“The Purple Letter” (aka letter to Holy Cross pres. from Worcester City Council)

editor’s note: This letter (below), signed by the Worcester City Council, will most likely be discussed tonight at Worcester’s City Council meeting (7 p.m., Channel 12 on your TV, if you don’t want to make the trek to City Hall). It was mailed to Father McFarland, president of Holy Cross college, November 15, 2010.


The Letter:

Rev. Michael McFarland
President, College of the Holy Cross
One College Street
Worcester, MA 01610

Dear Father McFarland:

We, the members of the Worcester City Council, are frustrated and disappointed by the repeated examples of poor behavior by some students who attend the College of the Holy Cross. We write this letter to you to reinforce our support for City Manager O’Brien’s efforts to engage you personally and ask for your leadership to change the long-standing culture of disrespecting the neighborhoods of Mount Saint James.

As you are well aware, there have been significant efforts to break the destructive behaviors, especially last year. Your staff and your students have been active and engaged in bringing solutions as have neighbors, the Worcester Police Department, City Manager’s Office, Code Enforcement, the Property Review Team, and several city councilors. This year’s activities appeared to hold promise of lasting progress. However the past month has shown us that any progress was short-lived. The deterioration of this progress is both disturbing and unacceptable. We believe that your clear and vocal leadership with clear and consistent consequences for misusing the neighborhood is required for real and lasting culture change.

Holy Cross is a cherished institution in Worcester that is part of the fabric of this community. It is simply part of who we are in Worcester. However, as elected representatives of Worcester’s citizens, we stand together to ask you to state unequivocally that “these off-campus behaviors must and will stop for now and evermore.” We will support your effort in any way possible to curb underage drinking, excessive alcohol consumption, and large gatherings along with the unruly behaviors that accompany such, but your voice must lead the charge.

This situation has gone too far for too long and needs to be addressed now. We look forward to working with you in respectful partnership that is befitting an institution as is the College of the Holy Cross and the City of Worcester.


(Worcester City Council)