By Jamie Welch, Editor-in-Chief
Gettysburg College Political Science professor Kathleen Iannello has had her ability to be fair and balanced with her students called into question this week after writing an Op-Ed piece in which she called a Trump presidency “unthinkable, as well as unteachable.”
Her piece, published August 8 on Philly.com, sparked off a nationwide controversy this week when Fox News picked up the story and called into question Iannello’s ability to be fair when dealing with conservative-leaning students.
In the Op-Ed, Iannello asserts that “as a liberal, [she has] no problem extolling the virtues of Democrats,” and that she does not need to attempt to be neutral in the classroom because Trump is a “lightning rod for promoting further hate.”
She goes on to write that “it is a disservice to students to attempt to provide balance” and that “balance is an offense to the truth.”
Iannello claims that her comments are “neither partisan nor ideological,” but that is a hard pill to swallow for many conservative students on campus, who have written in the past about feeling intimidated by Iannello if they lean right.
One such student wrote on professor review site RateMyProfessor.com, “Professor Iannello means well and is a decent teacher, but she preaches her liberal propaganda way to [sic] much in class…she is not open to new ideas and is very close [sic] minded on her beliefs.”
Another student wrote, “if she thinks you’re leaning right, watch out!”
The College Fix asked Iannello if her very strong political leanings would allow her to be fair to those students who do not share her liberal perspective, and she claimed that her feelings about Trump would not have any bearing on how she evaluates students.
“I can assure you that all students will have a voice in my classes,” she said.
College officials echoed her sentiments, assuring The College Fix in an email that the class will be as fair as can be.
“It’s an important part of our mission as a liberal arts institution to ensure that ideas can be shared openly, and we have every confidence that students will be given opportunity to express their views freely in their classes,” a spokesperson wrote.
These responses have failed to quell the controversy, which has taken off in recent days and lead to a firestorm of angry Tweets calling for Iannello to resign; at least one Gettysburg alum identified themself as @knoxcamper and tweeted that s/he “will cease all donations until Kathleen Iannello is fired.”
While it is unclear to many if Prof. Iannello will be able to treat students equally in her class, what is clear is her opinion on Trump.
“He displays neither a record of public service nor an understanding of the word statesmanship,” she wrote. “In the history of our country, it is hard to recall anyone less prepared to take office.”