Part V – They Decided To Publish The Letter
Response to last week’s letter from current Bishop’s student:
Last week Bishop’s student, Rebecca Blinn complained about me in The Record for spamming her with email. She was right to do so. Though I regret my decision to send out these emails and have since apologized to Ms. Blinn and other School alumni who I may have offended, I still must take issue with Ms. Blinn’s decision to use her letter as a pretext to say my complaints against Champlain College are unjustified.
Because my sister’s case is currently under investigation by the Montreal Sûreté du Quebec, there are limits to what I can say, but in order to demonstrate to Ms. Blinn – and others – that I am not chasing windmills, allow me to show the connection between a 25-year-old murder and the present Champlain Administration.
Champlain maintains that it had – and has – done everything to cooperate with the authorities in connection with the death of my sister, Theresa. However, in 1978, Champlain Administration failed to disclose to my parents, the local police, a private
investigator, and the Sûreté du Quebec the identity of the Director of Residence – therefore the person in charge – at the King’s Hall Residence. Instead they mislead authorities – and my family – and pretended that a twenty-five-year old female grad student was in charge of the facility. The true Director of Residence was never interviewed, referred to, or interrogated in the course of the original investigation. His name does not appear in any of the files of Leo Hamel, the original Lennoxville investigator; Robert Beaulac, the ’78 private detective; or in Roch Gaudreault’s case file for the Sûreté du Quebec. It was as though the Director of Residence for Champlain College never existed.
When a young student disappears from a college residence, and is later found dead less than a mile from that residence, I would think one of the first people the authorities would want to interview is the Director of Residence.
It is well-documented in the school archives that the Director of Residence at that time was supervised by the then Director of Student Services. The Director of Student Services in 1978 is now the current Director General for Champlain College. Indeed, by my last count, close to one-third of the staff and administration from 1978 are still working at Champlain. So I find it hard to swallow that Champlain College – and members of the community for that matter – don’t know what I’m driving at, and fail to see my point.
In her letter Ms. Blinn asserted that to her satisfaction, newspapers had reported on the matter of my sister’s death and found no real incriminating evidence against Champlain College. When last I checked, newspapers are not in charge of criminal investigations. The crime of murder is precisely what the Montreal Sûreté du Quebec are currently investigating. When that process is through – only then – may a spectator to this affair “possibly” assert with any degree of confidence that Champlain College did nothing wrong.
There are other matters. Ms. Blinn states that she trusts the local police force and School staff. I wish that I had the same degree of confidence. But we are not talking about “sticky situations”. This is about violence and sexual assault against women; issues not to be trivialized. Champlain / Bishop’s present system of employing a parking enforcement unit under the guise of campus security is vulnerable to danger and woefully ill-equipped to handle issues of campus violence (sidenote: the Schools also have a Women’s Centre held together by bandaids, student volunteers, and $800 in SAC funding).
I can recall one other situation similar to that of my sister Theresa. In 1986 a young women named Jeanne Clery was murdered on the campus of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. After a lot of blaming back and forth between the parents and the school, Lehigh made amends, and became one of the founders and leaders on issues of campus security in the United States.
Lehigh showed a lot of class.
Let there be no question of my motives: I wish the School to reform, to make a true effort to act in the interest of student safety. If the community is so confident of Champlain’s improvement, and if Champlain feels it is doing a better job representing the safety concerns of students, then I ask this: reveal to us, Champlain/Bishop’s the results of your last safety audit and show us the steps you have undertaken to improve campus living in the interest of student safety.
Chapel Hill, NC