Keeping Swine Flu at Bay: What Fordham Says vs. What Students Say


Published: October 8, 2009

Fordham has a lot to say about H1N1, and while it’s cute that they’re trying, it’s hard not to poke some fun at the university’s attempts to get a handle on something no one has really figured out yet. Let’s break down the last influenza information update, available on the Fordham University eNewsroom:

Fordham says: We say:
“The Health Center is stocked with equipment and supplies in preparation for any level of infection.” One mask is provided outside the health center for all plagued students to share. Sometimes.
“[Fordham has facilitated the] placement of hand sanitizers on walls outside community bathrooms in residence halls and academic buildings.” If the hand sanitizer dispensers are refilled at the same rate as the soap dispensers in the bathrooms, we’re in trouble.
“Infected students who live outside the 150-mile radius will be isolated in place, either in their residence halls or in larger spaces, depending upon the number of students who require accommodation.” Hopefully, no more than three sick students live outside the 150-mile radius, since there’s only one, three-person McMahon quarantine suite. If it gets worse than that, everybody should take cover; we’re pretty sure Pope Auditorium isn’t airtight.
“Do get the influenza vaccine, available now on campus to students.” While that’s a good, common-sense idea in general, it doesn’t do much to prevent the spread of H1N1. Actually, it doesn’t do anything at all; the regular flu shot is ineffective against this new strain.
“An outside vendor will be administering vaccine to students, staff, and faculty in September on the Rose Hill campus and in early October at the Lincoln Center campus.” Naturally, Lincoln Center has to wait longer to avoid the plague. Thanks.
“The University has a comprehensive plan in place for prevention and treatment of the H1N1 strain of influenza.” Really? We haven’t heard it—at least, not most of us. Probably because we’re all too lazy to read mass Fordham e-mails, but hey. There are other ways to reach out.
“Anxiety over academic performance should not prevent sick students from going home; such excusals do not require a doctor’s note.” Missing class is missing class; even a doctor’s note won’t make up for the hours of backed-up reading assignments and missed lectures.
“The University will provide food to all students in isolation on campus.” But it’s Sodexo, so it’s not really food.
“Residential Life staff will be in daily contact with sick students, either in person or via e-mail, text and telephone.” As far as we know, contracting the swine flu wasn’t included in the RAs’ job descriptions.
“The Fordham community will be kept up to date via the emergency information line; e-mail blasts; the Everbridge text, e-mail and voice emergency notification system…” Consistent with Fordham’s general security alerts, some students will be bombarded with seven emails and five phone calls, while others won’t get the messages at all. Sounds a little too much like social Darwinism.
“Those who live within a 150-mile radius will be sent home with their families to recuperate. In those situations in which families cannot make arrangements to bring their students home themselves due to extenuating circumstances, transportation will be provided, if necessary.” We approve only if it’s by Ram Van.