Controversial email sent to RPI alumni

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TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Students and alumni are joining forces with concerns about the administration at RPI.

They say it’s time for changes at the top.

Students are feeling suppressed, alumni are withdrawing donations, and a letter from a faculty member has people’s jaws dropping.

“It’s part of a bigger problem.”

Wade Abbott is a proud member of RPI’s class of ’95 but he isn’t proud of what he’s hearing of the administration today with allegations of mismanaged finances, and violating students’ rights.

“It seems like any time a student speaks out against the administration, they are being silenced,” Abbott said.

To make a statement, some alumni stopped making donations.

Biology Professor Chris Bystroff, wrote a letter to all faculty, calling those alumni racist, sexist, and says he feels good about the institute because “after all, my lab just got a grant.”

“What disturbed me the most about that was the fact that Graig Eastin, Vice President of Institute Advancement, forwarded that email to all alumni on his list. That is a slap in the face to alumni.”

Students say concerns heightened nearly two years ago when they protested changes to the student union in March 2016.

At the time, RPI president Dr. Shirley Jackson said, “I think they’re misinformed of what they’re protesting about. There are no plans to disband the Student Union.”

On Tuesday, it appears to be a much different story, the Student Union is no longer student run.

“The administration has been taking away, in small and big ways, student power over our Student Union. The Student Union is our voice on campus, including changing the way the director is selected so students have less power,” Hanna Neuman, a sophomore, said.

Meanwhile, members of the Student Senate are trying to keep the peace. They are hoping to get everyone a seat at the table.

“We’re trying to recognize the problem and solve that by having talks with the administration, which the students are more than open to,” Advaith Narayan, a freshman, said.

As for Dr. Shirley Jackson’s side of the story, we are still waiting to hear what she has to say. Our requests to give her a chance to defend herself went unanswered.

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