Gun Violence Awareness Rises Over Recent Tragedies


Since the beginning of the year, there have been dozens of mass shootings across the United States. (Courtesy of Instagram)

On Jan. 21, the deadliest shooting of the month occurred in Monterey Park, Calif., where 11 people were killed and nine were wounded. Since the beginning of the year, there have been dozens of mass shootings across the United States. On New Year’s Day alone, multiple mass shootings occurred.

Only three days after the Monterey Park shooting, another mass shooting occurred in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Seven people were killed and one was wounded. The recent events have brought gun violence to the forefront of the media again.

Fordham has a policy that prohibits any “employees, students and volunteers, or any other third party on university property, or at university sponsored events on or off campus… from carrying, maintaining or storing weapons.” In addition to this policy, Fordham Public Safety, which provides “24-hour, 7-day-a-week coverage,” oversees the safety of Fordham students.

Robert Fitzer, associate vice president for public safety, explained that Public Safety has a layered approach.

“Guards control access to campus at our perimeter entrances, supported by mobile patrols on campus,” said Fitzer. “We have more than 600 cameras on our campuses — strategically located in public areas and carefully monitored by Public Safety staff. Our teams investigate every incident and follow up with the reporting individuals and appropriate University staff. We analyze every incident and track statistics to find patterns of vulnerability.”

“In addition, I have frequent discussions with local law enforcement commanders to stay abreast of any situation that may affect the Fordham community, paying particular attention to gun violence in the community,” said Fitzer.

In case of an emergency, Fitzer said that all Public Safety supervisors have at least 20 years of law enforcement experience, and they also undergo training.

“All Supervisors undergo Active Shooter Training with the NYPD Counterterrorism Unit, using ‘ALERT’ (Advance Law Enforcement Response Training) protocols,” said Fitzer.

Public Safety also speaks to all incoming students regarding active shooter safety programs during their CORE presentations.

Fitzer highlighted that Public Safety has also recently hosted several self-defense classes for students, faculty and staff.

“These classes are a great opportunity to connect with our students in a positive way and give them the training they need to protect themselves,” said Fitzer. “The techniques learned are to be used as a last resort if accosted by an individual who was intent on causing them harm.”

Stacey Cajita, GSB ’25, said she feels relatively safe on campus, but she sometimes gets worried about guards’ attentiveness.

“Off-campus, I definitely feel like I have to watch myself — but on campus, I would say I feel relatively safe,” said Cajita. “The security guards at each entrance allows me to keep my peace of mind, but sometimes when they get distracted from the scan-ins I can’t help but feel a little bit worried.”

“I also believe that Public Safety would most likely have control of the situation. However, I have seen enough instances of Public Safety neglecting duties, such as escorting injured individuals across campus, and heard enough rumors to cast doubt that they’d fully be prepared to handle a violent situation,” said Cajita.

Talia Tammaro, GSB ’25, said she knows that there are stricter gun laws in New York City compared to other cities, but she still has some fears.

“While I do know that NYC has stricter gun laws than most other places, I often find myself fearing the worst whenever I go into the city or even when I’m on campus,” said Tammaro. “I usually find myself in the mindset of ‘it never happens here until it does’ and the possibility of something happening is always in the back of my mind.”

Tammaro, is a commuter student that drives to campus, said she thinks that Public Safety does a good job of identifying people who enter the campus.

“I definitely think that Public Safety does a good job of monitoring who enters the campus and makes sure that students are properly identified,” said Tammaro. “That being said, I sometimes wonder what would happen if an emergency were caused by a student or someone else with campus access. We hear so often about students with resentment towards their school who incite gun violence, and while I’m sure it’s difficult to monitor every single person coming and going from the school, I still find myself worrying about it sometimes.”

Overall though, Cajita said she wished that there was more acknowledgement of gun violence victims because of Fordham’s status as a “Jesuit institution, location in a major influential city and reputation for wealth.”

“It feels as though a passing email is the only notification the school sends in response to gun violence and is the only tool used to acknowledge victims,” said Cajita.