By Erin Shanahan
The lack of diversity in Fordham’s CORE Curriculum, students knowledge of gender, sexulatiy, race and class, as well as the state of adjunct professors were discussed at a Town Hall meeting with Dean Mast hosted by the Fordham College Rose Hill’s Dean’s Council on Tuesday, Dec. 1, in the McGinley Center.
Fordham’s CORE Curriculum was discussed extensively at the meeting. Students at the Town Hall called for faculty to review the CORE follwoing recent bias incidents at Fordham. MaryGrace Menner, FCRH ’15, suggested that the CORE require students to take classes which discuss gender, sexuality, race or class.
“In light of the recent of the recent racist incidents on campus and the fact that my girlfriend and I got harassed on campus for our sexuality,” Menner said, “I wonder if we can make gender, sexuality, race and class classes a more mandatory part of Fordham’s CORE.”
Mast responded that she has discussed making the CORE more diverse in many different forums, such as the Dean’s Council and the CORE Curriculum Committee. In addition, she has explored the General Curriculum of her past institution, The University of Massachusetts, Boston.
“As a result of student and faculty activism about 30 years ago,” Mast said, “a U.S. Diversity and World Diversity requirements were added to the General Curriculum at UMass Boston. As a result, there were multiple opportunities for students to study issues of diversity and to reflect on them.”
Different mediums were suggested to teach these values as well, such as CORE programming for Freshmen during orientation. However, many students expressed disappointment with that freshman CORE programing. Brian Alman, FCRH ’19, said, “The CORE Programming, CIVILITY, training discussed how to be a good person by holding doors. However I think it would have been better to take the training a step further and discuss how students can be better neighbors in the Belmont community.”
Many agreed that CORE pregramming, although beneficial, is not the best place to discuss in depth topics such as gender, sexulatiy, race and class. Many people at the meeting called for changes to Fordham’s CORE curriculum to meet these needs.
“It’s time to review the CORE Curriculum, because people forget the reasons why we learn these things — they just learn things.”
The forum discussed the difficulties associated with implementing these changes to Fordham faculty. Should these changes to the CORE Curriculum occur. Specifically, the issue of implementing these changes to the community of adjuncts was discussed by Alan Trevithick, an adjunct anthropology professor at Fordham. “When we talk about getting the faculty on board for certain new projects,” Trevithick said, “it is difficult to bring together the teaching community because it is so fragmented between adjuncts and full time professors.”
Trevithick went on to discuss that adjuncts have a difficult time coordinating because they are only part-time employment and not incentivized by their wage to perform. In addition, because adjuncts are not on campus as much as full time professors, it is difficult for them to keep up with their class work, school initiatives and their personal research. Trevithick, as well as some other students, asked Mast how Fordham is working to improve adjuncts’ situation on campus.
“These are questions that can only be answered by the Provost Office,” Mast said, “However, I can tell you that the administration is aware of the concerns and they are working on a solution to the problem. If we can pay adjuncts more, it’s an important thing to do and if we can move more adjuncts to full-time statuses, it’s also a good thing to do. However, I cannot speak for the Provosts Office, all I can say is that administration is aware of the issue and would like to do something about it if possible.”
Difficulties students experience while attempting to acquireing research, internships and job opportunities were also discussed at the meeting. Specifically, students at the meeting discussed their frustrations when trying to find opportunities for liberal arts and sciences, rather than business. A forum where research and internship opportunities can be posted was discussed at the meeting. In the same vein, students complained that the Fordham’s website is unorganized and difficult to navigate.
The issues discussed at this Town Hall meeting will be reviewed in the next USG Meeting on Thursday, Dec. 3, during the Dean’s Council report.