LINK:  University of Chicago Magazine
About the Magazine | Advertising | Archives | Contact
LINK:  April 2005LINK:  featuresLINK:  chicago journalLINK:  investigationsLINK:  peer reviewLINK:  in every issue

link:  e-mail this to a friend

In Every Issue ::

Letters...Why don’t you return to the status quo ante?

Chaplain's resignation

In light of the recent resignation of Father Michael Yakaitis [See “Chicago Journal,”] and the subsequent community response, we, as a group of Catholic students and leaders on campus, desire to express our reaction and to hope that all who read this letter will come to an understanding of why many in the Catholic student community feel the way they do.

First, we wish to express our deep sorrow at the loss of a great leader, priest, and man. During his years at Calvert House, Father Yakaitis’s innumerable accomplishments included a greatly enhanced sense of community among the entire Catholic population, the creation and efficient direction of several new and popular programs, and a dramatic increase in attendance across the spectrum. “Father Mike” empowered students to become their own leaders and encouraged everyone to implement his or her own ideas. Because of his direction, Calvert House is now a more-or-less completely student-run initiative and requires little outside help for the accomplishment of its mission. In addition, it is now the largest, most active religious group on the University campus, and its work is highly respected in many circles. Taking these facts into consideration, we state with complete confidence and faith that the Catholic community will recover from this upset and become stronger and more cohesive than before.

There is no excuse for the actions of Father Mike 15 years ago, and we do not advance that all should be forgotten or ignored. We do, however, believe that the spirit of Christian forgiveness is at work and that we will recover from this shock, emerging as a community now bound by a renewed faith.

At the same time, however, we ask readers of this letter to understand that Father Mike recognized his problem 15 years ago, sought counseling and therapy then, and voluntarily resigned to spare Calvert House embarrassment or additional hardship. It is important to realize that this does not fit into the same category as other cases such as the abuse of minors, and we implore readers to realize the profound differences. It must be understood that none of us regrets Father Mike’s placement here in 2001.

We ask the Chicago community, in particular the students, faculty, and administration of the University, to understand that we have experienced a great injury and to acknowledge that we are suffering together. We appreciate the compassion and understanding that has already been expressed by numerous members of the University community, and Calvert House continues to welcome constructive dialogue from anyone and invites those with opinions on recent events to discuss them with us.

The Catholic Students Association
at the University of Chicago

Letters for publication must be signed and may be edited. To ensure a range of views, we encourage letters of fewer than 300 words. Write Editor, University of Chicago Magazine, 5801 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637. Or e-mail: