Whatever the proximate cause for the Holy Cross community’s Crusader debate, it is possible (and to be hoped) that students and faculty will have a meaningful debate.
More than half a century ago, when editors at the student newspaper at Worcester’s College of the Holy Cross decided to change the name of their publication from The Tomahawk to The Crusader, it must have seemed a safe enough move.
But college campuses back in 1955 were nothing like college campuses in 2017, where almost any word or action, no matter how innocuous, can cause an individual or group to take offense, launch a protest, or issue a cry for discussions regarding diversity and respect.
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It is hardly surprising that faculty and students at Holy Cross have decided to discuss the name of their newspaper. The crusader is, after all, an unmistakably Christian image that belongs to a particularly sanguinary period of world history, the 175 or so years from 1095 to 1272, when Christian kings and nobles in Europe organized military campaigns to wrest back control of the Holy Land from Muslim conquerors.
Perhaps only divine protection can explain how an image so historically burdened has managed to survive this long. Imagine the microaggressions Holy Cross students have suffered during these last six decades.
If only their consciousness had been raised years ago!