Meet the St. John’s University Professor Who Wants To Take On George Santos

Legal Studies professor William Murphy hopes to put service back into public service.

Photo Courtesy / William Murphy

Legal studies professor William Murphy has always been passionate about service, even as a young boy on Long Island, New York. The self-declared “politics junkie” has always been fascinated by changing the world and helping others. 

Earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from New York University and a Juris Doctor from Touro School of Law, Murphy was a practicing attorney before entering his professorship at St. John’s in 2012. He’s known for being an “edutainer,” his way of “educating and entertaining students at the same time.” 

Recently his aspirations have shifted. Murphy plans to run as the democratic nominee for New York’s third district house seat in 2024 but doesn’t want to run for Congress. 

“I don’t want to run, but I feel like I have to,” Murphy told The Torch in an interview.

Murphy announced his bid in January for the House of Representatives seat infamously held by George Santos, who garnered national coverage for falsifying his resume. Murphy grew tired of watching injustices play out on his TV screen every night and decided he needed to fix the problem.

“Santos is the breaking point. I am angered beyond belief, but I am not too illogical to know I can’t sit here and be angry,” Murphy said. “I have a choice: be angry and try to do something about it or live with it and get over it.”

When asked about his platform, Murphy hopes to “reinstill people’s confidence in government and put the service back into public service.” On his campaign’s Instagram, Murphy has pledged to not serve more than three terms, not to receive outside funding and not to actively invest in Congress. 

“I’m seeing a culture in Washington [D.C.] of people who are not there to serve and have no interest in looking after the people who voted to put them there,” Murphy said. “What they’re really interested in is spending as long as they can in Washington and making themselves wealthy in the process.” 

Murphy refers to himself as a Long Island Democrat – someone who is “normal” in their political ideology. 

“At the end of the day, we’re the center,” Murphy said. 

Murphy believes Long Island Democrats can point out the successes and flaws of each party and hopes to find solutions for issues without going to extremes. 

Murphy credits his love for politics from the need to fix and perform. “I’ve always seen something, whether it was broken or can be improved upon, and enjoyed the challenge of figuring out a more efficient way to bring out an outcome,” Murphy said. ” In his younger years, as an attorney and a professor, Murphy has found a love for performing. “If I was given one gift in life, it’s the ability to speak,” Murphy said. “Whether one-on-one or in front of a classroom, I enjoy communicating in spoken and written forms.” He credits St. John’s for helping him develop these skills further. 

“I’ve learned more about the world, people’s behavior and myself in nine years working with students more than I ever have in any other place,” Murphy said. “I get to be a student for life.” 

Many of his past students have shared testimonials on his Instagram, sharing how he’s made them better students. Current and former students Amal Ahmad and Hayoung Park spoke to The Torch about their experiences with Murphy. 

“He has a great energy about him and really cares about his students. Professor Murphy is extremely involved with the community, and I know he can get things done,” Ahmad said. 

“He’s direct and great at explaining terms,” Park said. “He puts himself in our shoes, which has immensely helped me as a student.”

When asked about the best parts about the St. John’s University and NY-03 communities, he responded: family. 

“If I’m wearing a St. John’s hat anywhere, someone will stop me without fail and will tell me their connection to the University. Everyone knows someone who went to St. John’s,” Murphy said. “That’s not something you’re going to get from any other school.”

When it comes to his district, “No matter who you are, we all have one thing in common: we live in NY-03,” Murphy said. “The priority for all of us is family. It’s a travesty and a disgrace that the most prominent political figures in our district do not even have a family.” 

In the coming months, Murphy hopes to expand his campaign through social media. He will continue to be a professor during his candidacy. 

“As a father and someone who’s devoted his career to working with young people – teaching them about a corrupt and dysfunctional system – along with my background as an attorney and at St. John’s, I might be able to put together the resources to actually do something,” Murphy said.