On Monday, January 16th, Bucknell Economics Professor Marcellus Andrews wrote a tempestuous email titled, “An Open Letter to Professor Wooden, the Faculty and the students of Bucknell,” in which he called for “a steep and lasting price” to be imposed upon the student libertarian group of “racists and fascists” that invited a conservative speaker to speak on campus last February.
In the letter, Andrew begins by saying he is a 60-year-old black man who has always been a victim and that he wrote the email while feeling upset.
“It is more than fine to be hated by fascists, racists, misogynists, or religious and sexual bigots if we know how to fight them, which includes not to see them for the pathetic beings that they are,” he argues.
He continues his letter to call for safe spaces and cites his graduate experience at Yale, where he was allegedly assaulted by right-wingers. He uses this as an example of how people of color are not safe on campus. He concludes this anecdote by recalling how members of his group were “extremely skilled at combat and used our skills to rearrange a few faces, snap a few bones and thereby change the behavior of some folks.”
Ironically, Andrews calls for Bucknell to enforce equal opportunities for learning and rules against violence and intimidation in his email; but when questioned about the violence his words could potentially incite, he responded with more assertions that Bucknell harbored people conspiring against people of color.
Andrews maintains that he was not calling for violence in his email, but rather was asking students to engage in calm and peaceful discussion.
Tom Ciccotta, a senior at Bucknell University and the President of Bucknell’s libertarian club, emailed Professor Andrews to ask for an elaboration on the imposition of a “steep and lasting price.” Andrews responded by that by asking that question, Ciccotta was confirming his suspicion that there was a collaboration between “students who hate dark folks” and Bucknell’s faculty.
Ciccotta said in a February 9th speech that broad strokes like this that paint all conservatives and libertarians as bigots are unacceptable and only serve to normalize and justify violence against normal people with right-of-center political views.
“This is what helps to create white Identitarian groups, white supremacist groups – both the legal system and our institutions, our universities, setting different standards of expected decency for people based on the way that they look or the political beliefs that they hold,” says Ciccotta.
“My time as a student activist is coming to a close,” Ciccotta reflects. “Above all else, I’ve learned in these four years that the American political landscape is in desperate need of individuals who have the capacity to bring us together and remind us of our common humanity, regardless of race, gender identity, sexuality, or political persuasion. As Bucknellians, we should all strive to be this kind of person.”
In a meeting between Ciccotta and the school’s administration, the school refused to call the conduct of Andrews in his email to the Bucknell community inappropriate, and instead only expressed that the administration wished he had chosen different wording.
“The administration’s response confirmed for me that conservative and libertarian students won’t be protected from mistreatment as long as that mistreatment is delivered in the name of social justice,” Ciccotta concludes.