Once again, the Fordham administration’s potential to improve the Fordham community has gone unrealized.
Last year, the Residence Hall Association (RHA) movement to change the unpopular Fordham housing policy was further punctuated with a student’s op-ed criticizing the transphobic nature of the policy. The RHA held meetings, conducted town halls and distributed surveys to determine what methods of change the student body felt were necessary going forward. Dedicated students took the initiative to fix an important issue within their school; this, in turn, was met with what appeared to be cooperation, even encouragement, from the Office of Residential Life administrators. Suffice it to say, the dialogue between the RHA and Residential Life’s dialogue got the student body’s hopes up — and rightly so.
Over the summer, the administration considered and ruled on the RHA proposal, and their verdict rang out over an empty campus. The rejection of most students’ housing-related propositions, especially transgender housing accommodations, is not just a letdown for students; it is the latest event in a timeline of increasing distrust within the greater Fordham community.
Time and again, The Observer has published news articles, op-eds and staff editorials detailing the deterioration of trust between the upper echelon of the administration and the student body. News that Residential Life has chosen to block most guest policy provisions is a disappointment: a failure to assure that any hope of genuine consideration from the administration on this issue is sincere. The fines system within the housing policy was altered and the restroom signage now reads “All Gender,” but these decisions now feel like attempts to placate the student body, much of which supports a much greater change.
Students deserve to trust that their administration acts in their best interest. For a yearlong student effort to be denied so trivially and with such finality, this conviction is brought into doubt. If the university’s primary obligation is to its more conservative constituencies or to selective Catholic ideals, the administration should at least be up-front about it and figure out a way forward as a community.
In order to make that progress a reality, transparency is critical. Fordham boasts of countless enthusiastic students dedicated to positive change, but its conduct is all too discouraging. Every member of the Fordham community strives to uphold its mission to live for others — the university must simply let them do that.