University Of Scranton Stripping Scranton Bishops’ Names From Buildings
The University of Scranton will change the names of three campus buildings that honor Diocese of Scranton bishops accused of covering up sexual abuse, university President the Rev. Scott R. Pilarz said in a letter to the university community Monday.
A grand jury report made public last week implicated Bishops James C. Timlin, J. Carroll McCormick and Jerome D. Hannan in covering up sexual abuse against children. University leaders had been considering how to best respond to the “disturbing report,” Pilarz wrote in the letter. On Monday, Pilarz consulted with a group of faculty, administrators, alumni and student leaders and recommended a course of action to the university’s board of trustees, which unanimously approved renaming the buildings.
“With sympathy for and in solidarity with victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Scranton, the University of Scranton will rescind honorary degrees and rename campus buildings recognizing Bishops Jerome D. Hannan, J. Carroll McCormick and James C. Timlin,” Pilarz said in the letter. “As documented in the report, these bishops covered up the crimes and misdeeds of men who were under their jurisdiction and placed children in harm’s way.”
The buildings will be renamed as follows:
McCormick Hall will be renamed MacKillop Hall in honor of St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop, an Australian nun who exposed sexual abuse of children by a priest. She died in 1909 at the age of 67. Pope Benedict XVI canonized her in 2010. She is the first Australian recognized as a saint.
Timlin House will have its name removed and Mulberry Plaza, which houses the building, will be renamed Romero Plaza in honor of the late Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador. Romero, who was murdered while saying Mass in 1980, is to be canonized by Pope Francis in October.
Hannan Hall will be renamed Giblin-Kelly Hall in honor of Brendan J. Giblin and William H. Kelly Jr. Giblin was killed in a car crash while on spring break in Florida in 2006. A senior, Giblin was a co-captain of the swim team at the university. Kelly graduated from the university in 1993 and died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center. Their families and friends have kept their memories alive by supporting students at the university through scholarships.
On campus Monday night, senior Uzoma Agbasionye talked with a friend, an alumna of the university. Both said they were saddened by the findings of the grand jury report and glad to hear about the university taking action.
Agbasionye said he read the letter shortly after it went out. He was impressed with the decision to name a building after MacKillop, a whistleblower who spoke up about child sex abuse at the hands of a priest in 1870s Australia. That gesture sends a message, Agbasionye said.
“It’s a meaningful reminder of why the name was changed,” he said.
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