Alitheia-Αλήθεια - July 14, 1997

[ A Letter to the Editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education ]  *)

To: Editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education
Re: Article on Hellenic College/Holy Cross dated 7/3/97

Your article on the "firing" of the two professors and the president at Hellenic College and Holy Cross Cheek Orthodox School of Theology ("School") is not accurate as to the information contained in it and thus misleads your audience. As a theological student at Holy Cross for the last two years and an attorney for ten years before attending the School, I am privy to certain information regarding the events upon which you are reporting.

None of the three professors that you referred to as being "fired" were in fact fired. Fr. Emmanuel Clapsis is a non-tenured professor whose contract is from year to year, Thus, at the end of each School year, he does not have a contract with the School, It must be renewed. Failure to renew does not amount to a "firing" for this term carries with it specific legal consequences where as the former term does not.

Nor has Fr. Stylianopoulos been fired. He is in the process of being reassigned to serve at a full-time parish. Although he is a tenured professor, he is first and foremost, like the other priest/professors, a priest in the Church. As such, he and the other professors involved in this matter, wear two hats, Thus, his membership on the faculty is subject to his duties and requirements as a priest.

Neither has Fr. Calivas been fired. He is still employed as a professor at the School, However, has been asked by the Archbishop to resign as the President but is refusing to do so,

The "alleged " sexual misconduct which these professors claim is the basis of their "firings," is completely false. As mentioned above, the President and the two professors were not fired. Second, there was no "cover up" involved in the appeal process (i.e. the review and decision of the appeal from the accused student/priest to the former dean, Fr, George Dragas). The disciplinary committee's finding was based upon hearsay evidence - there were no eye witnesses to the event. Further, members of the disciplinary committee pressured certain students to make these allegations against the accused student/priest. Pressure was also put on Fr, Dragas to prevent him from conducting an independent review of the case and he was "warned" about coming up with a decision which did not agree with the disciplinary committee's findings. When he refused to do so (by conducting an independent investigation as he is required to do), these three professors attempted to manipulate the entire appeal process which followed despite the fact that the Student Handbook clearly sets out the required procedure.

As a lawyer, I was shocked to see such a blatant and willful disregard of the entire process by four "seasoned professors" who are "highly respected among their colleagues" (as the Boston Globe refers to them). However, time and the attorney-client privilege do not permit to further detail their abuses in this matter. Suffice it to say that Fr. Dragas did the right thing - he put a stop to their attempt to black ball several students and student/priests who were at this gathering, He has exposed these "highly respected" professors for what they have done (or are attempting to do). The story which they are giving to the press is factually inaccurate and it is merely their attempt to "cover up" their wrongdoing in this incident as well as to punish Fr, Dragas (who since his employment with the School has been opposing their misconduct).

The basis of the action of these professors in sensationalizing this incident and then going public is strictly retaliatory. They are reacting to the Greek student/priests involved who had written a letter to the Synod of Greek Orthodox Bishops which criticized these faculty members for, among other things, their poor spiritual leadership and watered-down Orthodox teachings. This letter was somehow leaked out to the Greek press. Although true, this obviously caused embarrassment to these priests who then set out to find a way to expel these Greek student/priests and anyone associated with them (all of the students who were given notices of expulsion or other disciplinary notices are from Greece which shows an open anti-Greek sentiment). A further motivation for their actions is their open disagreement and opposition with the Mother Church and Archbishop Spyridon. Thus, this "cover up" story of these professors is nothing more than their attempt to distract as well as confuse the public and the Church members who are not aware of, or privy to, the true facts in these matters.

Additionally, I have personally spoken to the student/priest who is being accused of the alleged sexual misconduct as well as several other students and student/priests who were in attendance at the social gathering. The accused student/priest has told me nothing to support the allegations against him. Further, the student and student/priest who were involved in this incident have apparently resolved their differences between themselves.

You must recognize that the new Archbishop, under obedience to the Mother Church and its head, Patriarch Bartholomew, is organizing and implementing the necessary and required changes of the Greek Orthodox Church in America not only at the School but in every area of the Church. That the School (as well as the Church) has problems is no secret. I only ask that you present accurately both sides of the story and admit or correct the misstatements that you may have inadvertently made.

I realize that this letter is long but I ask that you print it in your paper, If you are unable to print it in its entirety, please feel free to "shorten" the letter to meet your paper's requirements. If you wish to contact me for further details in these matters, please feel free to contact me at (414) 771-0779.

Timothy Krantz

[ Alitheia-Αλήθεια |  -  July 14, 1997 ]

*)  A letter never published by "The Chronicle of Higher Education"