Fordham Women’s Empowerment was once part of an umbrella organization, Progressive Students for Justice (PSJ) which is recognized as a club on OrgSync, but when the other groups of PSJ faded out, Women’s Empowerment sought recognition as an independent club. It has been a three-year process thus far. This article is not to imply that United Students Government or Fordham administration has attempted to ban Women’s Empowerment for malicious reasons. However, when a group that promotes women’s issues has put over three years of effort into becoming a club, it is interesting that our university has not made this happen.
There are various aspects of Fordham’s student life and campus activities that call into question the priorities of the university. While SAGES was asked to leave the club fair this year, Knights of Columbus, an all-male club that is not recognized by Fordham because it has no female counterpart, was present.
Women’s Empowerment is a well-known community on campus that has a strong group of leaders and consistently hosts club activities. But these activities, like the annual production of “Vagina Monologues,” must often be produced independently because of administrative blockades.
If we are to be a university that truly upholds its mission statement, if we truly seek “to foster in all [our] students life-long habits of careful observation, critical thinking, creativity, moral reflection and articulate expression,” then we must prioritize equality in our student life and support the efforts and passions of students in their intellectual endeavors. It is discouraging to see a group overlooked, especially when that group seeks to advance dialogue about issues facing marginalized groups in society. Fordham has an opportunity to express its values through student life and supporting organizations that constantly push forward on the road to social change.
Additionally, it has an opportunity to encourage a safe space for students to address issues facing themselves or those they support in society.
As a senior at Fordham University, I am disappointed to know that for my first three years (and now fourth) at this institution, Women’s Empowerment has been striving to gain recognition on campus and increase its ability to reach out to the community without success. I am disappointed that those involved in running our student life have not taken a more active role in helping Women’s Empowerment gain this recognition.
I am disappointed that my university did not go above and beyond for its students, when they have been constantly seeking to do just that.