An Open Letter to the President of the University of Scranton

Father Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.,

The recent acknowledgment of credible allegations of sexual predation by Neil McLaughlin, S.J., a Jesuit with ties to the University of Scranton, is tragic for his victims as well as the University of Scranton.  It is conceivable that his victims could include members of the University of Scranton community.

As President of the University of Scranton, you have an opportunity to use this tragic news to educate the university community, as well as  surrounding communities, on the epidemic of sexual crimes committed against children in our society. You can show your commitment to the truth and rise above diocesan rhetoric of denial and re-victimization to open a meaningful dialogue with the survivor community.

I hope you use this moment in the University’s history to openly discuss the problems of sexual crimes committed by clergy in the Catholic Church. Such a discussion could bring together survivors, civil authorities, church representatives and the Catholic Community to openly address the crisis. As the President of a prestigious Catholic University you have the opportunity and the obligation to further discuss the crisis, especially in light of the revelation that a credibly accused predator once enjoyed a position of trust and respect at the University of Scranton.

I hope you don’t add your name to the long list of people who issue a statement and then never acknowledge the crisis again.  I would like to think that the University of Scranton is still a place where real issues are discussed openly and all voices are heard.  Prayer is good, especially when it accompanies action.

Michael Baumann

Class of 1982

6 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the President of the University of Scranton”

  1. Bless you Michael for being so nice in your letter to the President of the UofS.
    You seem to have a very positive attitude toward what you expect from him. I hope it works, as you and I and all those fighting “the good fight” for the “spiritually murdered”, do have an advocate, the Holy Spirit, who is with us in all things we do for them. “Free will” is an astonishing blow, to those precious to us all, and hard to take, when it doesn’t go the Way of Christ. God Bless you and all you do, to further the Kingdom of God.

  2. You might already be aware that Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., president of The University of Scranton, has been named the 23rd president of Marquette University. He will assume his duties in summer 2011. There is a possibility that the U of S and the Scranton community are no longer his primary focus. You might have to approach the next president. See the article below.

    12/15/10
    The University of Scranton Appoints the Reverend Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., J.D., Ph.D., its 25th President

    The Reverend Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., J.D., Ph.D., executive director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education and a professor of law at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Calif., has been named the 25th president of The University of Scranton. An esteemed professor of law, respected scholar and advocate for Catholic and Jesuit education will be the next Jesuit to lead The University of Scranton.

    The Reverend Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., J.D., Ph.D., executive director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education and a professor of law at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Calif., has been named the 25th president of The University of Scranton. Christopher “Kip” Condron, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, announced the Board’s unanimous decision at a news conference today in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall on campus.

    Father Quinn will assume his duties as president on July 1, 2011. He will succeed the Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., who announced in August that he would leave Scranton to begin service as president of Marquette University in the summer of 2011.

    “Father Quinn is an accomplished administrator, distinguished teacher and recognized scholar with a deep and demonstrated commitment to higher education and to the Catholic and Jesuit mission that is at the heart of The University of Scranton,” Condron said. “We have great confidence that he is prepared to lead the University forward and to sustain our outstanding momentum.”

    A national search was conducted by a search committee, chaired by Condron, that included trustees and representatives from the University’s faculty, staff, student body, alumni and administration.

    “The University of Scranton is an outstanding institution, and I look forward to working with the board, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends as we move Scranton to the front ranks of the nation’s leading master’s-level universities,” said Father Quinn. “People make a university great, and what has impressed me most about Scranton is the people.”

    “I am thrilled for The University of Scranton and for my friend, Kevin Quinn, S.J. I have twice had the privilege of living in the same Jesuit community as Kevin. We were colleagues at Georgetown, and I can attest that he is an outstanding scholar, teacher and administrator with an unmatched passion for Catholic and Jesuit higher education,” said Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., president of The University of Scranton. “This is a great day for Kevin. I look forward to working with him as a fellow president and a brother Jesuit.”

    Since 2006, Father Quinn, 54, has served as the executive director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education at Santa Clara. Reporting to the president, he develops and oversees programs that engage faculty, staff, students and the broader community, and seeks private and grant support to sustain the work of the Center. Educational initiatives, retreats and grants foster lay collaboration, scholarship and curriculum development by faculty and staff in support of mission and identity. The Center connects 1,200 students each year enrolled in 83 courses with more than 50 community-based learning partners and coordinates immersion programs for more than 300 students at regional, national and international sites. The Center also sponsors the Sustainability Initiative at Santa Clara that builds on the university’s nationally recognized commitment to sustainability.

    Father Quinn’s committee responsibilities include co-chairing the Experiential Learning Faculty Core Committee, and serving on the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Self Study Steering Committee and the University Planning Council. For two years, he participated in the President’s staff meetings at the invitation of the late Paul Locatelli, S.J., former president of Santa Clara.

    “For more than a decade I have observed Father Kevin Quinn’s deep commitment to Jesuit higher education and his ever broadening experience in this ministry,” said Rev. Michael Engh, S.J., president of Santa Clara University. “I congratulate The University of Scranton trustees on their choice of Father Quinn as president and wish him every success as leader.”

    Father Quinn has distinguished himself as a teacher and scholar. As a professor of law, he has taught at Santa Clara University since 2007, where he offers a seminar on Bioethics and the Law. From 1994 to 2006, he served at Georgetown University Law Center, first as associate professor before being promoted to full professor. At Georgetown University, he also served as a senior research fellow/faculty affiliate at the Kennedy Institute for Ethics; chaplain-in-residence in the Office of Campus Ministry; and as a consult advisor for the Ethical Consult Service at Georgetown University Medical Center.

    Father Quinn’s legal scholarship is primarily in health care ethics, including book chapters and journal pieces on issues of end-of-life decisionmaking, stem cell research and justice in health care. He has written book reviews for America and Theological Studies, as well as articles about Jesuit and Catholic education for publications such as Conversations in Jesuit Higher Education and explore, a journal published by the Ignatian Center that examines Catholic identity and Ignatian character in Jesuit higher education.

    Earlier in his career, Father Quinn taught at Regis High School in New York City and served as its athletic director. After law school, he served as law clerk for Judge Joseph M. McLaughlin, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City. He was admitted to the Bar of New York and the District of Columbia.

    Father Quinn currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Loyola University New Orleans and on the Board of Directors of Crispaz (Cristianos Por La Paz en El Salvador). Previously, he served on the boards at Le Moyne College, Canisius College, Loyola Marymount University, Bon Secours Health System Inc. and Saint Luke Institute. He was a member of the New York Province Review Board and the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education. He is a member of the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics, and the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.

    Father Quinn earned a doctorate of philosophy in jurisprudence and social policy and juris doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, where he served on the Board of Editors of the California Law Review. He earned an S.T.L. with a concentration in moral theology and a Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (now the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University). He is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Fordham University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and history. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 and was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1985.

    He is the son of Patricia and the late Patrick Quinn of Garden City South, N.Y. Born in Queens, N.Y., and raised on Long Island, Father Quinn is the eldest of four children. He attended Catholic grammar school and high school.

    Founded in 1888, The University of Scranton is a Catholic and Jesuit institution located in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Northeast with an enrollment of slightly more than 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Scranton consistently ranks among the nation’s finest colleges and universities in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Barron’s “Best Buys,” The Princeton Review, Washington Monthly and others. Scranton is also among just 110 colleges in the nation earning the highly selective Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Community Engagement Classification for both Curricular Engagement and Outreach and Partnership. Scranton is known for the outstanding success of its graduates, enjoying a record of Fulbright fellows that is unmatched for an institution of its size and scope – 128 since 1972.

  3. It is such a valuable undertaking that you have pursued to shed light in Scranton on what the Church has tried to hide for so long. I appreciate your efforts.

  4. Michael,
    Another Notre Dame alum recently told me about your blog. I have spent the afternoon catching up on your postings. Needless to say, I am disheartened that you were forced to suffer such indignities- disheartened but not surprised. Father Gibson was perhaps one of the most vile individuals I have ever come across in my life. I have countless memories of his penchant for openly and publicly embarrassing his junior high students, and yes, I do recall his self proclaimed moniker of “The perfect one”. He was smug, crass and the antithesis of all that Notre Dame and its administration “supposedly” stood for. In retrospect, it has become quite clear to me that in truth, neither the school nor the diocese could have chosen a better representative. The “pill box on the hill” was rampant with hypocrisy on so many levels.
    While I knew that Gibson’s evil heart precluded him from ever being considered “holy”, I never fathomed the blackness of his very soul. I am sorry that you had to experience that so personally.
    Good luck with your mission. It seems that you have already had a positive impact both on, and for, many. I hope that this is not lost on you and that you too may find peace of mind.

  5. I experience a great conflict in my heart that I was one of Neil McLaughlin’s victims while he was at Scranton Prep, yet always found Father Gibson to be generous in his compassion and committment to the teachings of the church. I saw him as an example of what a good parish priest should be. Learning of Father Gibson’s victims has shaken me. Now I am forced to consider these horrific acts as a fellow victim of abuse by a priest. So painful. Just more suffering.

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