Public Safety Begins Self Defense Classes for Students


Public Safety is hosting self-defense classes. (Courtesy of The Fordham Ram Archives)

Public Safety announced on March 25 that they will be hosting self-defense classes taught by the New York Self Defense Academy during the first and second weeks of April. The classes will be coordinated by Emergency Manager, Mike McGinn, with the assistance of his student administrative assistant, Lindsey Sullivan, and the director of the fitness center, Sara Bickford. Currently, the plan is to hold these classes in the Ram Fit Center. Due to an overwhelming response from the student body, there are also plans to expand the classes to the Lincoln Center campus next semester and increase the number of sessions offered.

These classes were not something offered in the past. The idea to host these classes came about as a result of two Fordham students who were referred to Public Safety by the Office of Student Involvement. They wanted to start a new student club focused on self-defense training but needed to find someone interested in serving as the sponsor for their initiative.

Robert Fitzer said:
“As the new associate vice president for Public Safety, I saw this as an excellent opportunity to connect with our students in a collaborative and positive way and give them the training necessary to defend themselves, as a last resort, if accosted by an individual who was intent on causing them harm.”
Fitzer explained that the classes will be based on the highly acclaimed Krav Maga technique.
Krav Maga, which should only be used as a last resort, focuses on aiming for the opponent’s weak points and striking quickly and powerfully in order to incapacitate the aggressor.

This allows the victim to quickly escape the situation and contact law enforcement for further assistance. Along with the physical training, Public Safety will be offering personal safety tips and updates on current crime trends at the beginning of each class.

“It is my belief that it is very important to promptly notify our community of potentially dangerous situations so that students have the necessary information to take appropriate precautions, ” said Fitzer.

Due to the increase in crime in NYC, Public Safety believes that it’s important for students to understand how to protect themselves proactively, and that these classes are the best choice of action.

They mainly attribute the recent increase in reported crimes to the increase of residential students this year. Last year the number of residential students was reduced significantly due to the pandemic. In addition to the return of many students to campus, Fordham has one of the largest freshman classes this year. This has created a goal of offering classes that will help new students have the confidence to fully and safely explore the local community outside of campus.

“Again, we are very happy to see the enthusiastic response by the students to these classes and look forward to providing additional sessions this semester and next,” said Fitzer.