Wednesday, December 20, 2006

St Mary's U, Winona, President Resigns Because of "Inappropriate Sexual Behavior"

The president of St. Mary's University of Minnesota has resigned effective immediately after admitting to an allegation of "inappropriate sexual behavior" while he was president of a college in California.
Brother Craig Franz has been St. Mary's president since last year. According to a news release, the university received a tip from the other school that while serving as president of St. Mary's College of California, Franz "engaged in an episode of inappropriate sexual behavior with an adult student who was enrolled in that institution."Brother Craig realizes that his activity was inappropriate in light of his religious vows and his position as a leader, teacher and mentor," according to the school.
Franz has left the St. Mary's campus and is living in a religious community.
The university's provost and vice president, Jeffrey Highland, was named interim president.
In a statement, the chairman of St. Mary's Board of Trustees apologized to the campus community.
"I cannot tell you how troubling it is for me to deliver this news to you, particularly at this time of year," Robert Figliulo said. "As a second-generation alumnus of St. Mary's and the parent of both a graduate and a current student, I remain committed to Christian Brothers education. I feel very bad for all parties involved."
Franz was president of the California school for seven years. He left after a controversy involving a $112 million pledge from a donor that fell through. The school built a $26 million science center assuming that the pledge would cover a $15-million loan for the building, but the money never came in. The donor said he had been conned in a real-estate scam. School officials said Franz was not implicated in any wrongdoing.
St. Mary's University of Minnesota has about 1,800 undergraduates and about 3,750 graduate students studying on their campuses. Their main campuses are in Winona and the Twin Cities.

Star Tribune


Anonymous said...

Please, pray for us and everyone involved. Today was a very hard day at SMU, and we are positive we have so much to offer.

Anonymous said...

My sis goes there and she said she's so disgusted. She said that it took a long time to find a "brother" to fill the previous Prez spot and that Brother Craig was so involved and wonderful and had turned the school around. She said the news was shocking and that she felt even a little betrayed and that if someone does something like that and admits it, it goes against everything a brother stands for and vows. She is just sick about it and fears that now, they will find someone who is not a religious brother to be prez for the first time in...well, probably EVER. This kind of thing sours people to Catholics and their schools. I still think it's a great place and I hope to send my daughter there someday. I know all people fail, but why do they have to take so many others down with them when they do? Ugh.

LoieJ said...

Yes, this is sad. One bad judgement can change lives. Just as driving after drinking can change lives.

But remember, he was a positive mentor to many.

Anonymous said...

You have every right to be angry, but this school will survive, and I encourage you as a friend of the univ to be part of that recovery. Interim President Highland wrote a good letter to the school yesterday, on the website ( about this being a season where we look for light amid darkness. We've got too much good work to do to let it go now.