In the wake of recent sexual harassment allegations revolving around former Fox News journalist and television host Bill O’Reilly and his release from the network, there has been much speculation as to whether Marist will continue to accept donations from O’Reilly. In the past, he has donated a sum of money to be used as an endowed scholarship to a deserving student. The scholarship, entitled The Winifred & William O’Reilly Scholarship, named in honor of O’Reilly’s parents, has been “awarded annually to upperclass students with financial need. A commitment to community involvement is also a consideration,” according to the Endowed Scholarship page on the Marist College website.
Marist College has made it clear in the past that the institution does not tolerate sexual misconduct of any type. According to the Marist College website, the community “is committed to taking bold steps toward eradicating all forms of interpersonal violence on our campus and creating an environment where all members of our community can learn, work, and socialize without experiencing or fearing discrimination, sexual assault, harassment, dating/domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation. As part of this commitment, all students, faculty, and staff will complete our training program entitled ‘Speak Up: Understanding and Preventing Sexual Violence.’” Furthermore, recently the school circulated the Sexual Assault Survey which was emailed to students and is designed to find out more about students’ perceptions of how the school handles issues relating to Title IX. More information regarding participation in this survey was provided to students via email and the frequently asked questions can be accessed here.
According to freshman Shannon Gilhuly, “I think that in light of recent events, the school really needs to think about how they want to represent themselves with the scholarship. He is a big-name donor; however, in light of what happened, they also have to think about what it’s saying about the university or the college and how they want to show themselves to the world. Especially because Title IX is so big here, they really need to evaluate to see if they want to…even though he is an alum…they need to see how they want to associate themselves further with him.”
As of May 3, 2017, no official statement has been released by the institution concerning the scholarship or its continuation in the 2017-18 academic year.↑ Back to top