Freshmen Need Not Fear Fordham Road


Fordham University has recently opened up its “Fordham Insights” tour offerings again, meaning prospective students and their families are visiting campus for two hours at a time. With these campus visits comes concern from parents when they see Fordham’s surrounding area, and the typical contradiction offered to any incoming freshman: That they should treat New York as their campus, while also being fearful of everything around the corner.

Fordham Public Safety seems to want to reassure parents more than anything else, often to the detriment of the students that are going to be attending Fordham. Prospective freshmen and their families are told about the Ram Van, not just as a convenient tool to take classes at both campuses, but as one of the ways Fordham keeps students safe, as if taking the subway — something that most people in New York City use to get around — is something that parents shouldn’t be able to trust their adult children to be able to utilize. The fact that Fordham Public Safety is made of former NYPD officers is recounted to parents as if to make up for the fact that Fordham’s Rose Hill campus is in the Bronx. 

Why they do this is no mystery. If you want students to come to your university, it is prudent to get parents on your side, and most families sending their children to Fordham are going to be far enough away from the reality of Fordham Road that simply hearing the words “the Bronx” is enough to conjure visions of kidnappings and robberies.

But the Bronx does not deserve to be seen through the lens of preconceived notions. It’s unfair to act as if students are taking on an especially egregious risk when they come to attend university here. Of course New York City is unsafe! It’s a huge city, and the more strangers that live around you, the greater your risk is of adverse interactions with those strangers. It’s just common sense, but Public Safety’s inducement of paranoia in freshmen is unreasonable, and only serves to turn Fordham students into sheltered and fearful homebodies, rather than the “men and women for others” that Fordham wishes to cultivate.

The best protection for incoming freshmen and current students alike is just not doing anything stupid. Which, when considering university is when many Americans will begin seriously drinking or generally experimenting for the first time, may be easier said than done. More than Public Safety shuttles, what students coming to study in a big city need to know is how to keep their wits about them, stay aware of their surroundings and not put themselves into unnecessarily risky situations. Nobody would routinely walk around their hometown after dark, looking down at their phone, with their earbuds in. However, after a night of drinking with friends, it can be easy to forget that no one should be updating their Instagram outside after dark. 

This is not to victim-blame students who find themselves in a dangerous situation — random acts of crime do occur, but that’s not unique to Fordham Road. We’re not going to pretend bad things don’t happen in New York City, because they do. The number of Public Safety alerts we get in our inboxes seems to have had a spike in March, along with the rates of crime on the subway. However, as much as the rise of crime rates in New York City is concerning, it is, once again, not unique. Violent crime rates are rising all around the United States, and, even if they weren’t, it can be difficult for any parent to leave their children at university for the first time.

Separation can be a terrifying thing, true, but Fordham freshmen will have an easier and more enjoyable time integrating into New York if they don’t come to school with the promise of Fordham University being their only oasis in a dangerous city.