Confusion Remains Regarding University’s Enforcement of Bivalent Booster Mandate

As implementation of mandate rests on individual security guards, students are reporting mixed experiences with signing in guests without the booster dose on campus



Public Safety officers are instructed to check proof of vaccination for all visitors, but students have disclosed that this does not always happen.


Fordham mandated the bivalent booster on Sept. 26, requiring all students, staff, faculty and guests to have received the booster dose in order to gain access to the university’s campuses. Although the policy is outlined in the university’s COVID-19 guidelines, the enforcement of the bivalent booster mandate on outside guests visiting the university remains inconsistent as some students have reported their guest needing to show proof of vaccination while others were not checked for their vaccination status. 

According to Robert Dineen, assistant vice president for Public Safety, all visitors for both the Lincoln Center and Rose Hill campuses, including those attending campus events and sports games, are required to provide proof of vaccination status, including the bivalent booster dose, in order to be admitted onto campus. Only students, faculty and staff with university-approved religious or medical exemptions will be granted access to campus without the bivalent booster.

Although Dineen noted Public Safety officers at security desks should be checking the vaccination status of guests visiting the university prior to permitting them on campus for events and sports games, residents on campus have reported varied experiences with signing in guests following the university-wide deadline to receive the bivalent booster on Nov. 1.

In line with university guidelines, some students have been unable to sign in nonuniversity guests who have not administered the bivalent booster.

In line with university guidelines, some students have been unable to sign in nonuniversity guests who have not administered the bivalent booster. Livia Sarnelli, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’25 and a resident in McMahon Hall, shared that one of her friends who had yet to receive their bivalent booster was not allowed on campus when she attempted to sign two guests in on a Saturday afternoon. She said she thought that the university’s requirement that guests also be fully vaccinated was unsuccessfully explained to students. 

“I felt like maybe it was embedded in some email somewhere, but I felt like it wasn’t effectively communicated,” she said. 

Sarnelli noted that outside guests may be unlikely to already have their booster shot administered due to a lack of access or low incentive if their workplace or university hasn’t mandated it.

“If you’re not living on a college campus, there is not a super high incentive to get it right away,” she said. 

Kaylin Barnes, FCLC ’24 and another resident in McMahon Hall, shared that when signing in guests, the security guard sometimes requested proof of vaccination. She noted that other times, the guests she signs in are not prompted to share their vaccination status. 

“During the day, they always check, but it’s just a matter of day or night and whether the guard on duty cares enough.” Kaylin Barnes, FCLC ’24

“During the day, they always check,” she said. “But it’s just a matter of day or night and whether the guard on duty cares enough.”

MaryGrace Petti, FCLC ’23 and another McMahon Hall resident, shared that contrary to what she anticipated, her parents did not have to show proof of vaccination when she signed them in during Thanksgiving break. 

“I expected that my parents would have to show a form of identification and proof of vaccination, but when I asked the security guard if I could sign my parents in, he just allowed them to come right up without presenting an ID or proof of vaccination status,” she said. 

Petti noted that the ease with which she was able to sign in her parents without any pushback was surprising and, similarly to Barnes, believes that “it comes down to arbitrary sign-in requirements based on who is working at the security desk.”

Dineen shared that he was unaware of reports concerning the access of guests on campus without proof of vaccination and declined to comment on these student experiences since he had not heard of the specific details surrounding them. He said that he would like to find out more about each instance by speaking with students and potentially retraining the guards that are reported. 

The bivalent booster has been the subject of significant debate from Fordham community members, spawning petitions both in opposition to and in support of the mandate, protests at the presidential inauguration, and a potential lawsuit from a Long Island law firm. The university, however, has maintained that the booster requirement remains effective in combating COVID-19 and preventing its spread, according to Bob Howe, assistant vice president for communications. 

Dineen shared that although he is aware that some members of the university community are not pleased with the bivalent booster mandate, he has not received complaints about it at the Lincoln Center campus. He noted that the university is still determining the compliance of its community members who have neither uploaded their up-to-date vaccination status nor requested a medical or religious exemption from the university. 

“At this time the University is not restricting access or turning people away from campus,” he said.  

Maryam Beshara contributed additional reporting to this story.