Siena signs returned 50 years later

May 30, 2018 06:46 PM

LOUDONVILLE - They were both members of the Siena College class of 1968, about to stake their claim in the world by becoming educators. But before they left the Loudonville campus, Tom Hanley and Jim Clement made sure they took part of the campus with them.

"The signs had no home so we thought we'd give them a safe home," Clement said, "It was really an act of mercy."

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They say it was mercy, but others think of it as an act of chicanery.

With their girlfriends at the time, both of whom later became their wives aiding and abetting, two signs were removed from the campus entrances. Both men reflected on that senior year " sign removal" as they surrendered them to school officials Wednesday afternoon, half a century later.

"I went to the Dean of Students and I knew that our class was replacing these signs," Clement recalled, "So I asked the dean if we could have them. He said he didn't care but he knew some dorm students had their eye on them, so I think it was that night that Tom and I got them."

Apparently Colonie Police hadn't been made aware that the school would be replacing the signs. Even though officers interrupted the students while the removal was occurring, they were able to convince police that they had permission. 

"We've had a good time with the signs," Hanley says, "We've had parties with them and it's been fun but now it's time to give them back. It's been 50 years."

Hanley and Clement have remained close friends for the last fifty years. Both men are now retired from teaching in the same area Catholic school.

Asked if the guilt of taking the signs has been weighing on his mind, Clement quipped, "God never told me it was a sin."

And when asked if he's ever felt compelled on confess what he did, "Hanley responded, "(God) was talking real low. I didn't hear him."

Hanley currently works for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

The college intends to put the historic signs on display so that others can learn the story.


WNYT Staff

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