archive of original WKT website 2001-01

Sherbrooke RecordLetter to the EditorAugust 21st, 2002
In reference to the article in the Sherbrooke Record about the death of my sister Theresa Allore while a student at Champlain college in 1978, on behalf of my entire family, I would like to say that we find the current actions of the School, and the comments of its Director, Bertrand Daignault, insensitive, insulting and offensive.Mr. Daigneault states that the school provided a shuttle bus service to/from Compton and if students hitchhiked, it was a personal decision. To be precise, Champlain offered a mere 10 shuttle buses per day, and if you missed one of these buses you were out of luck. Allow me to pose a question to you Mr. Daigneault: Theresa missed the 6:00 PM shuttle bus from Lennoxville to Compton on Friday, November 3, 1978, the day she died. The next bus wasn’t scheduled until 11:00 PM. How was she supposed to get back to her home? The only options the school left her were to wait around for five hours, idling until close to midnight, or to hitchhike. Nevertheless, twenty-three years later the School is still making the same implication: Theresa made a “personal decision” and got what was coming to her.Shuttle buses and hitchhiking are secondary to the main issue. The fact is Theresa was last seen at a Champlain facility, and her body was found less then a mile from that facility. Champlain’s “mission” may be to offer courses, but as a boarding facility it has a custodial responsibility to protect the young students that make up its membership. Was it prudent not to warn anyone that there where sexual assaults taking place at your School two weeks prior to Theresa’s death? Was it prudent not to take seriously the two editorials in student newspapers in February and November of 1978 concerning violence against women on campus? Former administrator, Tom Cavanagh, states that “violence wasn’t on the radar screen”? It was screaming for close to a year, “red alert! red alert!”In the Record’s article a former teacher states that, at the time of Theresa’s disappearance, he tried to persuade School administration to search for her, but the School refused. Where have I heard this before? Seven days after my sister went missing some students, including my brother, went to Dr. Matson, then a Director at Champlain, and urged him to organize a search party. Dr. Matson’s response was, “I’m not going to turn this School upside-down for some kid.” Apalling.Clearly Champlain has some questions to answer. Yet, last week Mr. Daigneault issued a “gag-order,” and indicated that the School would talk to no one but the Police, and then would only address aspects specific to an “official” investigation into Theresa’s death. Well, there should be an investigation, and what should be investigated is Champlain’s conduct at the time of my sister’s death, and their attempts in the aftermath to go to any length to protect the School’s reputation.The more Champlain refuses to answer questions, the more they look like they have something to hide. The longer they remain silent, the longer these questions will drag on, well into the School year, right into registration for next fall’s classes.John AlloreChapel Hill, North Carolina

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