A Look at Fordham’s Guest Policy


A rise in non-Fordham individuals sneaking onto campus has brought into question the university guest policy. (Courtesy of Nicoleta Papavasilakis/The Fordham Ram)

When the COVID-19 pandemic first began infiltrating New York in spring 2020, the university implemented various safety protocols.

As the pandemic progressed, Fordham continued monitoring the situation and adjusting its protocols according to CDC guidance and data.

Although all faculty, staff and students are required to have received a COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot, Fordham campuses remain closed to the general public with the exception of campus tours. Guests looking to tour campus must meet the university’s vaccination requirements. Due to this policy, students are prohibited from bringing non-Fordham students on campus.

The Ram reached out to George Smith, director of Public Safety, about whether or not there has been an increase in non-Fordham students being snuck onto campus. He said that “on occasion the Director of Public Safety (DPS) is notified by residential hall staff or the security officer on duty of an unauthorized guest. We have not experienced an increase in these cases year to date.”

Additionally, some have recently noticed a Public Safety car parked outside of Walsh Gate. Students can enter and exit campus unmoderated through Walsh Gate, since, unlike the other entrances to campus, there is no officer on duty at the entrance. This led some students to assume that the Public Safety car parked outside Walsh Gate was stationed to moderate the flow of students entering and exiting campus and to make sure each student properly scanned their Fordham ID before entering campus.

However, Smith said, “That was in response to the alert we put out on Sunday, Feb. 27, with the picture of the individual wanted for a theft on campus.”

Bob Howe, the Assistant Vice President for communications and special advisor to the president noted the guest policy’s intended purpose, stating:
“The policy was instituted in spring 2020, when the pandemic began. The reason why students’ guests aren’t permitted on campus is to limit COVID-19 exposure to the campus community.”

Howe also stressed the policy’s role in limiting COVID-19 exposure. He said, “You cannot, on any college campus, completely eliminate exposure, but you can reduce the odds by reducing the number of visitors on campus and the places to which [they] have access.”

Although guests are allowed to enter campus for campus tours, Howe noted the difference between tour groups and non-Fordham student guests: “The number of guests allowed on campus is relatively small, and the overwhelming majority are not entering residence hall buildings, much less individual rooms or suites.”

Recently, the university has lifted the mask mandate for students and faculty who are fully vaccinated and boosted. Given this change, there has been some speculation as to whether the university will also change the guest policy.

When asked whether Fordham may change the current guest policy in the near future, Howe stated, “There is no target date for changing the policy. Our method has been to make incremental policy changes and observe the effects before taking the next step. The best argument for Fordham’s policies is the data: we have managed to hold in-person classes during the pandemic with zero deaths and very few serious illnesses. We are carrying out our educational mission at a very low risk to the Fordham community.”