A.J. Hoy, Wooster’s Catholic campus minister, made an abrupt exit from campus earlier this semester before students arrived. Graphic by Julia Garrison ’25

Tyler Rak

Editor in Chief

Thomas Pitney

Sports Editor

Following a meeting with human resources on Jan. 2, 2024, A.J. Hoy, Wooster’s Catholic campus minister, was asked to leave campus and was escorted to his car by campus safety. The rest of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) staff was in a meeting during Hoy’s departure. Upon returning to campus for the spring semester, many students saw Hoy’s vacant office and wondered about his absence. 

The College and the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland have had a long standing relationship allowing for the presence of a Catholic campus minister at Wooster. The Diocese confirmed that their relationship with Wooster has lasted 60 years in one form or another. When asked about the current status of the Diocese’s presence on campus, President Anne McCall said that “the Diocese of Cleveland and the College are in conversations.” 

In a document that outlines the 2015 partnership agreement between the College and the Diocese, Wooster agreed to “Provide an office space … and access to copier, phone & campus extension” to the Diocese staff member. The agreement also stated that the College would “Provide a College ID, email address and parking access.” 

The most recent document detailing the arrangements between the College and the Diocese obtained by the Voice was a 2016 Religious Affiliate Policy and Agreement at The College of Wooster, in which the College reiterated these guarantees from 2015. In this document, the College agreed to “Provide an office space … and access to copier/printer, phone/campus ext., and supplies” to staff of affiliate religious bodies, one of which was the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. The College also promised “a College ID, email address, parking access, and use of recreational facilities.”

During the fall 2018 semester, Hoy was hired to fill this position with the approval of both the College and the Diocese. In his position, Hoy served as a confidential resource for students, advised the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry group (WooCatholic), helped organize Latinas Unidas (LU) events and collaborated on the planning of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Justice Dialogues. He was also a guest lecturer in a religious studies course.

Prior to this academic year, Hoy served as a part-time Catholic campus minister for both Wooster and Oberlin College. On Feb. 2, 2022, Erin Guzmán, director of religious and spiritual life, wrote a letter to the Diocese requesting that Hoy be appointed full time to Wooster, praising his “gifts for spiritual direction, pastoral care, music ministry and Christian education.” 

The Diocese’s job description for Hoy’s new role as Wooster’s full-time Newman Catholic campus minister stated that he was expected to spend approximately 60% to 65% of time “on campus for one-to-one and group discipleship.” 

A college employee wishing to speak anonymously for fear of repercussions stated that for this academic year, Hoy was contracted to work for 10 hours at the College in addition to the 40 hours he worked for the Diocese. The same source also claimed that Guzmán negotiated Hoy’s 10-hour contract with the College, but that she failed to follow through with its implementation. Guzmán did not comment on Hoy’s contract in her statement to the Voice.

According to the same anonymous college employee, CDI was placed under increased scrutiny by the administration following the student protests at President McCall’s inauguration and the departure of Cheryl Nuñez — Wooster’s former vice president for equity, inclusion and diversity. 

They also claimed that during this time, Hoy’s contract was questioned, specifically with how he split his work hours between the Diocese and the College, as well as his use of the College’s resources as part of his role. When contacted by the Voice, McCall could not confirm nor deny this information, while Guzmán did not comment. Ashley Reid, interim vice president for student affairs and dean of students, did not respond to comment in time for the publication of this article. 

Since Hoy’s removal, the College has not made a formal statement to the campus community regarding his absence. 

“[It’s] very much in keeping with the lack of transparency that we’re seeing in everything.”

Joan Friedman
Professor of History and Religious Studies

“I understand the formality of [not notifying campus], but I think the whole thing is ridiculous,” said Joan Friedman, professor of religious studies and history. “[It’s] very much in keeping with the lack of transparency that we’re seeing in everything.”

“I had to go through multiple people just to … get told that he was no longer here,” said Jenny Renner ’24, co-president of WooCatholic. “Actually telling people [about Hoy’s removal] … that would have made a difference.”

Fernanda Banuelos ’24, vice president for finance of LU, expressed similar concerns. “The first thing the College should’ve done is informed the student body about his absence,” she said. 

A student who wished to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions stated that Lin Hillis, vice president of human resources and interim vice president of equity, inclusion and diversity, and Guzmán met with students to discuss the matter. 

According to the source, the students were informed during the meeting that the College did not plan on announcing Hoy’s removal and were encouraged to tell as few students as possible. Hillis continued to explain that being escorted off campus is standard practice and that Hoy’s dismissal was not tied to conduct issues.

“The first thing the College should’ve done is informed the student body about his absence.”

Fernanda Banuelos ’24
Vice President for Finance of Latinas Unidas

 They also claimed that Hillis’s comments trivialized the situation throughout the meeting, making some students feel uncomfortable. Hillis declined a request to interview on the matter. 

Beatrice Adams, assistant professor of history, noted that Hoy was instrumental in planning the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Justice Dialogues for this academic year, even choosing the theme for the event.

“One aspect of all the panels that was kind of his brainchild was that each panel should [be] action-oriented like they should make a postcard,” Adams said.

When it came time for the events to begin, however, Hoy was not present, a surprising development given his previous involvement. Soon after, Hoy emailed Adams saying, “I will … no longer be able to participate in the committees in the same way.”

 Adams was disappointed with this outcome. When asked about implementing the panels’ action-oriented initiatives, she said, “it would have definitely been nice to have A.J. around.” 

Some regular attendees of WooCatholic also expressed disappointment with Hoy’s removal. Matthew Baumiller ’26, who was raised Methodist, characterized weekly meetings as “very different and open.” 

Various members of WooCatholic reported building close relationships with Hoy. Renner described him as “a safe spot for some people,” adding that she met with him at least once per week to engage in “personal discussions, one on one mentoring [and] help with career things.” 

Hoy also collaborated with LU, helping them to host events. According to Giselle Rivera ’24, co-president of LU, he helped the organization purchase several items for Dia de Los Muertos, such as traditional sweet bread and flowers. 

“A.J. always made Latinas Unidas feel welcome and seen on a campus that at times makes us feel invisible,” said Banuelos. 

Rivera expressed similar sentiments, stating that, “he was a white man, but he still lived up to what he said and his expectations with us.”

As students noticed his absence, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland shared a written statement with an update on Hoy’s current status. “In a move that will allow him to expand our ministry to serve students from the nearby Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, the diocese has relocated Catholic Campus Ministry to St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Wooster.” The Diocese also confirmed that “A.J. Hoy is still the assigned campus minister.” 

The Voice also contacted Religious and Spiritual Life (RSL) about how they plan to fill the vacancy. Guzmán said in a written statement, “the College’s commitment to supporting the religious and spiritual lives of our campus community, including our Catholic community, transcends the specific individuals providing it. I look forward to continuing programmatic and individual support for anyone who seeks it.”

These recent changes to RSL have left some students, faculty and staff searching for answers. “I would be interested in not only what is the plan moving forward, but how are we gonna engage key stakeholder groups?” Adams said.

McCall also highlighted the importance of cultivating religious life on campus in the future. “If students are feeling loss, I feel for you,” she said. “I think part of the reaction to that is thinking about … where do we go from here?”

In that vein, RSL hopes to support student groups like WooCatholic. When asked about the future of the organization, Renner expressed optimism, but also uncertainty.

Many faculty and students felt that Hoy was an important campus resource. “He seemed very, very supportive of the students,” said Adams. Rivera described Hoy as “very … progressive and wanting to showcase all sides of Catholicism.” 

These community members’ aspirations for the future of the College include creating a welcoming environment for all. More specifically, Rivera hopes that Wooster can be a campus that “[makes] sure that all religious and spiritual life is represented equally.”