Update on University Commission

Sent May 26, 2020, 9:39 a.m 

TO: The Gonzaga Community

FROM: Dr. Megan McCabe, co-chair
             Dr. Michelle Wheatley, co-chair
             University Commission on Gonzaga’s Response to Catholic Sexual Abuse

SUBJ: Update on University Commission

DATE: May 26, 2020

Dear Students, Staff, Faculty, and Administrators:

This memo includes an update on the work of the University Commission on Gonzaga’s Response to Catholic Sexual Abuse. Our message builds on previous communications that affirm Gonzaga’s commitment, as a Catholic, Jesuit, humanistic institution, “to engage courageously in difficult conversations about what systematic abuse within the Church compels us to learn, to know, and to do” (President McCulloh, July 2019).

Since the announcement and appointment of the Commission, the group has been working diligently toward its charge to identify, discuss and make recommendations to President McCulloh regarding a set of formal actions the University ought to undertake in response to the clergy abuse crisis. Commission work, research and activities have included:

  • Thirteen Commission meetings
  • A two-day retreat
  • Community updates (including the Fall 2019 Faculty Conference and Staff Assembly Fall 2019 Open Meeting)
  • Open community listening sessions
  • Meetings with specific groups, such as the Staff Assembly Executive Council, Faculty Senate, representatives from local tribal communities, and the Della Strada Jesuit Community
  • Consultation and information gathering, including phone calls and meetings with representatives from other institutions or projects, or with specific individuals our community recommended

Throughout the entire academic year, our priority has been to listen to the Gonzaga community, especially with respect to three questions: 1) What are your hopes for the Commission? 2) Would you like to propose any specific recommendations? and 3) Is there anything else you would like to share with the Commission? We are grateful to all those who have provided input to assist with the discernment of the Commission.

In December 2019, we shared a community update that our deliberations would continue into the spring semester. We continued meeting as a Commission through February 2020, when we then began the process of drafting our report, which includes our recommendations.

Shortly after we entered this phase of work, our university context and experience changed dramatically as we all began navigating the challenges of keeping our community safe and continuing our educational mission in the context of a global pandemic. Even so, we remain committed to continuing this important work and fulfilling our charge to present recommendations to the president. We will continue working diligently over the summer to complete our report.

In the meantime, we encourage you to contact us with any questions, comments, or concerns through the Commission’s MyGU site.

Furthermore, as we continue our conversation and reflection about Catholic sexual abuse, we reiterate our care and concern for those in our community who have suffered abuse and its effects. If you need to make a report or seek out support resources, please see the statement at the bottom of this email.

We are grateful to our community for participating in this important effort, and we wish everyone many blessings for strength, health, and deep peace during this time.

Gonzaga embraces a commitment to respect, protect and care for every individual. The safety of our students, staff and visitors to our campus is a top priority, and the University has no tolerance for sexual misconduct of any form. Please visit www.gonzaga.edu/report for both University and external resources (including the Jesuits West Province) to support confidential and non-confidential reporting, medical care, victims’ advocacy, and counseling services.