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Fisher rector issues sudden resignation

| Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fr. Brad Metz, rector of Fisher Hall, sent an email to Fisher Hall residents early Thursday morning announcing his resignation from his position, effective immediately.

“After discussion with administrators in Student Affairs, Human Resources and the Holy Cross community, I apologize for regrettable decisions that I made last weekend that failed to live up to the values of our community,” Metz said in the email. “I will be departing from Fisher in the next couple of days to address these issues and thus resigning my position as Rector effective immediately, and I ask for your prayers.

“David Halm, C.S.C. will be serving as interim rector for the remainder of the academic year, and I know that he will lead our community with integrity, compassion and good judgment.”

Metz declined to comment beyond what he stated in the email.

Heather Rakoczy Russell, associate vice president for residential life, confirmed the information in Metz’s email was accurate and declined to comment further on the matter. She said the Office of Student Affairs would seek and hire Metz’s permanent replacement through the annual search to fill vacant rector positions.

“Student Affairs is currently engaged in the regular spring search to fill any anticipated vacancies for the 2014 – 2015 academic year,” she said. “I will hire the next Fisher rector together with all new rectors as a result of this regular spring search.”

Halm, a seminarian who was serving his first year as a Fisher Hall assistant rector, declined to comment on Metz’s resignation. He thanked the residents for their concern and compassion and asked them to continue respecting Metz’s privacy in an email to the hall sent Friday morning.

“The Congregation of Holy Cross, Fr. Brad’s religious community and mine … is an incredible brotherhood and is rallying around Fr. Brad during these days of transition,” he said. “He is being provided with support and love and is also blessed to be near family, including his mom, in South Bend. Right now the best way our community can support him is to pray for him.”

Hall vice president and sophomore Michael Lindt said Metz and Halm addressed Fisher Hall residents Tuesday night.

“[Metz] basically said that he was sorry for the circumstances surrounding his resignation and that he was sad to leave because we were like sons to him,” he said. “… After Fr. Brad’s speech, he left, and David Halm, the new rector, as well as the rest of the hall staff spoke about the great unity the dorm had shown.

“We are using this tragedy as an opportunity for growth, and the brotherhood that we all share will only grow stronger through trial.”

Lindt said Metz remained in the dorm through Easter weekend. He said he spoke briefly with Metz, who was serving his third year as rector, over the weekend.

Lindt said the residents of Fisher Hall do not know what prompted Metz’s resignation. He said they expressed concern for their former rector after receiving his email.

“[The reason for Metz’s resignation] was kept vague, and I think that was good because at first, we were kind of wondering what happened, but overall most of us figured it wasn’t really important to know what happened, just to know that something did happen that caused him to resign,” Lindt said. “After we got the email … it was just kind of disheartening too.

“We were very sad, because basically our father figure in the dorm was leaving us. But after we got over that initial shock, the big thing that everyone was worrying about was actually Fr. Brad because we didn’t know what was going on, so we wanted to be as supportive as possible without breaching his privacy.”

Fisher Hall president Erik Siegler said Metz encouraged the formation of a tight-knit community in Fisher Hall.

“He may not have been in Fisher Hall for a long time, but he has impacted many Fishermen,” Siegler said. “He was able to teach patience and respect to many of the residents of Fisher Hall in his short time here. … I will say he will be greatly missed.”

Sophomore Adam Rene Rosenbaum said Metz’s resignation “came as a shock.” He said he did not know what prompted Metz to resign.

“I was completely shocked,” Rosenbaum said. “I hadn’t really heard of anything; this kind of came out of nowhere.”

Rosenbaum said he and other residents showed support for Metz on Thursday by leaving him notes and signing a Fisher Hall oar to give him as a gift.

“A lot of people, myself included, left sticky notes outside of Fr. Brad’s door just thanking him for all he has done for us individually and for the Fisher community, and also some people were going around with a Fisher oar getting people to sign the oar because everyone loves Fr. Brad,” Rosenbaum said. “He had the spirit and he established the sense of brotherhood that we pride ourselves on in Fisher. The fact that he’s leaving us is really sad for our community.”

Lindt said Metz supported the strengthening of “a fantastic brotherhood” in the hall. He said he hoped he and other residents would be able to maintain a relationship with Metz.

“The biggest legacy I think he’ll leave is, in a sense, he embodied Fisher Hall,” Lindt said. “He was our director, but he also had a very strong determination and desire for us to really grow in brotherhood and he really embodied that.

“He very much enabled us to have the brotherhood that we have in Fisher Hall.”


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About Lesley Stevenson

Lesley Stevenson is a senior news writer for The Observer after previously serving as News Editor and an Assistant Managing Editor. She is a senior from Memphis, Tennessee, studying Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) and American Studies and living in Breen-Phillips Hall. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @lcstevenson, and visit her website at lcstevenson.wordpress.com

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