I Can’t Get Anything Done




For the entirety of my Fordham career I have been fighting for, writing about and demanding the same things. The cyclical nature of attempting to better Fordham and being unheard and placated by the administration is a game I no longer wish to engage in. I am exhausted. Requesting change as a student at Fordham (especially as a student of color who is financially dependent on the university) is like running on a treadmill: you work hard but you end up drained and in the exact same place that you started. I am tired of going to meetings and being praised for my commitment to making Fordham a safe and inclusive space for all students and then seeing no further action. I do not need a pat on the back. I need to be taken seriously. I am tired of being appeased because I work far too hard for that. Allowing me a space to hold a facilitated conversation in which students provide a comprehensive and thoroughly planned list of demands is not enough, especially if those who need to hear it do not attend.

I know that oftentimes I come off as angry. I believe my expressive anger (which i will not apologize for, now or ever) has limited the amount of help the university wishes to provide me in addition to its general disregard for the safety and prosperity of students who are not white. But I refuse to be complacent when I can clearly see how counterproductive and frustrating the current system in place is. How can I be? I’ve dedicated so much of myself, my emotional energy and my time, to try and make Fordham better and more inclusive and every time I exert myself for these efforts, too quickly afterward am I reminded of the fact that this institution doesn’t care about me or my people or my ideas. A group of dedicated, smart and capable students and I have been advocating for the appropriate signage for single-stall bathrooms on campus that specify gender inclusivity. There have been rallies, surveys, speak outs and countless meetings, in addition to a 30-page document in which students on the Trans spectrum and their allies explained in their own words the necessity of a bathroom that explicitly states that it is gender inclusive. And the closest thing we have received from all of that work is a laminated piece of paper on single-stall doors that stresses the need to lock the door more than it does the fact that anyone is able to use the bathroom. Gender-inclusive signage is not a new idea, and yet it has been something I have been fighting for three years. And that’s so tiring. It makes me feel small. It makes me feel powerless.

When it comes to organizing on campus, it’s the same thing every time: something on campus occurs or I have an idea and I email the people who consistently claim to be on my side about some sort of event to discuss what occurred. They tell me I can have some sort of informed dialogue or small rally/speakout on campus (events they usually themselves do not attend). At these events,  students voice their concerns, maybe it gets covered in a student publication, then we return to the monotonous and devastating life of being invisible.  Last year, I helped facilitate a well-attended dialogue about intent vs. impact. Students were charged up, many faculty lent their support to us and the same student leaders who organize the bulk of these types of events on campus came together and eventually drafted a list of demands from the faculty with the help of student organizers at Rose Hill. Those demands were read at a rally later in the semester that was also well-attended by members of the Fordham community, and yet I do not recall a meeting with the administration to further discuss the demands requested nor did we hear anything from Father McShane. Why give us the space to voice our concerns if you aren’t actually going to listen to us? The gesture of allowing me to plan an event in which we talk about actual ways we can better the Fordham community is a hollow gesture if no action on behalf of the administration comes out of it.  It makes me wonder why I have spent my time here when I feel unwanted and nothing has been done to remedy that. It’s a waste of my time.

I know I keep talking about how exhausting this is but I really need to express my anger with the lack of response or invitation to a conversation in which change can actually be generated and the ideas presented by student leaders are sincerely taken into consideration.

I am not making gargantuan asks, nor have any of the things I have asked of Fordham been over the top I have asked for gender neutral bathrooms, safe spaces for students of color on campus and have advocated for more racial, sexual and socioeconomic diversity for both the students and faculty. I know there are other people advocating for the same things who also get thrown into the cycle I have described. We are smart and capable adults who should be involved in the mapping out of Fordham’s future, because we are the ones experiencing its present. I don’t think that I’m asking for anything unreasonable.