Speak Up for Change at Fordham

Published: November 17, 2010

Whatever way you slice it, college is expensive. While you can’t really put a price tag on knowledge, that’s exactly what every university does. As a result, some of us have to make considerable sacrifices for the right to sit in class, write papers, and lose days in a row of sleep around midterms and finals. Although it might be tempting at this time of year to stay in our warm beds and sip tea all day, most of us substitute coffee for tea and force ourselves awake on weekdays because we know college is too valuable to sleep through.

Fordham, however, is especially expensive. According to Nadine DeNinno’s article, “Fordham Price Increase Steepest in Nation” on page one, Fordham’s tution, room and board costs rose at a higher rate than any other university in the country this year. Part of this increase can be attributed to Fordham’s dependence on tuition funding in comparison to other schools; while some universities can rely on massive endowments to stay afloat, Fordham actually uses our tuition payments to support a large part of its operating budget. Our willingness to pay a high price for knowledge is integral to the University’s ability to function and improve. As a result, we should play a part in deciding how Fordham spends our money.

This potential for improvement is clearly a priority for Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) right now, as preparations are being made for a $1 billion expansion of campus facilities. While this grand-scale progress is exciting and commendable, none of us who attend FCLC today will be undergraduates long enough to benefit directly from the end results of the “Master Plan.” And in the meantime, current students are not lacking in ideas of how to give the Fordham experience even more bang for its many bucks.

As Christina Frasca’s article, “USG Proposes Aesthetic Changes to Facilities” on page five, reports, United Student Government (USG) is advocating for aesthetic changes to FCLC that would be relatively easy to implement and likely to bolster students’ feelings of connection to their campus. And as Ryan Murphy’s op-ed, “We Are!!… Divided: Two Campuses, One University” on page eight argues, there are strides still to be made in equalizing and building community between the Lincoln Center and Rose Hill campuses. These are not dramatic, billion-dollar changes that will gain national spotlight for the University, but they are changes that would make students more proud to be members of the Fordham community.

Much of what Fordham spends comes from our tuition money, so we have a right to be proud when our school makes progress. But before that, we have a right to be listened to. If it’s our money being spent on improvements to the school, we should have a say in what those improvements are, and we should take advantage of opportunities to voice our ideas whenever we can. Unlike other schools who run off of bottomless endowments, Fordham depends on our tuition to move forward. This means they also depend on our opinions; if we don’t think the educational experience is worth what we’re paying, we might not pay for it anymore.  Student satisfaction provides for a large part of Fordham’s budget. So students, if you see something at Fordham you’d like to improve, speak up. You pay too much to stay silent.