Siena College Professor Jennifer McErlean sent an email to alumnus, detailing her dislike and animosity towards current students with conservative political views. In her lengthy text, she complains about dealing with conservative students and details her plans to disrupt and protest a coming free speech event on campus. Her reason? She feels Turning Point USA (the event organizers) and conservative groups like it are “evil”. She also revealed she quit the colleges group for Civil Discourse, stating that working with conservative young people made her “miserable”.
While the college did not have any response to the complaints against conservative students or the idea of protesting fee speech, they did get involved when one of those lambasted conservative students shared the professor’s email. When Political Science major Zach Butler printed the email and posted 600 copies on campus, the college did notice and take action.
The college junior posted the copies of the printed email so that others could see the way that the professor felt about some of her students – those young conservatives that she was charged with grading and treating fairly. Citing the teacher’s bias, Butler said he was bothered by the lack of response and the overall hostility displayed towards students who did not agree with Liberal teachers.
A Breach of “Posting Policy”
Instead of reprimanding the teacher for bias or for planning to disrupt student free speech events, the college chose to reprimand Zack Butler, claiming he was violating the schools posting policy. The reprimand from the college is detailed in a “Notice of Charges” and stated that among other things, the student impacted the “health, welfare and/or safety” of the community and damaged the “name and/or reputation of the college”.
The email was shared by others and reported to college officials, who did not respond to the teacher’s blatant prejudice towards the conservative young adults she was charged with teaching and nurturing. When the college refused to address the issue, Butler took action.
“So in order to keep the dialogue going, I took it upon myself—with the help of a friend—to post 600 copies of that email all over campus,” Butler said, speaking with Campus Reform. Butler and a friend posted a total of 600 flyers on the night of March 22.
Butler does admit that his posting of the professor’s biased email did violate school policy, but he told the College Fix that he was bothered by the charges. The reason he posted the emails in the first place was because the school failed to address the issue or respond to complaints. The ongoing hostility to conservative students was also a contributing factor.
“As a conservative student, I was bothered not only by the email but also the response, or lack thereof, by the administration and felt something had to be done,” Butler wrote in a recent Facebook post.
“I could not imagine how my conduct of posting flyers with an email that was already made publicly available around campus adversely affected the school and local community.” Butler said, speaking about the attention his flyers received as compared to the actual prejudice displayed by the professor, who is in a position of authority and power over the students.
“I also thought it was ironic that they thought my posting of the flyers was more damaging to the reputation of the institution than the content of the email itself,” he added.
Suspension or Expulsion?
It is Butler, not the teacher, who faces potential suspension or expulsion. The college administration is still deciding what to do. Other students across the country have come to Butler’s defense. An essay written by college student Alex Cucciniello detailed the bias that is regularly experienced by students who do not share the same views as teachers and professors. Citing intolerant administrations and educators and the hostile environment, his essay defends Butler and points out the hypocrisy of the college’s actions.
That free speech event that had the professor so upset is titled “Let Freedom Ring” and proceeded on April 15, 2018 as planned. Speakers from Project Veritas, the NRA and other conservative groups were in attendance as scheduled.
~ Conservative Zone