Prof: it's ‘miserable’ to work with ‘evil’ conservative students

A philosophy professor at Siena College says that she left the committee on civil discourse because the thought of working with some conservative students was “making me miserable.”

In an email obtained by Campus Reform, professor Jennifer McErlean strongly condemned the conservative students on her campus, voicing her desire to protest the upcoming “Let Freedom Ring” conference that is slated to feature several prominent political figures including investigative journalist James O’Keefe and lobbyist Roger Stone.

Also speaking at the event will be Kassy Dillon, a Campus Reform correspondent and the founder of The Lone Conservative; former Libertarian Party presidential candidate Austin Peterson; Nico Perrino of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education; and Christian Ragosta of the National Rifle Association.

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The email appears to be part of a broader discussion chain between Turning Point USA Chapter President Antonio Bianchi and a university alumnus. While the professor addressed her grievances to the alumnus, she also copied Bianchi on the email, which personally berates him and another conservative student for their activism.

“I believe [Bianchi] greatly exaggerates the number of 'conservative' students who agree with his position (they are a small band) and his description of them feeling threatened borders on the ridiculous,” she wrote. 

“I withdrew from the committee that has been formed to figure out ways of productive civil discourse on such matters - it was making me miserable thinking of how to work with students like Antonio!” she continued, noting that “this way I am free to protest at the conference, IF there is any protest.”

Bianchi publicly condemned McErlean for her remarks, arguing that she “exemplified everything wrong with collegiate bias and discrimination against conservative students” in her email.

“In the email, she condones threatening tactics being used on conservatives on campus, insults myself, my members, and our organization,” he pointed out. “This is not acceptable.”

McErlean also voiced her concern about turnout for the counter-protest next month, fretting that not enough students will show up to oppose the free speech event.

“I'm still worried that so many groups are thinking about doing 'something' that nothing will result,” she wrote. “Faculty will surely have forums that counter and are more inclusive on issues like free speech and gun rights the week before and the week after - but if no silent, sign-carrying wall of people is there to greet the conference goers I fear the message is that Siena is generally happy with the list of speakers and there will be no acknowledgment of how evil these organizations are!”

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In an email to Campus Reform, Bianchi stressed that the “administration at Siena [has] been very supportive,” but noted that professors “have tried to stop us every step of the way and this is just an unfiltered view of how they see conservatives on campus.”

Nicole Commisso, another conservative student who was mentioned in the email, criticised the professor for dismissing the concerns of conservative students, telling Campus Reform that she “as well as many other conservatives (especially during the election) were afraid to walk around campus alone because they voted for Trump or were conservative.”

McErlean did not immediately respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment. 

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