Loyola Students Share Their Opinions on Tetlow


Loyola students voice their opinions of their current president. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Fordham University President-Elect Tania Tetlow is currently the president of Loyola University New Orleans, a private college with 4,548 students (3,223 undergraduates), ranked number 202 in national universities by U.S. News & World Report.

Comparatively, Fordham has about 16,986 students (9,904 undergraduates) and is ranked 68. Both schools are Jesuit, co-ed institutions in urban environments. Tetlow began her presidency in 2018 when she became the first woman and non-clergy president at Loyola. Members of the Loyola community spoke to the Ram about Tetlow’s impact and reputation at Loyola and the responses were overwhelmingly positive, although many are surprised and sad to see her leave.

Ashunti Wilson, the president of Loyola’s Student Government Association, described the situation as “bittersweet,” “her being a layperson and a woman really had an impact on us as an institution, so we’re definitely excited for her moving up and trying something else, but of course we’re sad because she’s our president and the only president that any of us [current students] have ever known.”

Sophia Trang, the vice president of the Commuter Student Association, said, “A lot of students are happy for her, but at the same time they’re just confused as to why it happened so suddenly out of nowhere.”

Many of the Loyola students described Tetlow as being very involved on campus with students. Tomi John, Loyola’s 2021 Homecoming Queen, said, “One thing I would say about President Tetlow is she would be around campus, you would see her interacting with students and she remembered me. That was one of the main things that made me really admire her.” She even noted that Tetlow gave her a hug on graduation day. “It would be easy for her to just keep walking and go to her meetings and stuff, but she would interact with students.”

Trang echoed similar sentiments. She explained that Tetlow frequently comes to events hosted by student organizations: “It’s really amazing because she actually does try her best to get involved.”

Trang added that Tetlow even helped residential students move into their dorms at the beginning of the year.
Several students spoke about Tetlow’s frequent town hall meetings for students where she answers questions and listens to students’ concerns. John, who was also a member of Loyola’s Student Government Association, felt that Tetlow did a great job listening to students: “She gave us opportunities to let her know what the administration could do better … and yes, not everything is going to be done, but at least they’re willing to listen to what we need.”

In a press conference on Feb. 23 with Fordham’s student press, Tetlow also emphasized her focus on listening to faculty, staff and students to learn as much as she can about Fordham as she begins her new job. Tetlow made several strides during her tenure at Loyola to improve diversity, equity and inclusion. John said, “One major thing that students really asked for was to have representation in faculty, so that was one thing I wish she had pushed more … because with our demographics right now, we are becoming a more majority minority institution, but our faculty is still predominantly white.”

Wilson, said, “Of course, like most institutions, we have a long way to go in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion, but I think, just in four years, what she [Tetlow] was able to do was amazing.” In February’s student press conference, Tetlow said that during her time at Loyola, they effectively ended the gap by race and class in first year retention. She said she will also be prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at Fordham.

Another important aspect of the institution for many members of the Loyola community is sustainability.

Wilson said she’s not sure it would have been possible in just four years, but she wished Tetlow had focused more on environmental issues,

“We’re in Louisiana right next to the gulf so our biodiversity is really important down here, so I think if we could have had some more sustainability efforts as well that would have been great.”

In a written statement Robert Thomas, a professor of environmental communication and the director of the Center for Environmental Communication at Loyola, said, “She [Tetlow] has especially given moral support to both sustainability (which she insisted be a major element of the strategic plan) and social/environmental justice (cornerstones of a Jesuit education). That support is establishing itself as a major force in the future of our institution. We know she will make these program principles foundational in her presidency at Fordham.”

Additionally, Thomas described Tetlow as “a breath of fresh air for the Loyola family,” a common sentiment among many of the people who spoke with the Ram, as she was the first woman and layperson president at Loyola, giving her a unique perspective and allowing her to make many improvements on campus.

Trang said “I think she’s a great president and I do appreciate her a lot, she’s always so kind and she’s so generous and there are times where even a president will mess up, but at the end of the day you can tell that she does care about the students and I’m really sad to see her go, but I think she’ll make a big difference at Fordham.”