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Fordham Fails its Mission by Allowing Roger Stone to Campus


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By Anya Patterson

On Tuesday, Oct. 10, Fordham’s College Republicans will host Roger Stone, a close friend of Donald Trump and a central figure in the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s campaign ties to Russia, on campus. I was tempted to direct my initial feelings of anger and disappointment towards the College Republicans for having the audacity to even think that bringing this man onto campus was “ok” or a show of the importance of “free speech.” Instead, I choose to shift my thoughts and reactions to those in power: the people in the Office for Student Involvement and the Administration who allowed this event to happen.

In many ways, the failure to reject this speaker is a blatant failure of this university to uphold its values. A direct quote from the university’s mission statement reads that ”Fordham recognizes the dignity and uniqueness of each person.” Yet they allow Roger Stone, a man who has a history of using racial slurs, sexist and anti-semitic insults on his social media accounts, to speak on a campus with individuals from those same backgrounds.

Another portion of Fordham’s mission statement reads: “The University seeks to foster in all its students life-long habits of careful observation, critical thinking, creativity, moral reflection and articulate expression.” Yet they allow a speaker that perpetuates stereotypes which are rooted in anything but these practices.

An administration that fails to recognize that such a speaker should not be permitted to speak on its campus is one that has failed to protect the marginalized individuals that have been the target of his harmful rhetoric. The administration has failed us. This is not a matter of restricting free speech. I personally believe that the clearest restriction of free speech on this campus is evident in the fact that I have to sign papers and meet with administrators for permission to protest.  While the topic of protest policy is not up for debate in this piece, my frustrations with these policies are worth being expressed.The point of the matter is that this school is handing a microphone to my oppressor.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the controversy surrounding Roger Stone’s social media accounts, allow me to bring them to your attention. He has tweeted that journalist Roland Martin is a “stupid negro” and a “fat negro,” that former republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is “mandingo,” and former U.S. army lieutenant colonel and republican Allen West (R-FL) is an “arrogant know-it-all negro.” He also tweeted that civil rights activist Al Sharpton is a “professional negro” who likes fried chicken, asked if former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson was an “Uncle Tom,” and referred to himself as a “ni***” with a Nixon tattoo.” His blatant disrespect of members of the African American community is  inexcusable.

He makes matters even worse when we examine the examples of his disrespect towards women and Jewish communities. Stone tweeted that liberal journalist Gail Collins is an “elitist c*nt,” that MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is “Rachel the muff-diver,” that NBC’s Megyn Kelly has a “nice set of cans,” and that representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) is a “JAP” (acronym for “Jewish American Princess”).The ability to get away with hate speech online is privilege and, in Roger Stone’s instance, I dare to say that this is white privilege. If Fordham needed an example to follow they could have looked to the television stations CNN, FOX and MSNBC. These stations banned Stone from making guest appearances on their shows in 2016  because of his harmful rhetoric.

My immediate disappointment comes from Fordham’s neglect to vet this speaker who has a history of disrespecting marginalized communities. This is strange as Fordham goes through every lyric of potential performers for spring weekend to ensure that their lyrics “align with our Jesuit values”. Where are the “no’s” when we need them? Do those tweets align with our Jesuit values? This is hypocrisy. I cannot help but agree with the popular sentiment that there have been cases where politicians who hold a republican “R” next to their name seem to be allowed to say whatever they want without fear of being held accountable. In Roger Stone’s case CNN, FOX, and MSNBC held him accountable. Fordham failed to follow suit.

Fordham often questions why they have a hard time diversifying the demographics of its institution. Focus on how you distribute your resources and why many students of color can’t afford your tuition. Focus on the gates that separate the school from the people of color in the community. Pay close attention to the college republicans with their Make America Great Again hats mere tables down from the Muslim Students Association at the club fair. While they have every right to wear their hats (just as I have every right to wear my Black Lives Matter sweatshirt) it is important to acknowledge the consequences that arise as students have to be in close proximity with those who support their oppressors.  Focus on the fact that you have allowed speakers like Roger Stone who symbolizes the marginalization and discrimination that we fight against to speak on your campus. Focus on what matters.

5 Comments

5 Responses to “Fordham Fails its Mission by Allowing Roger Stone to Campus”

  1. William Chegwidden on October 10th, 2017 11:47 am

    Fordham’s primary mission is open the hearts and minds of its students to the world surrounding them. Allowing people with different opinions to come and speak is a core tenet in its philosophy as first rate university. If you do not understand that basic principe, you are failing your mission as a liberal arts student. When I was an undergraduate at Fordham, “Hanoi” Jane Fonda came to speak to the University. The Rose Hill gym was used because the audience would have overspilled at any other venue. Many in the student body were disgusted: They disliked her; however, we all went to listen. We were often told at that time to be like sponges and soak everything up. Stopping people with different opinions from yours is tantamount to totalitarianism, trying to police the thoughts of your fellow students. You have only one rule to follow as a Rose Hill undergraduate : Be intelligent and understand that being intelligent is accepting that people may have divergent opinions from yours and even the status quo. As such, the college Republicans, as students, have as much right as you to invite and listen to a speaker with a dissenting opinion from yours. In light of that, you have two options. If you are intelligent and open-minded, you can go, listen, and even dissent. Debate is always healthy. If you are close-minded and/or uninterested, you can spend time anywhere else on Fordham’s picturesque campus. You decide where you fit. The funds the university provides don’t fall from the heavens, they are taken from tuition among other things. Do not the college Republicans pay tuition too ? In my opinion, your article is more about following the current nationwide college trend of disagreeing with all things conservative, Republican, and especially Trump than it does about real civic debate–despite what you may believe. By the way, did you know that Donald Trump spent some time at Fordham ? W.Chegwidden FCRH ’82.

  2. William Chegwidden on October 10th, 2017 11:51 am

    Fordham’s primary mission is to open the hearts and minds of its students to the world surrounding them. Allowing people with different opinions to come and speak is a core tenet in its philosophy as a first rate university. If you do not understand that basic principle, you are failing your mission as a liberal arts student. When I was an undergraduate at Fordham, “Hanoi” Jane Fonda came to speak to the University. The Rose Hill gym was used because the audience would have overspilled in any other venue. Many in the student body were disgusted: They disliked her; however, we all went to listen. We were often told at that time to be like sponges and soak everything up. Stopping people with different opinions from yours is tantamount to totalitarianism, trying to police the thoughts of your fellow students. You have only one rule to follow as a Rose Hill undergraduate : Be intelligent and understand that being intelligent is accepting that people may have divergent opinions from yours and even the status quo. As such, the college Republicans, as students, have as much right as you to invite and listen to a speaker with a dissenting opinion from yours. In light of that, you have two options. If you are intelligent and open-minded, you can go, listen, and even dissent. Debate is always healthy. If you are close-minded and/or uninterested, you can spend time anywhere else on Fordham’s picturesque campus. You decide where you fit. The funds the university provides don’t fall from the heavens, they are taken from tuition among other things. Do not the college Republicans pay tuition too ? In my opinion, your article is more about following the current nationwide college trend of disagreeing with all things conservative, Republican, and especially Trump than it does about real civic debate–despite what you may believe. By the way, did you know that Donald Trump spent some time at Fordham ? W.Chegwidden FCRH ’82.

  3. Brian Hackendarts on October 10th, 2017 2:26 pm

    This author clearly did no research and is stupid. Most of those tweets are not from Roger Stone’s verified account, therefore this is FAKE NEWS

  4. Jack garfield on October 10th, 2017 4:55 pm

    Was this fact checked even at all? Literally all these tweets arent real. Figure it out over there.

  5. Anya on October 12th, 2017 11:39 pm

    This post is so incredibly stupid. You’re right, we should remove the first amendment so that you cannot spout your dumb thoughts.

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Fordham Fails its Mission by Allowing Roger Stone to Campus