Marriage-Supporting Graduate Barred From Providence College Campus After Giving Administrator What-For

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A recent graduate of Providence College who made statements supporting the Christian view of marriage has lost his job at a bookstore on campus after an administrator got a no-trespass order against him following an encounter over her job performance.

Michael Smalanskas, who graduated this past Sunday, was irked by the Catholic college’s refusal to do anything about two men who he said threatened to kill him during a pre-graduation formal dance last week at Foxwoods.

Smalanskas had been a marked man on campus this past semester since March 1, when he posted material on a dormitory bulletin board supporting marriage as being only between one man and one woman. At the time he was working as a residential assistant in the building, and one of his tasks was to fill the bulletin board once every other month.

The incident led to protests and a march against homophobia in late March. Eventually the furor died down, and Smalanskas says he thought it was in the past until a fellow senior asked him to step out of the room during the formal dance last Thursday. That led to the tense encounter where he says he was threatened.

Smalanskas said he filed a complaint with the college against the two men, but was subsequently told the college officials decided not to do anything about it until after graduation – effectively, after the college would have any leverage over them.

Back in March, after the campus erupted over the bulletin board posting, a cartoon depicting Smalanskas being anally raped was found in the bathroom of the dormitory building where he lived. Providence College investigated the incident but nothing came of it, Smalanskas said.

Around that time, an administrator, Kristine C. Goodwin, vice president for student affairs, encouraged students who held the march against homophobia. The same administrator, Smalanskas said, appeared to have muted interest in the threats made against him.

At a pre-graduation Mass last Saturday afternoon in a school gymnasium, Smalanskas said he happened upon Goodwin on his way back from communion. He said they briefly made eye contact.

After Mass, he said, he waited outside the venue for his family, and Goodwin walked by him. Trying to get her attention over the crowd noise, Smalanskas said he spoke to her in a raised voice.

“I said her name. She wouldn’t look up. And all I said was, ‘You should be ashamed of yourself. They threatened to rape and murder me, and you did nothing about it’,” Smalanskas told New Boston Post. “She never looked up.”

Later that evening, college officials threatened not to allow Smalanskas to attend his graduation the next day, but they relented. Goodwin was provided with a bodyguard who accompanied her everywhere during the ceremony, Smalanskas said.

On Monday, Goodwin sought and received a temporary restraining order against Smalanskas from a Superior Court judge in Providence. It lasts 10 days.

Goodwin’s account in her complaint seeking the restraining order differs from Smalanskas’s in some details.

During the pre-graduation Mass, she said, “as Mr. Smalanskas exited the line for communion he stopped approximately 10 feet away from me and glared at me for 5-8 seconds,” adding that “He was visibly angry …”

When she left Mass, she said, “it appeared that Mr. Smalanskas was waiting for me. As soon as he spotted me he began yelling my name louder and louder. He yelled something to the effect ‘You should be ashamed of yourself Kristine Goodwin, Kristine Goodwin – they threatened to rape and murder me and you did nothing Kristine Goodwin.’ … He got louder and louder either by walking closer and following me or yelling louder. I was more fearful for my physical safety than I have ever been. He seemed out of control and lacked any judgment about the scene he created. I went to a secure location and called for help. While his words were not expressly threatening his actions toward me have escalated quickly.”

She also made a reference to a meeting she had with Smalanskas’s mother and father earlier in the semester.

“I am also afraid of Mr. Smalanskas’s parents, especially his father, who has access to weapons and information about my whereabouts,” Goodwin’s complaint states.

Smalanskas’s father is a police officer.

Smalanskas said he poses no threat to Goodwin, and is merely unhappy with the way she did her job.

“The big irony here is, I actually get threatened with rape and murder, and she who had the power to do something about it didn’t, and she falsely accuses me of threatening her and gets a no-trespassing order against me, and keeps me from my job,” Smalanskas said.

Goodwin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A college spokesman, Steven J. Maurano, provided a comment on behalf of Providence College:

“A civil restraining order was issued by the court after Mr. Smalanskas’ unacceptable conduct toward a member of our community on campus this past weekend.  Because of the serious nature of his actions, the College has restricted his access to campus.”

The incident was first reported in a story in a Rhode Island online publication, The Ocean State Current.

Smalanskas told New Boston Post he got the word of the campus restriction at about 2 p.m. Tuesday while he was at work. He said the head of the school’s public safety sent a message asking him to come by the office. That’s when he was served with the no-trespassing order, and he had to leave immediately.

He lost a half-day of work yesterday and a full day today. He said his boss is trying to get him transferred to another branch, but it’s not clear that will happen.

Smalanskas is planning to get married at the college’s chapel next month. The no-trespassing order allows him to come to campus for wedding planning (and, presumably, the wedding), but only with advance notification.

“I have to give two to three days’ notice, and that way the vice president can work from home,” Smalanskas said.