McKernan’s Response to Archabbot’s Response to Westinghouse Letter

May 2, 2013

Archabbot Douglas Nowicki,

Your response [ View ] to the emails sent out by a third party [ View ] who had written for the purpose of informing alumni, faculty and student representatives about the allegations against you, and SNAP’s call for you to step down, was vicious, vindictive, unprofessional, and manipulative. It was deeply concerning to me, an alum of St Vincent College, to see such loathsome behavior out of a representative and administrator of my Alma Matter, and even more appalling to see a representative of the Catholic Church and the Benedictine order conduct himself with such deplorable behavior.

In regards to the investigation that occurred between 2009 and 2012 into allegations against you, you would have served the college and the St Vincent community best by stepping down from your position so the investigation could have continued without question of transparency or legitimacy. It should not matter who raised the allegations against you – your decision to remain in your role raises questions about not only the investigation itself, but about you and your priorities and whether or not you have the best intentions for the archabbey, the university, or the Catholic Church.

In regards to your comments about Fr Mark Gruber – if he were, as you claim in your email, guilty of producing or possessing child pornography then I have to ask why the police who investigated the accusations against Fr Mark, you, or authorities within the Catholic Church, have not pursued his being charged and convicted by federal authorities. At a time the archabbey – and the Catholic Church itself – is struggling against accusations of corruption and concealed wrong doings, publicly admitting that no criminal charges have been filed against someone supposedly found guilty of such behavior only further strains the reputation of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, if the decision to drop a lawsuit is a show of guilt, then by your logic your decision not to pursue legal action against these defamatory comments about you is equally a sign of guilt.

As a graduate of St Vincent College, and as a Catholic, I have respectfully contacted you on a number of occasions to express my concern over the controversies surrounding the university and the archabbey, and each time I have been treated with disrespect and disregard. It has only been recently, upon my employment as a library director, that anyone from the university administration has been in contact with me regarding my opinions of St Vincent – and only from the perspective of my being a potential financial contributor or patron.

I currently hold a VERY expensive degree from Saint Vincent College in Anthropology – a subject I happen to love and desired to pursue in both my professional and educational career, however, since your public attack and uncalled for destruction of Fr Mark Gruber’s professional, personal, and academic reputation, this degree has become irrelevant to potential employers and academic institutions. I hold the university – with your leadership – responsible for the decision to base an entire degree program on a single individual, and then for your decision to very publicly destroy that individual’s professional and academic credibility. Thus, you left every student enrolled in the Anthropology program vulnerable without care or concern – or apology – for your negligence. I sincerely hope fellow students and graduates from other departments will take into account how you have handled the situation with Fr Mark Gruber, as it could just as easily be their degree next that becomes as undesirable.

Considering that lawsuits are your measure of seriousness, perhaps I and fellow Anthropology graduates who received our degree with Fr Mark Gruber’s departmental approval should consider legal avenues to reclaim the cost of tuition, time, and to account for the underperformance of our educational records in the absence of a reputable degree or faculty reference.

By your continued aggression toward Fr Mark Gruber, and refusal to act in the best interest of the archabbey and college, you serve only to represent yourself as an individual with excessive ambition and disregard for others. If the accusations of those who complained against your character was not enough to convince me their claims are legitimate, your continued questionable behavior has.


Denise M. McKernan
Class 2005 St Vincent College
BA Anthropology, BA History