Letter to the Editor

By Nicholas Wiltsie

Canisius College, Class of 2013

Dear President Hurley,

I write to you today to express my extreme displeasure in the email sent out by your office condemning the Excelsior Scholarship proposal, which would make a free college education available to all students in New York State. While I understand the financial difficulties such an option would bestow on private institutions like Canisius, I wholeheartedly believe that an attempt to squash a proposal that would make free college available to those that otherwise could not afford it completely betrays everything that Canisius is supposed to stand for.

One of the hallmarks of Jesuit education has always been outreach, a belief that even those on the margins of society deserve to be educated. How can a college that purports to believe in tenants such as “men and women for and with others” in good faith encourage its alumni to oppose a proposal that would let more people achieve that jesuit ideal of receiving an education? A self-serving move like this is the sort of thing I would expect from a profit-centered, faceless corporation, not a Jesuit non-profit college that advocates for justice. I was heartbroken to read your email, and I call upon your office to do the right thing, reverse course, and support the Excelsior Scholarship proposal.



  1. While I appreciate your sentiments, you do not have all of the facts. Gov. Cuomo is not proposing “free college,” he is proposing “free tuition” for SUNY and CUNY students. Students with the greatest need (of which I was one), will receive Pell and TAP that will cover their public tuition. These students struggle, as I did, working several hours per week to pay for fees, books and living expenses. The “barriers” to college will not be alleviated with this proposal, but families making six-figures sure will benefit!

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