On March 20 at Siena College, a tenured philosophy professor, Jennifer McErlean, used her Siena email account to send a disgusting and discriminating email to an alumnus of the college. In this email that McErlean directed towards a student, she openly discriminates against conservative students, targeting two in particular – one of them being myself, Nicole Commisso.
In her own words, McErlean states that conservatives on campus “are a small band” and the “description of them feeling threatened borders on the ridiculous.” Judging by the massive amount of feedback from conservative students after this matter, we are certainly not a “small band” as McErlean ignorantly believes. McErlean also dares to say that threats to conservatives on campus are “ridiculous.” How easy it must be for a tenured, biased, leftist professor to say in her Siena bubble that is fiercely protected by the Siena Administration.
Personally, as the sole conservative writer on the Siena student run newspaper, The Promethean, I have received countless verbal and physical threats on campus just because of my unpopular, outspoken right-wing views. The largest controversy over one of my op-ed pieces, “White Privilege: Injustice Does Not Fix Injustice,” was the so-called “insulting, false, provocative letter” that McErlean refers to in her email. She claims that when someone like me writes a piece like this, “[Conservatives] really cannot complain when there are strong responses.”
I definitely expect strong reactions from the pieces I write and I know that the majority of the Siena campus will disagree with what I say. However, threats towards a student are unacceptable and should not be considered “ridiculous” by a professor.
If you do not believe me, take current student Kylie Mason’s word for it. She was an RA during the publication of my article. “As an RA and as a politically neutral individual, I have personally seen and reported harassment that Nicole has faced due to her opinion pieces in The Promethean. I do not think anyone should be threatened based on their views.” Whether individuals want to believe it or not, there were reports and threats towards me just for not agreeing with the leftist agenda on this campus.
Professor McErlean should be ashamed of herself for condoning this sort of behavior at Siena College and claiming that it should be expected when someone has a differing opinion from hers. Instead of the administration protecting the students, they are protecting McErlean’s slip-up and job at Siena. She is still teaching to this day.
She insulted the “small band” of conservatives at Siena, condones threatening tactics being used towards conservatives on campus, and admits to being miserable at the very thought of working with a student who holds conservative views.
In our great country, McErlean has the right to say these disgusting, arrogant things. However, just because she has this right, does not mean there should be no consequences to her actions in the position of power she holds. At an institution like Siena that values qualities like diversity, social justice, etc., administrators need to hold this professor accountable for her actions and words. No professor should be allowed to trash students based on their beliefs and continue their career without disciplinary action taken against them. The fact that there has been no statement issued to the Siena Community in regard to this matter, no sort of punishment, or any justice being served is disgraceful.
President of Siena College, Brother Ed, has directed the political climate at Siena on many occasions through emailing the entire Siena Community unprompted about his leftist opinions. Whether it is an email against President Trump’s policies, or claiming the weeks after the outcome of the 2016 election were “challenging times,” he clearly has not been shy when it comes to emailing the community about political matters– when he sees fit.
Has Brother Ed sent out an email in regard to the McErlean email where she discriminates against students at his college? No. Not one word on this matter stating that Siena does not condone this biased behavior from a professor.
There needs to be a precedent set, to show that discrimination towards any student on campus will not be tolerated, including political beliefs and values. Although, by the Siena administration not making a peep about this and hoping it will “wash away,” I suppose the precedent was set in this situation. They have made it clear that the leftist agenda will persevere, regardless of professors getting caught openly discriminating against conservatives for just that– being conservative.
We unapologetic conservatives on Siena’s campus, and those who believe discrimination against conservatives are wrong, won’t stop until justice is served.