This is where Fordham joins FIRE’s list of Worst Colleges for Free Speech.
“[Lincoln Center] Dean of Students Keith Eldredge overruled the USG and denied recognition to SJP, writing that he ‘cannot support an organization whose sole purpose is advocating political goals of a specific group, and against a specific country’ and that ‘the Israeli-Palestinian conflict … often leads to polarization rather than dialogue.’
On Jan. 25, 2017, FIRE and the National Coalition Against Censorship wrote to Fordham, calling on the university to reverse its rejection of SJP in keeping with its free speech promises. Instead, Fordham doubled down and even went so far as to sanction students protesting the University’s decision….
Members of the prospective SJP chapter fought back and filed a lawsuit against Fordham on April 26, 2017. Again, rather than admitting its errors, Fordham continued to stand by its disregard for free association…. On Jan. 3, Fordham defended its actions in court by offering a shifting array of justifications for its behavior, each less believable than the last, eventually claiming that the students could start a group, so long as it didn’t use the [SJP] name — a claim that directly contradicts the University’s written explanations for why it denied official recognition to the group.” - FIRE
What we face as a community of students and faculty is not a question of legal right, but of ethical good. Plenty of legal behaviors are nonetheless morally bankrupt.
“Fordham University, the Jesuit University of New York, is committed to the discovery of Wisdom and the transmission of Learning, through research and through undergraduate, graduate and professional education of the highest quality. Guided by its Catholic and Jesuit traditions, Fordham fosters the intellectual, moral and religious development of its students and prepares them for leadership in a global society.” – Fordham Mission Statement
It is impossible to reconcile the censorship of open discussion with Jesuit values, period.
“We believe that students have to be invited to wrestle with the great ethical issues of their time. We want them to be bothered by the realization that they don’t know everything and bothered by injustice." - University President, Father Joseph McShane