While the Spring 2016 semester had events of great importance and severe consequences, the semester also saw many changes that led to a more stable Fordham environment. With the help of student groups and task forces, conversations took place and issues were resolved. These are some of the most important issues for Fordham students:
Last year, Fordham University had an unprecedented five racial bias incidents happen during the school year, causing rising tensions on campus to rise and a feeling of discomfort for students and faculty alike. The university and administrators quickly responded to these events and multiple emails were sent out regarding the incidents. These events were uncalled for, and the campus quickly took action against them.
Alumni met and discussed Fordham’s lack of diversity and negative social atmosphere, which they believed were due to the disconnection from the Bronx community. Plans were proposed to make students more socially aware. The alumni planned for the revival of a permanent progressive alumni entity to help students stay involved and proposed dialogues between Fordham and the Bronx community.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) also took action. Juan Carlos Matos, assistant dean and director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, started race relation initiatives to create a better community on campus. Focus groups with Diversity Peer Leaders were instated, and the Diversity Task Force was created to hold town hall meetings to discuss the racial climate on campus and what can be done to improve race relations. OMA and Matos have already received awards for their workshops for the LGBT and Ally Network of Support, and hope to hold race training programs to improve student life and the understanding of diversity on campus.
United Student Government (USG) held their elections for positions this past spring, but this election season was slightly accelerated compared to others since it was the most contested election in recent years. Fordham is a historically apathetic student body, so the fact that five out of 10 positions, including executive president and vice president positions as well as most of the senate positions, were contested, made for an interesting election year.
The Fordham Ram met with each candidate and endorsed Daniel Stroie, GSB ’17, and Elisha Simon, GSB ’17, as the president and vice president, respectively, among others. Due to their commitment to students and clubs in particular, Stroie and Simon won the election.
Food Provider Change
Most of us are now aware that Sodexo is no more. Aramark is Fordham’s newest food provider as of this school year. During spring 2016, Sodexo terminated its current agreement with the university to avoid a three million dollar penalty, which led to an opening for our food provider. In the process of change, Fordham students became concerned with the state of the current Sodexo employees. Students fought to ensure that Fordham’s long-standing relationship with its food employees remained regardless of provider changes. Fordham Students United (FSU) started online petitions and teach-ins to raise awareness on this issue, requesting that Fordham “employs all the current workers and maintains their current wages and seniority.” Aramark was then chosen and expected to keep the university staff.
Some of the changes made were definitely for the better. While Cosi remains, SubConnection is now called A Crust Above, the Grille is now called Urban Kitchen and Zime is now Salt and Sesame. The stations in the Marketplace were switched up and now showcase more variety. Dagger John’s has a new Asian cuisine place called Chopsticks. We, at The Fordham Ram, are only disappointed with the lack of Ben and Jerry’s on campus. Hopefully, as the year continues, we will test out more of the new dining options.
These events have helped to shape and expand our campus in the last nine months, and The Fordham Ram hopes that this continues into this school year.
With the dodransbicentennial of Fordham upon us, it is our chance to make the most of what Fordham has to offer and help to better our school. With the Class of 2020, or as Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the university likes to say, “the visionary class,” we are expecting great things to come this semester.