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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2 Responses

  1. Ali Khabib

    “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.” I seriously hope that this does not indicate the university means not to destroy, say, a Satanic Pentagram if one should show up in a student’s dorm? And surely it does not mean to imply that there is an equality between a statue of Zeus and an image of the Mother of God? I too would like to know whether classes will be canceled for a sit-in, as they were when the “n” word appeared on a student’s door, or when the POTUS was elected?

  2. Caitlin Stollenwerk

    I firmly hope that St. Thomas intends to handle this act of sacrilege against the Blessed Virgin Mary without delay. Could St. Thomas please confirm that it intends to cancel classes and make clear to students via a public gathering and address from the President that acts of vandalism against sacred Catholic objects is obscene and must not occur again? I take it that, with the school’s reaction to recent vandalism centered around race, it intends to take as strong of steps to counter this attack as it did ones in the recent past.


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