Opinion: I’m proud to be a Great Dane
The University at Albany surpassed my expectations in the quality of education, extra-curricular opportunities, and the friends I’ve made. At the same time, the university is dominated by leftist bias and lacks a diversity of opinion.
I had two criteria in mind when looking for a university to transfer to after community college. A strong political science and Japanese program. UAlbany had both, which is what drove me to go out of state to Albany. Both departments impressed and challenged me academically. Two professors in particular inspired me. Chris Clary and Susanna Fessler deepened my understanding of Political Science and Japanese, respectively, and pushed me to my full potential.
A lot of transfers would be better off living on campus instead of Alumni Quad. It reduced the quality of my first semester experience. The commute, the lack of parking, and the cleanliness left a lot to be desired. Not living on campus your first semester takes away from the sense of community. The worst aspect of the dorm was that neither the faculty nor students had any respect for the building. Every day the bathroom and facilities were neglected and filthy.
The worst thing about UAlbany, and most colleges in the U.S. is the bias. The illiberal left on campus purports to support tolerance and inclusion but, they’re often the most bigoted. Both faculty and students have created an environment that suppresses free thought. By pushing social justice and political correctness, people who believe in liberty are labeled all sorts of nasty things. I can’t count the number of students that have come to me and said they’re afraid to raise their hand in class because their opinion is different than the professors. This is the reason why groups like Turning Point USA are flourishing. TPUSA gives a voice to Conservative and Libertarian students by encouraging them to speak out against bias. You can’t have productive academic discourse if everyone thinks the same way.
Despite the near leftist monopoly over discourse, there are many students and professors that treat others with kindness and respect regardless of political orientation. One student, Subha Tasnim and one professor Victor Asal, come to mind. I debated Subha and others on whether UAlbany should be a sanctuary campus. Afterwards, I was overwhelmed with thanks and kindness from her and those on her side. Professor Asal showed respect and encouragement to students who don’t fit the left-leaning narrative. That’s how things should work.
I can’t count the times the opposite has happened, when professors have shut down students who think differently. There is hope for having real diversity on campus, diversity of opinion. Our campus community can only get stronger if we look at others for who they are instead of their ideologies. A disagreement on politics is no barrier to friendship unless you choose to make it one.
I’m proud to be a Great Dane because of the strong academics, opportunities, and people at UAlbany. UAlbany’s surpassed my expectations and given me the opportunity to work hard and get ready for the real world. There’s certainly room for improvement, especially when it comes to tolerance of freedom-loving students. My only regret is that I didn’t come here for my whole undergraduate career. If you want to get the most from your time in university do three things. Join a student organization. You’ll gain experience that translates into professional skills while having fun and becoming part of a community. Make friends and spend as much time with them as possible. Friendship is a gift from God that fills every day with joy. Lastly, go to class and study hard. You can achieve anything through hard work, no matter what anyone says.