Staff Editorial: New Dean, New School


On April 29, the Office of the Provost announced in email that a new dean for Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) had been found: Dr. Laura Auricchio, third-generation Manhattanite and 17-year member of The New School. She has received a litany of grants and fellowships from a wide array of prestigious institutions and is active in a variety of sociocultural and scholarly organizations.

Auricchio comes to FCLC bringing many qualifications and much experience, but most importantly, she brings a new perspective.

Our campus has been plagued by divisive issues that have pitted an administration steeped in tradition against a student body that lives in a new world. Controversies over housing for transgender students, gender-discriminatory sign-in policies and restrictive attitudes toward free speech have poisoned the relationship between administrators and students.

This stands in marked contrast from Auricchio’s previous environment. The New School has condoms readily available in waiting rooms and residence halls, and sex positivity counseling is available upon request. In addition, The New School has a very active chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, while Fordham is embroiled in a lawsuit over those simply trying to start a group of their own.

Transgender and gender-nonconforming students have been forced to room with those who are of the same biological sex at Fordham, while The New School refuses to even use the term “co-ed” because it “reflects the assumption that there are two genders” and has instituted gender-inclusive housing on the basis that there can exist an infinite number of gender identities.  

The contrast in social policies between Fordham and The New School is stark, and we can only hope that, in fulfilling her new role, Auricchio will bring some of her former community’s ethos with her.

Her affiliation with the PEN American Center, known for its liberal social policies and soft spot for transparency and free expression, is a promising indicator of her immediate priorities — hopefully more liberal than her predecessors and in marked contrast with some elements of Fordham’s past.

While we in the Fordham community must wait to see the direction Auricchio wants to steer FCLC in, we hope that the voices of students will be taken into account. We are a campus on the verge of major change, and we need a dean who will help lead us into the future. With her background in free speech issues and experience with bringing together disparate communities as vice provost, we are optimistic that Auricchio can be that dean.

The FCLC body awaits Fordham’s engagement in an open and honest discussion about the outdated rules that affect our daily lives. Hopefully, the selection of Auricchio as dean is a sign that the administration is ready to engage with the students who they have long ignored.

As the student voice of Fordham Lincoln Center, we have only one request: please do right by the FCLC community. Know who we are and where we’re going, and help get us there.