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
I Can’t Seem To Get To You Through The U.S. Mail
The Sherbrooke Record newspaper won’t publish my letter to the editor. They say I’m fuming because I got busted for sending spam, and now I’m using it as an excuse to get back on my soapbox. Also, I accused a current School administrator of obstucting justice and called for his resignation.
– well, ya.. –
I counted to the Record that they were trying to silence me. They are the only newspaper in the region that hasn’t acknowledged that the police have reactivated my sister’s case.
The Record stated that this wasn’t true. That there have been over 18 stories in their paper about the case, and they have given ample attention to the matter – everyone in the region is aware of the Theresa Allore tragedy. Moreover, everytime they talk to the Surete du Quebec, the Srete says that in fact there isn’t an active investigation.
Well the part about the SQ is true, and it’s an ongoing problem. The Surete never confirms anything for the press. Everytime a journalist contacts the Surete, they give them their standard pitter-patter:
the case is still open because as an unsolved crime it can never be closed… if we receive new leads of course we always pursue them, but currently we have received no new information…
This, despite the fact that for the past year I have had weekly contact with a Surete investigator who is working on my sister’s case. Nevertheless, as far as the Record is concerned, I’ve been talking to a big white rabbit.
By now I have gone through about a dozen revisions for a letter I don’t even care about anymore. I’ve spent more time on this letter than some people dedicate to their doctoral thesis. I am so sick of this fucking letter.
Finally I say screw it – the Record never intended to publish anything I wrote, they were just stirnging me along to embarrass me. Then they throw me a bone. If I will agree to remove all the stuff about naming current employees, they’ll take one more look at the letter.
What a rediculous thing for me to be wasting my time on.
Finally, the editor of the Record called me back and agreed to publish my letter in tomorrow’s paper. I’ve wasted an entire week on this thing.
Part III – La Guerre Perpétuelle
I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided to respond to the woman who complained about me in the local paper.
What bothers me most is the following remark she made:
“I see no connection between a 1978 murder and the law-abiding institutions [these schools] are today. “
I’ve decided to show her exactly what the connection is.
So I draft a letter for publication in the Sherbrooke Record. The first version is libelous. I’m calling people liars left-right-and-centre. So I take out all the stuff about lying and send a second version. But who am I kidding? Even without the rehetoric they won’t publish this: I’m basically telling them to close down Bishop’s University and Champlain college: the entire English speaking population of the Eastern Townships would be out of a job.
Regrouping I decide to make my case over the phone. I call the editor of the Sherbrooke Record:
Did you get my letter?
Which one John?
(by now I’ve sent about a half-dozen)
That was the last one, I promise.
John, haven’t we covered this ground before ?
This is different. No one’s ever answered the question, “what is the connection between the School and your sister’s murder?” This student asked the question…
Bla, bla, bla…
I drone on and on. It suddenly strikes me…
why am I doing this? Is this really worth reaching out to 5,000 readers who don’t like you? I’m the guy who farted at their crowded cocktail party, they don’t want to hear this.
John, I tell you what, let me look at it overnight and I’ll give you an answer in the morning.
It’s not just the letter that bothers me. Partly I’ve been bolstered by support. A student emailed me the following. It is troubling because this comes from a recent graduate who had no knowledge of problems on campus:
I was shocked when I read about your sister’s tragic death. Though I always knew Bishop’s Campus fauna of rumours and urban myths to be very rich, I never heard any serious stories during my stay at Champlain (from summer 2001 to summer 2003).
Up until I discovered your website through that post on my blog, I thought the story concerning a ghost in McKinnon Hall was pretty much as sinister as Lennoxville’s history would ever get.
It am outraged the student body isn’t more aware of this incident, so much so, in fact, that I am at a loss for words.
PETITE GUERRE – PART II
Emboldened by insomnia, I decided to c.c. my job application letter submitted to Champlain College to my brother, the editor of the local paper, the campus priest, the school football coach, and 40 college alumni.
It was the the sort of idea that appeared brilliant at four in the morning.
Later it occured to me that strangers mights not appreciate my sense of humor. I quickly scribbled off another letter:
I am sending this email because I thought you should know that before you attended Champlain College my sister, Theresa Allore was a student at Champlain and she was murdered there. This happened 25 years ago, so I am not asking for your sympathy. But over the years, Champlain Administration and their Board of Governors have fought hard to keep this story suppressed in order to protect the College’s reputation. It has long been my suspicion that over the years, other young women have fallen victim to sexual assaults on campus, but the College has managed to hush these incidents.
If you would like more information on the details of the case and Champlain’s involvement in the affair, please visit the website: www.whokilledtheresa.com
Also, if you experienced a sexual assault on campus or know anyone who had a similar experience in their time at Champlain, or if you have information that you feel may be relevant, I would ask that you contact
me at this email or through the website.
Finally, if you are in touch with other Champlain or Bishop’s alumni I ask that you please pass this email on to them.
I thank you for your time, I’m sorry if I brought down your day, and I wish you a happy new year.
Still the damage had been done. And the response was swift and stinging:
My brother was the first to email me:
Can you drop by so I can take your temperature?
Then an alumni:
– M. Allore,
I do sympathise with your cause but could you please remove my e-mail address from your sending list.
I hope you will understand.
Still another alumni:
– What is this thing!
Please delete me from your sending list!
thank you very much!
The worst comes from a local college student.
She decides to write a letter to the editor of the local paper, but then she proceeds to copy my email at the end of her complaint. The Sherbrooke Record publishes the letter. The woman unwittingly distributes my plea to approx. 5,000 readers:
Insulted by insinuations against college
Recently I was sifting through my junk email when there was a title: Attention Champlain College Alumni. Assuming it was something for me I opened it up, and much to my surprise it was a warning about Champlain College and its 1978 involvement in the death of Theresa Allore.
The Record, The National Post and other newspapers have done articles on this case and I found no real incriminating evidence against Champlain College. I myself am insulted that Mr. Allore believes he can harass ex-Champlain students in hopes of coming to peace with the tragic and unsolved death of his sister. I am a little worried about his motives for spamming this message, and I hope that he has not caused any
problems for the school. I am saddened that this young woman was murdered and that the case is unsolved but I am confused as to why he is trying to scare off students from attending Champlain and Bishop’s. I
trust in the police force and the staff at both institutions, to uphold the law in sticky situations.
As an ex-Champlain student and a present
Bishop’s student, I see no connection between a 1978 murder and the law-abiding institutions they are today.
Bishop’s University Student
Attached is the email I received from John Allore
I considered writing a letter back to the paper to defend myself, but then decided to let things lie.
She had her point. And I was being an intollerable pain-in-the-ass.
Recent posting on Champlain College website:
JOB OPENINGS ON CAMPUS: CAMPUS DIRECTOR
Champlain Regional College is seeking the services of a DIRECTOR for CHAMPLAIN-LENNOXVILLE to work on a full-time permanent basis.
The Director’s duties will include the following:
• Participate with other College Officers in the development, formulation and revision of College-wide objectives, plans, policies and procedures and establish appropriate mechanisms to ensure their realization and implementation at Champlain – Lennoxville.
• [bla, bla, bla, bla bla ]
• Represent and promote Champlain – Lennoxville in the local community and ensure that it is a partner in the socio-economic development of the community.
• Be a member of the Director General’s Advisory Committee, attend meetings of the Executive Committee and report on activities at Champlain – Lennoxville at each meeting of the Board of Governors.
• Other tasks assigned by the Director General.
Education Graduate degree or equivalent years of schooling in an appropriate area of specialization.
Experience Eight (8) years relevant experience of which at least three (3) have been in a senior management position. Teaching experience at the post-secondary level will be considered an asset.
Other Effective communication skills in English and in French are required.
Candidates may be submitted to selection tests.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Monday , January 19, 2004
DATE OF POSTING: Friday, December 12, 2003
CLOSING DATE FOR
APPLICATIONS: Monday, January 5, 2004
Selection Committee for the Director – Champlain – Lennoxville
Attn: D Brisson
CHAMPLAIN REGIONAL COLLEGE
P.O. Box 5000
Sherbrooke ( Quebec ) J1H 5N1
January 5, 2004
Re: Application for position of Director / Champlain-Lennoxville
Dear Selection Commmittee:
Attached please find my resume that I wish to submit for the position of Director for Champlain Regional College – Lennoxville. Although my experience is primarily in Finance, I feel I possess critical skills and key experience that will prove to you I am more than qualified as a candidate for this position.
I have a twenty-five year history with Champlain College and the surrounding community of Lennoxville. As well, I maintain many strong relationships with the neighboring town of Sherbrooke, and have worked hard in the last two years at becoming bilingual. In addition I am on a first name basis with many of the current administration including my soon-to-be supervisor, Gerald Cuttting, Len Davis, and outgoing Director, Bertrand Daigneault. In fact, I believe I once met one of your first Campus Directors, Bill Matson, who once referred to my sister as a runaway-lesbian-druggy – which was his loving way of saying she wasn’t worth looking for. Of course there is that recent matter of Bernie Daigneault accusing me of making “gratuitous, unfounded and untruthful attacks on (the School’s) sterling reputation “, but I’m sure we can all put that behind us.
I have reviewed the Functions you have outlined for the incoming director; after reading my resume I’m sure you will agree I am ably qualified to carry out these duties. In addition, I know how much you value subterfuge; especially sweeping problems under the rug when they involve the affairs of pesky students. Although at present I do not possess these abilities, I will work hard under your tutelage to develop this special skill set.
Undoubtedly you will have a lot of questions, and most of those can be covered in the interview. Before we get to that, there is one request that I have for you.
If you would publicly apologize for your behavior with regard to the events surrounding the disappearance and murder of my sister, Theresa Allore, and admit that your comments and actions over the past 25 years – particularly your unfounded attempts to gratuitously
and untruthfully discredit her reputation – were base, hurtful and unwarranted; then I’m sure we can eliminate the interview and get right down to the drug screen and offer letter.
I thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to hearing from you
FUNDING FOR WOMEN’S CENTRE
A year ago I wrote the following piece for a Quebec newspaper. It’s about how a local university needed an adequately funded women’s center.
I know, I know I shouldn’t be recycling material, but here’s the beauty of it: a year later and nothing’s changed, Bishop’s University still has a women’s center run by student volunteers.
Besides, no one read the article anyway.
So here we go again…
Bishop’s needs Women’s Centre
Last fall I was contacted by a
Bishop’s University student to assist in writing a story for the Campus newspaper about the death of my sister, Theresa Allore. The student had read about my sister – who had died while a student at Champlain College over twenty-four years ago – and she felt there were a lot of parallels between Theresa’s story and activities on the campus today. Specifically in the areas of sexual assaults and date rapes; she suggested the schools still weren’t doing enough to protect women. I wrote my story and that was the last I heard from the student. Until last week. She contacted me once more, and again asked for my assistance. This time it was personal. Recently, she herself had been date raped on campus. Could I help? I am only too happy to oblige.
This year is Bishop’s 150th anniversary. Happy Birthday. In lieu of gifts, allow me to send a recommendation. As it is budget season again, I respectfully request that the school get with the times and pay for the funding of an adequately staffed Women’s Centre. Campus women need a “safe house”; somewhere they can convene to deal with such problems as date rape, date rape drugs, sexual assault, or even just a relaxing place to grab a cup of coffee. Such a Centre should not be run by student volunteers; it must be operated with a paid staff who are trained professionally to handle these complex issues.
Currently there is no central location on campus where women can go to get assistance with sexual assault issues, and those services that are offered are inadequate. A nurse – more accustomed to dealing with sports injuries than rape – and the arcane tradition of providing a priest for consultation is not cutting it. School officials will counter that Bishop’s has a Women’s Centre funded by the Student Representative Council. This is not a women’s Centre. It is a closet in the back of a building that received total funding of $405 from the SRC last year. I am told that a recent production of The Vagina Monologues was a successful fundraiser for the Centre. Oh great, and maybe if students hold a bake sale they can finally afford to buy themselves some pencils.
Do not ask your students to do the work of paid professionals. A women’s Centre cannot operate on a student volunteer basis. In this area, Bishop’s is hopelessly out of step with the rest of North America. The University of Chapel Hill where I live pays for two positions at their Centre. The University of Manitoba – pioneers in the field – also has paid staff. The University of Toronto practically has a Taj Mahal dedicated to the subject.
I ask Bishop’s administration not to go-cheap on this issue. This is not just a “women’s problem” it is an issue of safety, and the College must take ownership. Your young women students need to feel that the College administration supports them, that you take their concerns seriously. At its core a women’s Centre needs a professional staff. Students can assist on a volunteer basis, but there must be some continuity from year to year. At least two positions are necessary; a health professional and an assistant. The health care professional would provide expertise in rape crisis response, date rape drugs – which are becoming alarmingly sophisticated – and other professional concerns. An administrative assistant could run the office, answer phones, provide weekend service (which currently is not available), and keep adequate records and documentation. If the expense is too much, get Champlain College to pony-up; they don’t have a women’s Centre either.
Violence against women is everybody’s problem. Bishop’s mandate is not solely education. You have a responsibility to the welfare of your membership. I urge the College to provide the funding that this project so desperately needs.
Bush Scooped by Waldo
Tell GW to halt the mission: Eric Muller over at Is That Legal? reveals some compelling evidence of life on Mars.
Sorry folks, we’re trying to sell our house. I’ll be back on Saturday.