NEW YORK (NY)
Regis High School [New York NY]
April 12, 2021
The following letter from Anthony DiNovi ’80, Chair of the Regis High School Board of Trustees, was shared via email with the Regis community on Sunday, April 11.
Dear Regis High School Community,
On February 28, 2021, we informed you that the Board of Trustees had placed our school president, Daniel Lahart, SJ, on administrative leave after learning of allegations that Fr. Lahart acted inappropriately with adult members of the Regis community, and hired a third-party investigator to fully review the matter. Over the last six weeks, the Regis community has responded as I knew it would. Our outstanding faculty has been devoted to our students, minimizing any impact on them. The students themselves have responded to the challenge, remaining focused on their academic and extracurricular activities. The administrative team has stepped up to fill any voids seamlessly. Our alumni as always have been incredibly supportive. The Regis parents have been terrific, recently completing another successful Parents’ Club auction. And the Board of Trustees has been tireless in their efforts, responding to every request for assistance with enthusiasm. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the entire Regis community.
The investigation is now coming to a close, and the Board of Trustees has determined, based on the findings of the third party investigator, that Fr. Lahart engaged in inappropriate and unwelcome verbal communications and physical conduct, all of a sexual nature, with adult members of the Regis community, including subordinates. This conduct was non-consensual, and moreover, continued notwithstanding express requests from the affected parties for the conduct to cease. Upon first learning of this conduct at the end of February, the Board immediately placed Fr. Lahart on administrative leave. Last week, the school notified Fr. Lahart that the Board—with the approval of the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus—intended to remove him for cause as President, which we expect will take effect on April 21, 2021.
In order to protect the privacy of the individuals involved, we will not be disclosing further details about the investigation. We assure you that the investigation was conducted with a commitment to due process. Fr. Lahart was invited to participate, but declined to do so. Please know the Board did not come to its decision lightly and took seriously its obligation to act with transparency, integrity, and compassion in service of our community, both with respect to Fr. Lahart and to those members of our community who were harmed by his conduct. We are committed to ensuring a safe, respectful, and caring workplace for all current and future Regis staff members.
In parallel to the investigation, and consistent with my prior stated commitment to you, the Board has worked diligently to identify an Interim President. We are pleased to announce that we have appointed Christian Talbot as Interim President, effective immediately.
Christian is an exceptionally qualified candidate, deeply familiar with Regis and Ignatian values. Christian is a Regis graduate from the class of 1993. In 1994 and 1995 he founded the Regis-Gonzaga Summer Program, which was an early prototype for the REACH Program. He worked at Regis from 1998 through 2012 in various roles as an English teacher, Chair of the English department, head of the Faculty Council, and a founding faculty member and the first Dean of English for the REACH Program. From 2012 through 2017, Christian served as the Head of School (ie, President) at Malvern Preparatory School, an independent Catholic middle school and college preparatory high school in Malvern, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. After Malvern Prep, Christian founded Basecamp Consulting, through which he has worked with high schools around the country on governance and strategy issues. Since 2019, Christian has also taught a course entitled “Major Gift Fundraising: Strategy in Practice” as a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2015, Christian has served on the Regis Board of Trustees, where he has been a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Education and Mission Committee. In addition, since 2017, Christian has served on the Fordham Prep Board of Trustees, where he has been a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Mission Effectiveness Committee. Christian graduated from Georgetown University in 1997 and has a Master’s Degree from the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. He also has completed the “Seminars in Ignatian Leadership” offered by the Jesuit Secondary Education Association (now known as the Jesuit Schools Network).
The Board is thrilled to have found a candidate with the experience required to run an institution like Regis who also knows the Regis community and has participated in its operations at every level. We know he will steer the school through the remainder of the school year with skill and integrity. I know Christian well, and I could not be more excited by this choice. I hope you will all join me in congratulating and welcoming Christian in his role. Christian will certainly be among the candidates considered as the Board continues its work toward identifying and naming a full-time President.
I closed my letter of February 28 by noting that Regis will emerge from this experience even stronger. After the last six weeks, I am convinced that we as a community have learned from this experience and will be better equipped than ever to fulfill our mission of transforming lives and forming Men for Others. Collectively, we have greeted a difficult moment with transparency, responsiveness, and compassion. The spirit with which we have faced these challenges is evidence of our bright future.
As always, thank you for your support for and dedication to Regis.