ruane Café, where Starbucks was offered through Sodexo. When it was deemed necessary to place Dunkin Donuts on Campus, many student groups protests the move as not all of Dunkin Donuts coffee is not secured by fair trade.
According to Sweeney, when Dunkin’ was put in, sales went up between five and ten percent due to the longer hours offered by Dunkin’ and its popularity. “To meet the demands of students and help with the fair trade issue, we decided to donate revenue from Dunkin’ to Catholic Relief Services, which has a system that gives grants to fair trade and small grassroots organizations,” said Sweeney. “This program has had a huge impact, and we have at least $20,000 a year going to the program from PC.”
Sweeney explained that when Longo approached him about reallocating the Dunkin’ funds to the philanthropy class, he proposed that this move would not only support the local community, but provide students with an excellent education as they will be involved in real decision making. “Because we use the commission for trade, it was important to get student voices together to put together the proposal,” said Sweeney.
Roberts, who served as chair of the board for the class, explained that the class works as a board to come up with the grant, request for proposal, and application that organizations can submit to for the grant. “We also came up with a mission, and this year that was to help non-profits meet the immediate needs of the people they were serving,” she said.
This year, the class received funding from the Learning by Giving Foundation, the Bernard Ampers and Audre Rapoport foundation, and an anonymous donor.
Thirty organizations in Rhode Island applied for the class’ grant, and the class read through each application and went on site visits before selecting three organizations to receive a grant of $10,000 each. The selected organizations, which were celebrated by the class Wednesday night in ’64 Hall, are the following: Man UP, Inc., which works to “provide a broad range of unique workforce development and higher educational opportunities, resources and support services to adult men of color;” Easterseals, which provides services to “ensure that children and young adults with disabilities or special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities;” and Fostering Families, which works to provide homes to all young adults in the community.
“We’ve had so many deep conversations, especially because we are working with real money that can make a real impact on the community,” said Roberts. “We each have our own personal values, and we have to find common ground with members of the class to select the organization we believe will make the most impact with the grant.”
The concept of “impact” is essential to grant-giving. Roberts explained that the PSP professors require organizations who have received the grant to write memos explaining what they do with the money, and push students to think about impact when they are going through the decision-making process.
According to Sweeney, he would like to see the Dunkin’ revenue contine to support CRS at the same level in addition to supporting the class. “Fair trade and fair payment is still an issue that resonates with our students,” said Sweeney. “Plus, as global citizens, we have seen the revenue from Dunkin’ make an impact globally through CRS.”
The College has three-year agreements with CRS to help them in planning what services they can provide and offer.
Sweeney expects more Dunkin’ revenue will be made in future years as the College is currently working with Dunkin’ through their To-Go app to prepare student orders before they get to Slavin to help assist with the long lines. If this works, a possibility of renovating Dunkin’ to meet new demands and orders is being discussed. “It’s definitely been a discussion we’ve had,” said Sweeney. “It would benefit the students with a speedier service.”
Sweeney explained that student support in this decision was extremely necessary, and the recommendation still needs to be taken to the cabinet and the president’s office. “When you are running a college, you need to work with the students and see what they want,” said Sweeney. “If this is something impactful and what our students want, then we will go with it, but we will always be evaluating how impactful it will be, because there are a lot of places the revenue could go.”
As for the class, which is cross-listed with political science, PSP, and the business school, and fulfills the civic engagement proficiency, Roberts insists that if students can fit it in their schedule, they should consider taking it.
“It was such a great way to be civically engaged,” said Roberts. “The whole experience was great, and I learned a lot about what philanthropy really means.”
Father Shanley, O.P., to Go on Sabbatical for Six Months
President Shares his Travel Plans and Goals for His Time Away
by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
News Co-Editor Emerita
At the end of this academic year, Father Brian Shanley, O.P., who has served as president of Providence College for the past 13 years, will be taking a six-month long sabbatical. During his time away, Vice President Father Kenneth Sicard, O.P., will step in as acting president.
“I’m looking forward to not dealing with the 24/7 stresses that come with being president of Providence College,” said Fr. Shanley. “I love my job, but I’ve sensed that I needed a break.”
Generally speaking, all tenured faculty at PC are welcomed to take a sabbatical for six months or a year every seven years. Fr. Shanley explained around his 10-year mark, he felt ready for some time away, but the timing was not right due to the fact that the College was finishing a monumental capital campaign, was going through re-accreditation, and was celebrating its 100th anniversary. “With everything wrapping up, this felt like the perfect time to take six months off, and return refreshed and ready to go,” said Fr. Shanley.
When asked to describe a typical day in the life for the president of PC, Fr. Shanley said, “I don’t have a typical day.” According to Shanley, the role of president involves dealing and working with an array of people and countless relationships. “Time management is a big deal,” said the president. “Most of my days are in the office, but I also travel a lot for fundraising.”
With the president on sabbatical, Fr. Sicard will be stepping in as acting president, and some responsibilities will be passed on to Ann Manchester-Molak, assistant to the president and executive vice president. “Each of the vice presidents does a great job at what they do,” said Fr. Sicard, who explained a big responsibility for the College will be going through the final interviews and search for the new vice president for institutional diversity in the fall. “The way I work relies a lot on the cabinet,” he said. “They are so good at what they do and will keep PC the great success that is.”
Fr. Shanley explained that he is looking forward to having more time to read, especially philosophy. “It’s a challenge to live a contemplative life when you’re a college president,” he said, and remarked that as a college professor he felt he had more control over his life to read and listen to music. “I’m looking forward to slowing my life down and spending some time with family and friends.”
Prior to being president of PC, Fr. Shanley taught at Catholic University in Washington D.C, where he was a professor for 11 years. His last sabbatical was in 2001 during his time there.
During Fr. Shanley’s time at PC, the College has witnessed a vast amount of change. One example is that a majority of the faculty currently employed at PC were hired during Shanley’s tenure. Furthermore, the way PC physically looks has drastically changed. “Closing Huxley Avenue has brought our campus together in a way that is truly remarkable,” said Fr. Shanley.
Other changes and growth the College has seen include success in athletics, an increase of students studying abroad, gaining momentum on the amount of people applying to PC, and the amount of donations given to the College has also increased. Shanley also remarked how the student body has grown more diverse since he arrived 13 years ago, but the College can continue to do more for inclusion.
A goal the president has for the future is working on the affordability of PC. He explained that one of his dreams for the College is meeting 100 percent of the financial need for all students who come here. “The challenge is we do not have the financial resources through endowment to currently do this,” said Fr. Shanley. He also stated that with more endowed scholarships, meeting this goal can be a reality.
“We’ll miss Fr. Shanley, but he deserves a break to recharge his batteries,” said Fr. Sicard, who has worked at PC for 21 years. “It’s such a blessing to work here. We’re surrounded by really good people.”
During his time away, Fr. Shanley also hopes to visit the beach, will travel with the men’s basketball team to Italy in August, and will go to Ireland in September to play golf with his brothers. “I also want to get my spiritual life back to where it should be,” said Shanley, who also stated that he is excited to do some cultural things like visiting the opera. “I also want to go to New York and do more than asking people for money for the College. I want to do the museums, and see a show.”
Fr. Shanley went on to say that he will miss being on campus for the first day of school, and explained there is something exciting about being on a college campus on the first day of classes. “I’ll be in and out though,” said Shanley. “I’ll be back soon enough, ans these six months will go by very quickly.”
Featured Friars: Megan Manning ’18
Editor-in-Cheif of The Alembic, the PC Literary Journal
by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
Right before her piano class in the Smith Center for the Arts, Megan Manning ’18 sat in the Slavin Atrium with her iced Dunkin’ coffee with just a splash of almond milk. “I’m just so not ready to graduate,” said Manning, who hails from Portland, Oregon. “Coming to PC was the best choice I ever made.”
For the second year in a row, Manning serves as editor-in-chief for the The Alembic, Providence College’s literary arts journal. The Alembic welcomes submissions from student writers and artists, as well as writers and artists outside of the PC community.
“I work with my team of editors to go through all the submissions, and together we decide what we want to include in the journal,” said Manning. She explained that it can be a difficult task, especially when having to make a decision not to include a submission, but it is also extremely rewarding.
“Sometimes I’ll read a poem that doesn’t necessarily strike me, but then a member of my team will find it so beautiful, and it’s so cool to hear that perspective and then be able to hear that poem in a whole new way,” Manning said.
Along with Manning’s position, The Alembic also has two managing editors and three working editors. The literary journalism class also helps with the layout of the journal. “So we could have three to even 10 people working on our publication depending on what part of the process we’re at.”
Over the summer and into the fall semester, Manning worked at Providence Media, a media conglomerate that covers features and news stories throughout the state of Rhode Island. “It was really fun,” said Manning, who did a lot of research and fact checking for the group and got to attend coffee shops and amusement parks as part of her research. “It may not be what I want to do in the future, but it was a cool way to explore Rhode Island and expand my skills as a writer and editor.”
Manning hopes to work for a publishing house, or something similar when she graduates. As an English major, Manning purposely chose PC for its proximity to New York and Boston. “I just felt New England was the place to be for a realistic career in publishing,” Manning said.
As for moving across the country to go to college, Manning explained that it just felt right. “I wanted to do something different, and be my own person,” she said. “My mom told me I had to narrow down my options, so I looked at about 10 schools, and after seeing PC I knew this was the place I wanted to be.”
Manning is extremely thankful for her English professor Dr. Epapharas Osondu, who got her involved in The Alembic her freshman year after she shared her interest in creative writing. “I feel very blessed that I have been able to get involved with something at PC that I am also extremely passionate about,” she said.
Along with The Alembic, Manning is also very active in Dance Club, is a member of the I Cantori choir, and studied abroad the fall of her junior year at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. “Study abroad was one of the coolest experiences of my life,” she said. “I feel so blessed that I have gotten the opportunities that I’ve had.”
While wrapping up the conversation, Manning shared the fun fact that throughout her college experience she will have had 15 roommates altogether, and is so thankful for the relationships she has developed by living with different people. “I love my girl squad,” she said. “I feel so blessed.”
Manning will be staying in Providence this summer as she continues her job search. “I’m giving myself three months, and then I’ll reevaluate.”
The Alembic launch party is taking place this coming Tuesday, May 1, at 5:30 p.m. in McPhail’s. “Come for the food, and come for the poetry,” Manning said. “We have some really, really talented writers this year, and I’m excited for them to share their work with community.”
PC’s Best Buddies Wins Rhode Island Award
by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
At the annual Best Buddies Ball on Friday, April 13, the Providence College chapter of Best Buddies won the award for the Best Collegiate Program of the Year.
According to its website, Best Buddies is the world’s largest organization dedicated to “ending the social, physical, and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).” The program is meant to empower the special abilities of people with IDD by helping them form meaningful friendships with their peers and feel valued by society.
Best Buddies of Rhode Island named the PC chapter of Best Buddies College Chapter of the Year for outstanding commitment, leadership, and unwaivering dedication to the Best Buddies mission.
“Receiving the Best Buddies College Chapter of the Year Award meant so much to us this year,” said Monica Gorton ’19, a member of the executive board and the 2018-2019 vice president of the Best Buddies. She explained that her executive board would not have had such a successful year without the help of all the members of the club. “Our peer buddies are awesome and so dedicated to their friendship with their buddies and receiving this award reflects it.”
Caitlin Whitaker ’18, president of Best Buddies at PC, said that it is a friendship organization. “It’s a very special program because in a lot of ways the mission is that a club like Best Buddies someday should not even have to exist,” she said. “The whole idea is that someday we would not need a club to form a lasting and beautiful friendship with someone with a disability.”
Whitaker went on to say that students do not always have the opportunity to interact with people with IDD, and Best Buddies is great for the community and the College. “I’ve been doing Best Buddies since my freshman year of high school, and after having such a good experience there, I knew this was something I had to join at PC,” she said.
“Best Buddies is so special because it promotes inclusion and friendship for everyone,” said Gorton. “At PC, students are paired with individuals in the community and participate in going to monthly events held on campus, contacting their buddy each week, and building friendship through one to one activities.”
The Best Buddies Ball is held annually, and is a time when the regional chapters come together and celebrate the year. All college and high school chapters are welcome, and participants dress up and are in for a night of fun, dancing, and awards.
“It was nice to have the affirmation that we’ve been doing great work, but even without the award I am so proud of what we accomplished this year,” said Whitaker. She explained that she is most proud of the service event that was held in the fall semester, where the chapter made 50 care packages for a homeless shelter.
“It was cool because we really don’t see ourselves as a service organization, but a friendship organization, so the fact that we got to do community service with our buddies was very special,” she said. Other events the club held this year included a women’s basketball game watch, a movie night, and a holiday party.
As for the individual friendship meet-ups, Whitaker said they can be just about anything. “I take my buddy to the movies because we love doing that together, but other friendships have gone to sporting events, gone to farmer’s markets, and one group this year went to a wine and paint night.”
Gorton expressed that one of her favorite memories was last year when she was swamped with work and her buddy wanted to FaceTime. Gorton decided to take the call, and after talking about what had been going on in their lives, the friends ended up spontaneously singing Disney songs while Gorton was sitting in a hallway of the business school. “I remember ending the call feeling so much better about everything that I had to and really appreciating my buddy for making me smile,” she said.
“I love our events and seeing everyone together,” said Whitaker. “It’s great to see all the buddies and interact with each other, especially since a lot of them make great connections with each other as well.” According to Whitaker, the program changed her whole college career and she is so glad to be a part of it. She hopes as many people as possible can join next year.
Bursting the PC Bubble: In Memoriam: Barbara Bush
by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
On the night of Tuesday, April 17, Barbara Bush, former first lady and wife of the 41st President of the United States and mother of the 43rd president, passed away at 92-years-old.
“Barbara Bush was a remarkable woman,” tweeted 44th President Bill Clinton. “She was fierce and feisty in support of her family and friends, her country and her causes. She showed us what an honest, vibrant full life looks like.”
It was announced this past Sunday that Mrs. Bush decided to not seek additional medical treatment for her declining health and would “instead focus on comfort care.”
She and Abigail Adams are the only first ladies in U.S. history to also see their sons as presidents.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bush family as they honor the remarkable life of former first lady Barbara Bush,” said the Obama Foundation via Twitter, calling her an example of the humility that reflects the very best of the American spirit.
According to an article by CNN, Mrs. Bush was at her husband’s side for his nearly 30-year political career, and was not only a defender of him but also an ally.
She was a proponent of women’s rights, and sometimes her ideology clashed with traditional Republican party politics—she once said that abortion should not be politicized while her husband was president.
In the 1980s while her husband was vice president, Mrs. Bush created the nonprofit Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She and her husband raised more than $1 billion for literacy and cancer charities.
“I chose literacy because I honestly believe that if more people could read, write, and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems that plague our nation and our society,” she had said.
In an opinion article by the Washington Post, it was said that Mrs. Bush “understood that with the role of first lady came not just an opportunity to live well but also the obligation to do good.”
Mrs. Bush was born in New York City in 1925, and married George H.W. Bush in 1945 while he was on leave during his deployment as a naval officer in World War II. She is survived by her husband, George H.W.; sons George W., Neil, Marvin,and Jeb; daughter, Dorothy Bush Koch; and her 17 grandchildren.
Her funeral will be held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston on April 21, 2018, with burial at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.
“I always knew Barbara was the most beloved woman in the world, and in fact I used to tease her that I had a complex about that fact,” said her husband in a statement on Wednesday. “We have faith that she is in heaven, and we know that life will go on as she would have it.”
PC Proud: The Importance of Being an Ally
by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
As part of the “PC’s Proud” Week put on by the Board of Programmers and SHEPARD, Paige Clausius-Parks ’03, one of the student leaders who brought SHEPARD into fruition on campus, spoke on Monday night regarding the importance of being an ally for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
PC’s Proud, a series of events promoting visibility, normality, and appreciation of the student body at Providence College, also included a workshop on being an ally yesterday in McPhail’s. They will sponsor the event “Tell Your Story,” where students will be able to share their experiences in an open mic setting, and will be encouraged to engage and discuss love, sexual diversity, and gender identity.
Clausius-Parks kicked off the event by explaining that she is no expert in being an ally. “I just work really hard, think about it, and write about it,” she said. She encouraged the students at the event to listen and ask questions such as, “What does it mean to be brave?,” “Why do we stand up for others?,” and “How do we get that courage?”
She insisted that she did not want to receive all the credit for bringing SHEPARD to campus back in 2003, and stated it was the allies who allowed her and her peers to move forward. She talked about the different types of allies she encountered, such as the 200 “passive allies” who signed the petition saying they believe SHEPARD should be a club on campus. The “silent allies,” such as the friar who told her to keep up the good work as she walked by him on campus, and the “allies of influence” such as the president of her class in Student Congress, who told his peers at a meeting that SHEPARD needed to be on campus.
As a public and community service major while at PC, Clausius-Parks explained that she was estatic that she was able to take what she was passionate about and turn it into a career. “I learned a lot about courage,” she said. “It’s belief in something larger than ourselves and finding comfort in the discomfort.” Clausius-Parks currently works at Books are Wings, a literacy non-profit organization in Rhode Island that provides books to children across the state.
At the end of her story, she welcomed questions from the audience and even asked questions of the students present. She explained that one of the biggest aspects of being an ally is promising to do better next time. She believes there is no such thing as a missed opportunity, and going back to a conversation after accidentally saying the wrong thing is extremely powerful.
“Plug into what is happening,” she said. “Keep reflecting and get into your own groove. Not everyone has the same experience as you do.”
When asked if she ever felt like giving up during her mission to get SHEPARD onto campus, she admitted that there times that were very difficult, and she was so thankful for her roommates who supported her, but she never wanted to quit. “Giving up just makes it so much harder for the next person,” she said.
Bulletin Board Update:
Find out more about recent developments regarding the bulletin board controversy including responses from administration, the current status of bulletin boards, and an impending Title IX investigation.
The board was displayed by Resident Assistant Michael Smalanskas ’18, and represented the Catholic Church’s vision of marriage as a sacrament performed by one man and woman, and contained the statement, “Marriage, the way God intended it.”
Due to the controversy following this board, Jana Valentine, director of residence life, made a joint decision with her staff to suspend the use of bulletin boards for communication until a task force can more properly define a function and purpose for the boards.
Smalanskas explained that his intention was to proudly display Catholic teaching on a Catholic campus and to expose the double standard he finds at the College that does not protect conservative views in the same way as others. “A good example of this is the pro-same sex ‘marriage’ bulletin board on display in McVinney in February,” wrote Smalanskas in an email responding to The Cowl’s questions. “I have been accused of abusing my power and promoting hatred by displaying pro-traditional marriage views, but this other resident assistant was not.”
A summary of the initial events that occurred within the first week of the board’s installation, including a Board of Multicultural Student Affairs (BMSA) meeting in which Kristine Goodwin, vice president of student affairs, addressed student concerns, was reported by The Cowl and can be found here: https://www.thecowl.com/featured/bulletin-board-controversy.
Since the publication of the initial article, the controversy has continued to gain attention from outside media, and the College has made additional statements regarding the incident. A recent report from the National Catholic Register cited Smalanskas as stating that a Title IX investigation is underway to investigate a cartoon depicting Smalanskas being sodomized, which was found in his dorm bathroom of St. Joseph Hall in the following days since the bulletin board was put up.
A majority of the articles published regarding the controversy can be found on the Facebook page, “Make PC Catholic Again,” which was created and run by Smalanskas to “provide the most recent news about the developing situation at PC.” In the description of the page, it is stated that “Make PC Catholic Again” is not meant to be an open forum on the topic.
“It is meant to be a place where all news coverage of the situation can be found in one place,” said Smalanskas. Some students who have left comments to the page have voiced concerns that their voices are “silenced” when their comments are deleted. “All comments, whether they are supportive of me or adamantly opposed to what I’ve done, are deleted,” said Smalanskas in response.
One specific article found on this page is a letter from March 21 to Smalanskas written by Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, reaffirming the Church’s teachings on marriage and praising Smalanskas for his proclamation of faith. While encouraging prudence and charity with every action, Bishop Tobin did reaffirm that Christians “do them no favors, and we fail to fulfill our Christian vocation, if we hesitate to present and explain the divinely revealed truth about faith and morals.”
Bishop Tobin continued to express regret for the negative reaction Smalanskas has received from his community, especially on a Catholic college campus such as PC. “I think we have the right to presume that those who teach or study at a Catholic school should accept, or at least respect, the stated identity, mission, and fundamental teachings of the Faith,” said Tobin. “Otherwise, there are lots of other good options for higher education they can choose if they really feel threatened by or are uncomfortable with the teachings of the Church.”
Two days prior to this letter, President Father Brian Shanley, O.P., sent an email to the PC community regarding the board, and stated that the Church’s views on marriage is not homophobic as homophobia is a sin. “We will never eliminate the tension between what the Church teaches and what modern secular culture professes about human sexuality and marriage,” he said. “Our challenge is to create a campus climate that will enable us to explore our differences dialogically with mutual respect and charity.”
Smalanskas, as well as Dr. James Keating, associate professor of theology and advisor to Smalanskas through the Title IX process, expressed their disapproval of the College’s initial response regarding the reaction to the board.
“The College failed in many respects to address the situation properly,” said Smalanskas, who said he repeatedly asked administration to denounce the harassment toward him from the very beginning. He explained that he felt that the rape drawing would have been avoided if the College had acted. “It also seemed like an easy task for the administration to support the content of the board but it took several weeks for the school to affirm its Catholic identity and speak against the hatred and harassment,” Smalanskas said.
Keating explained that in his opinion, the administration’s reaction to the cartoon and lack of initial response is the “strangest thing.” “As soon as someone files a Title IX violation, the school should go into extreme protection mode,” said Keating, who earlier explained he felt the administration responded to the feelings of students in response to the board and should have also responded to harassment against Smalanskas. “They should have sprang into action, but we saw an absolute flouting of Title IX protections.”
The Department of Public Safety at Providence College did remove Smalanskas from his dorm room in St. Joseph following the initial incident and housed him in another dorm room for his protection.
Goodwin addressed the issue to student leaders in an email on March 18, and encouraged students to engage in dialogue. She encouraged students to attend a “March Against Transphobia and Homophobia at PC,” organized by SHEPARD, the student organization and support group for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Mallari Bosque ’18, president of SHEPARD, explained the march was meant “to acknowledge the discomfort that the LGBTQ+ community are often subjected to feel.”
At the march, faculty, staff, and administrators affirmed that homophobia has no place at a Catholic institution, and that the purpose of the march far extends the content found on the bulletin board. For full coverage on this event, please use the following link: https://www.thecowl.com/breaking-news/pc-community-marches-against-transphobia-and-homophobia
Fr. Shanley released a second statement in an email on March 26 in reaction to what he calls “negative publicity, mostly on conservative media sites” that are “not accurate,” and increasing phone calls from angered alumni.
“The College always has, and always will, remain faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church,” said Fr. Shanley. He also denounced the hostility shown to Smalanskas in the passing weeks, and stated that the drawing was “odious” and “reprehensible.” “There can be no place on our campus for bullying, harassment, or intimidation,” Fr. Shanley said.
While this message did fulfill the initial request made by Smalanskas and Dr. Keating for the College to address the harassment and confirm Catholic beliefs, Smalanskas thought it came only after bad publicity for PC and was insulting to members of the media, alumni, and himself.
Looking to the future, this bulletin board controversy has shown a larger conflict at place at PC and within Catholic colleges across the country—how can a college maintain its Catholic identity while still being inclusive?
Dr. Keating believes that PC was not ready to address this “huge challenge” and now must decide, like many Catholic colleges, what it means to be a Catholic college not just in the pulpit or classroom but in the everyday life of students. Goodwin also stated that PC is “not alone in this struggle” and looks to professional organizations like the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities for guidance and information.
“I think about moving forward prayerfully and curiously,” said Goodwin. “It’s more important for me to understand than to be understood. Experience of students, faculty, administration, and alumni helps us move forward and we can count on professional organizations to help us in dialogue and conversations and inquiry.”
Smalanskas has continued to pursue his Title IX claim, which prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal fundraising and aims to remedy hostile learning environments. PC’s Sexual Misconduct or Relationship Policy complies with Title IX, and the College’s website defines sexual harassment as “any form of sex discrimination when the conduct creates a hostile environment.”
Investigations fall under the Department of Public Safety and are overseen by the Title IX Coordinator Dr. James Campbell. Complainants are given an adviser, in this case Dr. Keating, who has previously worked on Title VI and IX cases, and can find resources with the Dean of Students, Steven Sears.
While the investigation is ongoing, administrative figures are “reluctant to talk about an individual student” in respect of their privacy and to never compromise an ongoing investigation, said Goodwin.
PC Community Marches Against Transphobia and Homophobia
by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
At approximately 6:00 p.m. on Friday, March 23, close to 200 students gathered outside the front doors of the Slavin Center for a March Against Transphobia and Homophobia at Providence College.
The march was organized by SHEPARD, a student organization and support group for members of the LGBTQ+ community. SHEPARD’s overall mission is to build a safe, welcoming environment within the club and larger PC community. The executive board of the club invited panelists to speak at the end of the march in the Ruane Center for the Humanities, which included Kristine Goodwin, vice president of student affairs, Tiffany Gaffney ’03, assistant dean of students, and Dr. Christopher Arroyo, associate professor of philosophy.
The PC community was invited to the march via an informational email sent by Mallari Bosque ’18, SHEPARD president. “Please stand with Shepard in solidarity with love and respect,” the email stated. “The purpose of this march is to affirm LGBTQ+ members of the Providence College community and to recognize their experiences of homophobia and transphobia as valid.”
Many assumed that the march was a reaction to the recent bulletin board that was hung in St. Joseph Hall that said, “Marriage, the Way God Intended It,” promoting the Catholic Church’s doctrine on marriage as being between one man and one woman. For more on that story, please refer to the following link: https://www.thecowl.com/featured/bulletin-board-controversy.
Michael Smalanskas ’18, the resident assistant who put the bulletin board up on his floor, stated that he too thought the march was organized in reaction to that said board. “Many have considered my bulletin board homophobic and an act of hate speech,” he said, explaining that to support traditional marriage is in no way to be homophobic. “People are free to protest, but there should be a basic understanding from students and faculty at this college that Catholic beliefs are not hate speech.”
In an email to student leaders including members of the Board Multicultural Student Affairs, Student Congress, and Residence Life, Goodwin acknowledged the bulletin board controversy and said, “I believe we need to treat each other with respect at all times.” She went on to explain that she hopes the community would join her in being open to dialogue so that it can be informed and effective “allies and educators,” and said a way to do that was to walk in solidarity with SHEPARD “promoting unity, affirmation, and inclusion even amidst controversy.”
As participants gathered, students distributed rainbow stickers that said, “Hate is Not a PC Value.” Others held signs with messages such as “Love is Love,” “If God Hates Gays Why’d He Make Us So Cute,” “Jesus Had Two Dads and He Turned Out Fine,” and “Ignorance is Often Disguised as Tradition.”
“Do not engage in negative behavior,” said Bosque before the march commenced, also explaining that the marchers were not calling for action, but rather standing and marching out of solidarity and love. “Every person deserves equal amounts of respect,” she said. “We are not making demands, we just want to be heard, recognized, and loved.”
From Slavin, the marchers moved towards Raymond Dining Hall by passing McVinney and Moore Hall. From there, they marched around the Smith Quad after passing the Ryan Center, and went though Glay parking lot and up the Guzman stairs before entering into Ruane. All the while, marchers chanted, “Say it loud, say it clear, queer people are welcomed here,” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, homophobia has got to go.”
At the conclusion of the march, many students filed into into Ruane 105 where each speaker was given a chance to share and reflect.
After Bosque spoke, Goodwin took the podium and emphasized that she welcomes feedback, especially when it is feedback given for the sake of helping others. She also talked about the social work her mother did with transgender individuals and explained that the church she wants to be part of is the kind of church that includes everyone.
Dr. Arroyo acknowledged the SHEPARD executive board for the work they did in organizing the march, and also stated he wished to not misconstrue what was happening at the march. “This is not dismissing Catholic teaching as homophobic, or attempting to stop free speech, or trying to go against Catholic teaching,” he said, explaining that this should not be a two sided argument of Catholics versus the side of the LGBTQ+ community. “Disagreements should not lead us to despair of resolving them.”
After discussing the meaning behind PC’s mission of Veritas, or the truth, he insisted the truth must be used to guide the College in these difficult times. “The spirit of the march is to identify truths,” he said. “Some members in our community identify as LGBTQ+, and they’re students who are equal and full members deserving of respect and love.”
When Dean Gaffney spoke, she acknowledged that though it states very clearly in the College’s policies that it does not discriminate based off of race, gender, or sexuality, the fact of the matter is that not all members of the PC community necessarily live this experience. “Plus, we must be honest with ourselves, when we say we are here for the LGBTQ+ community, we don’t know who they all are, and that is a truth we must acknowledge,” she said.
She then explained that when people are silent, they leave room for assumption. “We are all here for our own personal intentions,” she said. “I am not here because of a bulletin board, I am here because I am unapologetically an ally.”
Dean Gaffney then explained that ally-ship is not to be taken lightly, as it is an “intentional commitment to be there for and with others.” “I am unapologetically Catholic, and it is because of my faith that I am an ally,” she said. “If you think that we’re here just because of a bulletin board, you aren’t paying attention.”
“Some members of the LGBTQ+ community identify as Catholic,” said Dr. Arroyo, who then stated that homophobia and transphobia have no place at a Catholic institution. “We must insist that affirming the equal dignity of all human beings in what we say and what we do affirms our mission of a Catholic college.”
Other speakers included Dr. Jonathan Dator, staff psychologist at the Personal Counseling Center, Cate Latz of the Office of Institutional Advancement, and Kendra Brewster a professor in the public and community service department.
Providence College Loses Power Right Before Break
After Back Up Generator Fails, PC is in the Dark for Over 24 Hours
by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
On the Friday before Spring Break at approximately 1:30 p.m., Providence College lost power due to the high winds and rain from a Nor’easter. All three back up generators on campus failed, there was no WiFi or phone service, and it was not possible to distribute the food left by Sodexo.
Power was restored to campus approximately 24 hours later on Saturday.
“I wasn’t upset about the power itself because when it comes to the weather, sometimes there is nothing you can do or control,” said Kristen Colabatistto ’19, who lives in Davis Hall and was here during the storm. “I was concerned about safety though because the entrance of Davis Hall was left open and unlocked because you could not swipe in.”
Jenna Shanley ’18, who lives in DiTraglia Hall said, “I felt bad for underclassmen because while I have a car and could go off campus to get what I needed like lanterns or food, the underclassmen who don’t have cars were stuck.” She suggested that the College should have lanterns and nonperishable food in stock in the future for distribution.
“I would have appreciated if we were informed more frequently,” said Colabatistto. “I know the school did the best that it could, but communication is key.” She explained that it was comforting to have other students on campus and was thankful there were still people living in her building during the black out.
“I was off campus all day and had power so I invited friends to come over to shower and charge their phones,” said Cassandra Caggiano ’18, who said the storm affected her travel plans. She also explained that in the future, if the campus lost power, the College should still be in contact with students off-campus, who could potentially be resources to the community.
“In any type of situation regarding school closing due to snow or something that happened last Friday, administration will always do an “after action response,” explained Steven Sears, dean of students. “During this, we look at what we did well, what worked, and what didn’t work based on conversations with all the constituents that were impacted.”
He used the snow day this past Tuesday as an example, saying it was clear the College was much more prepared for the snow day than it was for the day of the nor’easter. “After Friday, we discussed what we can improve on and what things happened that were unexpected and come up with an action plan for the future.”
“I was in Slavin when the power first went out,” said Catie Capolongo ‘19. “It was pretty freaky seeing Slavin so dark.” She explained that there was a huge presence of security officers in Slavin when the power first went out.
The Office of Residence Life provided pizzas to each of the dormitories on Friday, and was well staffed. “Our staff was available to assist students with their needs,” said Katrina Alica, administrative coordinator at the Office of Residence Life. “After emergency management situations, we are always part of discussions to review what happened and discuss ways to improve.”
Jim Rizzo, the Help Desk manager, sent out an email to the PC community during the storm detailing that when the campus lost power, the IT Department was required to power down, and services such as Sakai, CyberFriar, and email for some faculty and staff were unavaiable. By Saturday evening, these services were all back up.
Dean Sears explained that the emergency power did not work as it was supposed to, but this has been fixed and is something that will not happen again. “We are so appreciative for the teamwork and efforts by residence life, facilities, and security.”
More Than Prayers: Walking Out for Gun Violence
PC Democrats Hosts Vigil for Victims of the Parkland Shooting
by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
A month after the shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, thousands of students across the country left their classes at 10 a.m. to participate in a walk out against gun violence. The walk out, which lasted for 17 minutes in memoriam of the 17 lives lost during the shooting, involved high school students, professionals, and college students, including members of the Providence College community.
Organized by the PC Democrats and co-sponsored by Student Congress, the Board of Multicultural Student Affairs, and Friars Club, PC’s walk out was campaigned as a vigil for the lives lost in Parkland.
Students gathered outside in the cold weather by the newly erected Calabria Plaza on Slavin Lawn and were given a black ribbon to wear in support of the cause.
“I want to show my support,” said Maria Sciancalepore ’20, a student who attended the vigil. “I want to take part in something active on campus that’s moving to make a difference in society.”
Caroline Olsen ’19 echoed Sciancalepore and said, “Gun violence is something that is affecting everyone.” She explained that as terrible as it is to think this way, it is something that could even affect us at PC. “Participating in a walk out like this allows us to bring awareness to the issue.”
Members of the PC Democrats executive board, including Amy Gilligan ’18, Nikki Silva ’19, and Madison Clark ’19, stood on the top of the stairs and addressed the crowd. “We just wanted to thank-you for coming out and showing your support today,” said Clark. “All of you have sacrificed your personal and class time to remember those we have lost and take a stand against gun violence.”
She listed the names of each of the 17 lives that were lost and asked that we pray for them, their families, and pray that something like this massacre never happens again.
Clark explained that when she first heard about the shooting, she felt a mix of emotions including anger, fear, and grief, but for the first time also felt helpless. “After Sandy Hook, I thought things would change. After Pulse, I thought things would change. After Las Vegas, I thought things would change,” she said. “When Parkland happened, I saw a system unwilling to confront gun violence and unable to keep our most vulnerable safe.”
Father James Quigley, O.P., echoed Clarks remarks, and in a prayer asked us to pray for those who were murdered, pray for their families, and pray to give us the strength to call upon our leaders to take action to protect the most vulnerable in our society. “We must pray to promote mutual respect, charity, and justice for all,” he said.
“Thanks to the bravery of students at Parkland, I have hope,” said Clark. “The nation has not moved on, and we have not forgotten.”
She went on to explain that she was glad the community could gather by the torch because it is a symbol of enlightenment and hope. She quoted a passage from Romans 12 that reads, “Never let the fire in your heart go out, keep it alive.” She then explained that by coming together today, the campus is keeping the fire alive.
“It is often said that the nation’s students are the future, but I take greater joy and comfort knowing that the students are also the present,” said Clark. “While we gather today in prayer, we must remember that with prayers must come action.” She went on to say that we must demand that our leaders take meaningful steps to make our world safer, and make a conscious effort to support peace and love.
On the national level, students are expected to gather in Washington, D.C., for March for Our Lives on March 24, which was coordinated by Everytown for Gun Safety. Furthermore, more school walk outs are planned for April 20, the anniversary of the shooting in 1999 at Columbine High School.
“We find strength in each other as a Friar Family and as a national family for students,” said Clark. “The lives of the 17 people lost will not be forgotten because we are working to make a nation worthy of their memory.”