Dear Members of the Fordham Family:

As you likely know, the University community has suffered a string of hateful incidents on campus, the third and most recent of which was today, when workers discovered a racial slur in a bathroom in Goupil Hall.

I use the word “suffered” advisedly: these actions hurt everyone, without distinction between intended victim, perpetrator, and bystanders. Each of these despicable slurs is a stain on the Fordham community, and on each of its members. That said, I have the greatest empathy for the targets of these slurs, whether they be individuals or groups. No one should be marginalized nor demeaned in such a way, and I hold out the greatest contempt for anyone who would intentionally inflict that pain on another human being.

Disgust, in fact, is what I feel in contemplating these attacks. This behavior is—or should be—far, far outside the range of acceptable expression at a Jesuit institution. To punish another person because of their race, gender, sexual orientation or creed is the antithesis of Cura Personalis, much less the ethic of the academy.

I know that the offices of Student Affairs and Safety and Security are responding to the University community’s concerns individually and collectively, and that those staff members, along with faculty, student leaders, and the student body itself, will do everything in their power to stop these incidents and start repairing the trust damaged by them. I have made it clear to everyone in the administration that I expect such actions to be a priority.

For now, I know you will join with me in keeping those hurt by these senseless acts in your thoughts and prayers. I likewise hope that you join me in praying for the damaged person or persons who authored such hatefulness, that they might come to understand the pain they’ve caused, and be moved to help mend those they have hurt.


Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President