In the wake of a tumultuous election season, America has seen an increase in interest in protesting and activism. Fordham students are no exception to this trend. We at The Fordham Ram commend the surge in activism, especially here on Fordham’s campus. This semester, we have seen students gather together to call senators and representatives on Keating steps, as well as attend the Women’s Marches in New York City and Washington.
Students are getting involved with social justice through Fordham’s Campus Ministry, the Dorothy Day Center and other creative means.
Some students have even protested Fordham’s administrative decisions. In sum, students are taking action to ensure that their voices are heard. During a presidential administration that has the power to enact policy concerning many marginalized groups, it makes sense that Americans are making a point to get involved in activism. Fordham students make up a diverse group with a variety of political interests, concerns and causes about which we are passionate.
By speaking up and taking action, Fordham Rams are truly living up to the standard of “men and women for others.” This past week, the Huffington Post categorized Fordham as one of its top ten worst schools for free speech, citing the controversy over the “Students for Justice in Palestine” club which was denied approval at our Lincoln Center campus. This atmosphere of speech-stifling can make activism and protesting seem futile. Indeed, criticism of students who protest is prevalent. This criticism mostly centers on the fact that students who protest university policy have already willingly chosen to attend this private institution, knowing its university by-laws, mission and overall beliefs upon entering the community.
However, we believe that making the decision to attend the Jesuit University of New York is not equivalent to signing away one’s right to voice his or her views on policy. To say that nothing will ever change here on campus is not only depressing, but it is misleading. The Fordham Ram’s archives are clear proof that things have drastically changed throughout the years.
For example, in 2013, student leaders brought concerns regarding free speech on campus to administrators. As a result, a 45 page report, containing specific instances in which students have felt censored on campus, was unanimously supported by Rose Hill’s United Student Government (USG).
The “Report on Speech and Expression of Student Organizations at Fordham University,” presented to and approved by the Student Life Council in 2013, was created as a result.
We urge Fordham students continue voicing their views, creating dialogue and engaging in productive, meaningful activism. Your activism is needed both within the Fordham community as well as outside of it. Students should not be discouraged by initial rejection—change is possible, but never easy.
Fordham states that its goal is to release graduates who “go forth and set the world on fire.” We at The Fordham Ram applaud the current student body for getting a head start on this life mission.