University of Scranton responds to Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report
SCRANTON (WOLF) -- Less than a week after a Pennsylvania Grand Jury released their report on child sexual abuse within several state Dioceses, the University of Scranton is reacting.
A letter from President Scott Pilarz, S.J. reads:
"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."
As documented in the report, these three bishops covered up dozens of cases of child abuse by men under their jurisdiction.
"A strong message needs to be sent that this is not going to be allowed, and especially not at the university," said one man who lives near the university and wished to not be identified.
Hannan Hall will be renamed for two former students who died tragically.
Timlin House will be named for a Salvadorian archbishop.
And McCormick Hall will be renamed for an Australian nun who exposed child abuse.
The school's board of trustees unanimously approved the changes.
"They're not turning a blind eye to it, they're acknowledging it, they're taking care of it, and they're doing something about it. They're not just letting it go like it has been," said Faith Scotch.
She starts her first day of freshman year on Monday, and will be living in the dorm formerly named for Bishop Hannan.
"It's crazy because they have a building to honor this bishop, but then it comes out that this bishop is not really one to be honored. So, for it to be changed is kind of like oh, wow... who would have really known prior?" she said.
Gage Albertson is now taking grad classes, but as a freshman, created lifelong friends and memories in Hannan Hall.
"When I hear that it will be renamed and there will no longer be a Hannan Hall... it's rough," he said.
While he says the change hurts, he also feels it's the right thing to do.
"It's upsetting to hear that members of the church would cover up such wrongdoing and I don't think it's what the university stands for," said Albertson.
The man who lives near the university also attends a local church, and says a fresh start calls for everything to be out in the open.
"Everybody makes mistakes, but now it's time to correct the mistakes, and you just can't do it partially, you gotta do it whole," he said.
The University of Scranton says the names were officially changed Monday evening.
As for physically changing the names on buildings, that is ongoing and say they don't currently have a completion date.
You can read the school's full response to the grand jury report here.