Fordham Hinders Free Speech


Grace Lilly/The Ram Employers often provide codes against discussing work-related topics on social media, but many remain ambigious.

By Michael Syku

We do not have the right to distribute condoms. We do not have the right to be educated about safe sex. We do not have a right to run The Vagina Monologues or other arbitrarily-picked plays that the administration decides it does not like. We do not have the right to invite certain guests to speak for our events. We do not have the right to bring certain artists to Spring Weekend. We do not have the right to post flyers without having to go through a complex bureaucracy and several miles of red tape.  We do not have the right to know exactly why we were denied these rights. We do have the right to appeal, but there are significant delays that make it functionally impossible to do anything in a timely manner. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the rights that we are denied and the things that we are not allowed to do on campus.

Are you upset yet? Want to do something about it? Well, good luck, because we also do not have the right to protest any of these ridiculous infringements.

There is no meaningful way to engage with the administration about any of our grievances, especially when the system of approval and appeals is so clearly intentionally opaque.

The almost-comically long wait times (it can sometimes take over a month to get advertisement approval) must be either a sinister way to defer things the administration does not like until they go away or are symptomatic of a radically-inefficient system rife with widespread incompetency.

We as a student body have already attempted to have an open dialogue with the administration about our problems.

In 2013, USG approved and presented a report to the university community detailing specific instances and examples in which students were censored on campus, including policy prescriptions such as an attempt to make the reasoning behind denials more transparent.

Obviously, these attempts have not paid off. We are still in the same situation we were in before the report. It is no wonder that groups like S.A.G.E.S. have taken up guerrilla activism to attempt to start a conversation about our rights as students.

They have had to operate anonymously, tactically petitioning and handing out condoms, because Fordham does not allow any other avenue of recourse. They are not being heard, so they take matters into their own hands.

They are even fighting for free speech zones on campus: an old recommendation modeled after the “Red Square” at our sister Jesuit university Georgetown.

It is ironic that Fordham fears giving students a forum in which to practice their Eloquentia Perfecta that Fordham prides itself on teaching. It is a shame that Fordham fears talking to us and instead hinders these discussions.