Students Reflect on Tetlow’s Transition


Tania Tetlow, who began her term in July, met with cultural club leaders on March 2. (Courtesy of Instagram)

President Tania Tetlow began her term in July 2022. Tetlow serves as the university’s first female and layperson president. As with any presiding officer of a collective, her constituents have had much to say; the students she serves speak loudly of her actions. Many students have remarked on the key highlight of Tetlow’s administration: her public presence, and her emails to the community.

Tetlow met with cultural club leaders on March 2, making good on her pledge to student outreach. “I want to hear the ways you constantly work to make Fordham better, and the ideas you have for the future,” she stated in a promise emailed to the Fordham community on the morning of her first day in office.

“I think President Tetlow does listen to student voices,” said Asian Cultural Exchange (ACE) President Alex Tamsi, FCRH ’24, who was invited to and attended the meeting. “I appreciate the time she took to meet with student leaders of cultural organizations on campus, seeking our input on what the cultural landscape at Fordham looks like and in what ways it could be improved.”

Like Tetlow, Tamsi is a newly-appointed president, selected in February to head up ACE, a student-led organization celebrating customs represented by Fordham’s diverse communities of AAPI ancestry.

“Tetlow’s meeting was very student-led, and centered on us voicing our concerns, observations and experiences. She’s very approachable, which can be difficult from a position representing the entire university. I feel she really considered what we said, because she not only listened, but offered responses contextualized by the information she could share with us.”

“President Tetlow did the right thing by meeting with cultural clubs-definitely a great step,” says Arthur Liu, FCRH ’23 and Tamsi’s ACE predecessor. “I’m glad she felt the best way to learn about the student body was to talk to students directly, and that’s a level of engagement I never saw with Father McShane. Tetlow certainly has a much better grasp of the Fordham community.”

Liu also pointed to Tetlow’s emails, sent under the ‘Office of the President.’ “Besides spreading awareness of these different cultures, they also help to make our minority groups here feel and be recognized,” said Liu, especially with her messages celebrating Holi and Ramadan.

“I do wish she’d reach out to international students to gauge a sense of how we feel about Fordham, and what we want to see from her during her administration,” said Liu, a Malaysian-born international student from Hong Kong. “There’s a trend of international students being sidelined, forgotten- we’re usually only seen in diversity statistics published by the university. It’s important to recognize international students, because we bring different cultural perspectives, and are often ineligible for Fordham scholarships or federal aid. As an international student myself, I’m not angry at President Tetlow in any way, especially as she’s only recently taken office, but I implore her not to squander this opportunity to connect with a demographic full of potential that has been long overlooked.”

“Concerning her inclination to hear student voices, I believe President Tetlow has made solid strides to open opportunities for students to interact with her,” said USG Vice President of Communications and Marketing Ariadna Wong, FCRH ’25. “From individual office hours to a presidential student advisory council, she’s formed a precedent for personalized student engagement.”

“As Fordham’s first lay woman president, the Rams community holds her to high expectations, as all our presidents should be,” Wong said. “Her unique background empowers students to place their faith in her ability to create change here for the better. I feel that’s why she holds so much potential to move Fordham forward.”

“She’s been fine, there haven’t been many drastic changes so far, but she seems to really enjoy being at Fordham and is embracing the potential of this community,” said Thomas Aiello, FCRH ’23, a sports journalist who worked at WFUV and The Fordham Ram. “The McShane-Tetlow transition seemed almost seamless. While I can’t comment for sure on whether she has listened to student voices, she seems to have taken fellow admin opinions at more value than McShane did, from my perspective.”
“As I’m someone who scrutinizes Fordham Athletics, McShane never made athletics a priority here at our school. Since joining the A10 in 1995 full-time, basketball hasn’t had much success despite being our most popular sport. Tetlow came in neutral about athletics, but given the season our teams had and the image the team created, Tetlow seems fully onboard with building up the program.” Aiello highlights Tetlow’s March 13 email. “Don’t forget, athletics brings in the money, upgrades facilities, builds buildings, improves student life, unifies the campus. Tetlow knows this.”

Benjamin Coco, FCRH ’24, said, “My first encounter with President Tetlow was during RA training when to our great surprise, after giving her prepared speech, she opened the floor to any questions we wanted. That was incredibly brave and showed how ready she was to engage with us and answer the challenging questions she was asked.”

“My most recent interaction with President Tetlow was at the Founder’s Dinner,” said Coco. “I was one of the Senior Scholars and she went to each of us and asked our names as she shook our hands. So far everything she’s done has seemed to garner respect and support from the community.”