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Statement on Religious Vandalism in Ireland Hall

It is with a heavy heart that we write to inform you of an act of vandalism that took place on our campus in Ireland Hall. The incident was reported to Public Safety, and the ensuing investigation concluded today. Due to the impact of the incident, we want to make our community aware of our response.

Last week, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which has stood in Ireland Hall for years, was moved and ultimately purposefully dropped and shattered. This statue holds great significance to our Catholic faith, which is the heart of this university. The destroying of a holy object of any religion is a grave act of disrespect and is completely inconsistent with St. Thomas’ values and convictions.

As the Public Safety investigation proceeded, the Ireland Hall Area Director sent an email to residents denouncing the act and reminding students of their responsibility to our code of conduct. Residence Life supplemented this communication with a second denouncement. The students involved in this incident have been identified and will be subject to the student conduct process. Any non-student involved has been trespassed from campus.

This was a grave act of disrespect, which has deeply hurt many in our community.  For any student who would like support, campus ministry and counseling resources are available to help. In addition, residents of Ireland Hall will be invited to a listening session with each other and members of campus ministry. Currently, a search for a new statue for Ireland Hall is underway.

We condemn this act of religious disrespect, are saddened by the pain this event has caused, and expect all in our community to respect our important faith symbols.

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