Tetlow Meets with Student Press to Discuss Presidency


Tetlow will be Fordham’s first female president. (Courtesy of Fordham News)

In a press conference with Fordham’s student newspapers, university President-elect Tania Tetlow, J.D. discussed her goals for her presidency, how her experience as a lawyer has informed how she acts as a university president and a personal reflection on this historic moment. 

Before becoming the president of Loyola University New Orleans, Tetlow spent over 10 years as a practicing lawyer and law professor. This career gave Tetlow a unique experience unlike any of Fordham’s previous presidents, who have all been members of the Jesuit priesthood. During the press conference, Tetlow said that being a lawyer taught her how to absorb, analyze and prioritize a large amount of information at once. She also said it has taught her how to see the other side of arguments, saying “you don’t really know the strength of your belief until you try to articulate the other side, which is an important skill.”  

She added that being both a lawyer and a teacher has also taught her to be persuasive by “really thinking about what will help teach people, or persuade them of something, which means really thinking about where they are and how they hear you, not just talking at them, but of connecting in that way.” 

Tetlow’s experience as a lawyer — specifically as the Associate Professor and Director of Tulane’s Domestic Violence Clinic — has also influenced her goals surrounding sexual violence on campus. In the press conference, Tetlow said some of her top priorities include ensuring Fordham’s Title IX protocols are up to standard, as well as improving sexual assult prevention and response practices on campus. 

“How do we make a difference? How do we create a community at Fordham that is different from the world outside of Fordham? In terms of the respect and culture that it takes to not have that kind of violence happen as often as it happens on every college campus,” said Tetlow. 

Tetlow said one of her other top priorities is improving diversity, equity and inclusion at Fordham. She believes these are the aspects an institution can constantly improve upon, and she hopes to dig further into what Fordham can do better. The issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion are multifaceted and Tetlow hopes to improve at every level. 

Tetlow aims to not only diversify the student body, both by race and class, but to keep retention rates high: “Opportunity doesn’t just mean coming through the front door, it means retention and graduation rate … At Loyola we have effectively ended the gap by race and class in first year retention, that’s something I’m really proud of, so I’m eager to see that data and see what work we might do.” She added that she also hopes to increase diversity among the faculty to have a better representation of society at large. 

But, Tetlow says these goals go beyond just students and faculty, as institutions are gatekeepers of opportunity, “we spend a lot of money on construction and contracting, and procurement, and buying of products and all sorts of supplies, so how do we do that in a way that creates opportunity as well?” 

While Tetlow has many goals and plans for the start of her career at Fordham, at the moment she says she is focusing on listening to faculty, staff and students and learning as much as she can. She is very proud to be joining the Fordham community, especially as the first female president of the institution: “This is the goal. I’m so excited to be coming and I want to do absolutely everything I’m capable of to have Fordham succeed.” She added that it is an incredible honor to be a woman in this position and she knows her mother, who was a female theology student at Fordham in the 1960s, would be proud.