Editorial: Half the Battle is Showing Up


THOMAS GIEBEL www.atomische.com

(Courtesy of Flickr)

(Courtesy of Flickr)
(Courtesy of Flickr)

This academic year saw a wealth of activity and change. New student governments were elected, campus food vendors were voted in and out, the Middle States committee assessed our operations and administrators worked to create a cohesive draft of Fordham’s goals for the foreseeable future. However, students were physically absent from most of the dialogue occurring on campus, despite being otherwise vocal on social media.

This is not the first editorial, nor the last, where we will decry the students’ lack of involvement on campus, despite their assertions that change must come. The adage holds true that half the battle is showing up.

Following a year of bias incidents causing students, faculty and administrators to question the tolerance of the community, the diversity action coalition held events that had only a handful of students in attendance. Talks administered by diversity groups on campus about the campus climate drew in far less than would be expected. Fordham’s new strategic planning committee held a town hall to go over the draft of Fordham’s plans for the future, and two students were in attendance.

On average, seven students attend the monthly Student Life Council meetings where students can bring public agenda items to the president of student government, the dean of students, the director of residential life and many other campus heads. The council hears crickets when they ask the public to bring up “the good of the order.”

Even fewer students attended the decennial Middle States town hall, where a committee its verbal assessment of Fordham to the public. Protests on campus concerning diversity, religious beliefs draw between four and twenty students consistently. SAGES and adjunct professors only have a handful of students or professors attend their protests. The most recent United Students Government election barely saw 12 percent of the undergraduate population vote, though it boasted a higher voter turnout than years past.

Student activism was not always so inactive. In Fordham’s history, Eddie’s parade has seen hundreds of students band together protesting administration or war. Fordham’s rules still allow for those kinds of protests, but where are the students?

We are not assessing whether former and current protests were fighting for just causes, but we do feel that if Fordham students feel strongly about their student life, they should prove it by showing up in numbers, not signing an online petition or simply sharing articles about campus issues. Administrators will not take students seriously if they do not show up in support or opposition, and they have very little reason to. Furthermore, the lack of knowledge the student body about available (or unavailable) resources and the lack of communication between the administration and the rest of campus were jarring. We brought up issues of networking at Fordham College Rose Hill and the fact that we are not given access to information on tuition and the budget for each financial year. It became obvious that the students were left in the dark on many issues regarding Fordham and its daily functions.

With a new beginning in the next school year and possible developments over the summer months, we have to remind ourselves that change will only happen if we strive to make it happen. Further involvement from the student body and communication between us and administration, especially by utilizing USG, is key to creating the change we want to see on campus. Our voice as students is the most important. After all, it is our education — at least it’s supposed to be.