Letter to President Hurley

By Daniel Radwan

Canisius College, Class of 2013

Update: Daniel has reached out to The Griffin after President Hurley responded to his letter. Hurley clarified some of the details included in his original letter to alumnae. Since speaking with Hurley, Daniel has suggested that The Griffin reach out to President Hurley so that he can elaborate on his stance. The original letter Daniel sent to President Hurley is below:

President Hurley,

Jesuit schools were originally built in low- and middle-income neighborhoods on the sole principle that a quality education is the key to advancement from poverty. I’ve seen the that power firsthand, and Canisius is among the best at lifting students out of poverty. Despite that lofty goal, the demographics of the College have shifted.

The median household income of a Canisius student is nearly twice the national median income. The change has been recognized by the Jesuits, who maintain their original values, and add that in creating “men and women for and with others,” we create advocates of those for whom Jesuit schools were built. I have been fortunate to attend Canisius College. I even left college privileged enough to spend a year of service as a Jesuit Volunteer. I finished that year to return to Buffalo to improve the quality of our HIV care, and now I am a Master’s student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the world’s foremost school of public health.

The values instilled in me by my private, Jesuit, Catholic education are the core of who I am and the work that I chose to do, so I must say that I was appalled to read your letter calling for myself and fellow alumni to oppose free public education. You call it a “bad” program, but it’s one that mirrors the foundational principles of the organization that calls you President. Your letter does not explain what is “bad” about the Excelsior Program, nor do you explain how Excelsior will negatively affect Canisius, or why expanding TAP is a better alternative. At an expected cost of $163 million per year, can an equivalent allocation to the $5.1 billion TAP really do more good for the poor and middle class of NYS?

The petition you asked me to sign makes no mention of alternatives. Instead, it calls for a flat rejection of the egalitarian principles on which Canisius College was founded and does not appear to be in line with your letter. As a signatory, I cannot read the letter to which my name is being signed. No alumnus wants to see Canisius’ future in jeopardy, but until it is adequately explained how existing alternatives are better than a utilitarian program like Excelsior, no alumnus should be asked to blindly sign a generic document.

I urge you to examine the true, economic impacts of the Excelsior Program. I ask that you do not be so bold as to make inflammatory statements without first examining the facts and presenting a true case. I further urge you to rescind your earlier email encouraging alumni to hastily back unsupported assertions. The future of New York’s poor families deserves more than two minutes.

Sincerely, Daniel Radwan, BS ‘13

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/college-mobility/canisius-college
    2. ibid
    3. http://statisticalatlas.com/United-States/Household-Income
    4.https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-presents-1st-proposal-2017-state-state-making-collegetuition-free-new-york-s
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