Staff Editorial: Setting a New High Water Mark in Communication

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Though it is a common refrain that Fordham’s communication can be startlingly opaque, for once we can sing a new song. The response to the recent water main break has been a rare exception to Fordham’s usual murkiness, proving that our administration is more than capable of explicit, effective and efficient messaging — at least in an emergency.

As cloudy water pumped into New York City streets, students received timely emails and text alerts notifying them of the public safety issue and the delay and eventual cancellation of morning and afternoon classes. Overall, despite a few complaints about the lack of available Ram Vans, students were pleased with the administration’s effort to communicate and were able to stay up to date with ongoing developments.

Students were notified of canceled classes, dining service closings and instructions concerning safe water use, all in a timely manner. With Fordham’s punctual notifications, members of the community were able to plan around the disruption and reclaim the scrambled day. Without Fordham’s exhaustive efforts, the university would have been floundering in water main break bedlam.

If a more serious disruption were to take place in the area around Fordham, this rapid response is vital to avoid consequences greater than just getting your socks wet. In the case of a danger on campus, like severe weather or last year’s New York Police Department pursuit at Rose Hill, a timely text from Fordham like we saw on Jan. 13 keeps students out of harm’s way.

When Public Safety decides that events in our area present a clear, continuing danger to students and faculty, their quick response and warnings are commendable — especially with the increase in scrutiny we’ve seen since the last time The Observer covered this subject — and would be welcomed in other contexts at Fordham where communication is less than stellar. Whether it be fiery issues such as Fordham’s budget expenditure, housing for transgender students, or criminal incidents near campus; or more pedestrian issues such as Student Accounts and club procedures, other departments can follow Public Safety’s lead when it comes to effective messaging.

Perhaps receiving a push notification for every Fordham affair is a bit intrusive, but there are still lessons to be learned. Typically, attempting to glean information from Fordham is like trying to get blood from a stone. Adopting a communication strategy that is proactive rather than reactive benefits all and hurts none. 

Public Safety’s success in clear, prompt communication last week is both proof that Fordham is capable of effective messaging and the high-water mark to which other departments must rise.