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An Open Letter to Prospective Students of Fordham University

Stand with Fordham’s graduate instructors, tutors, and other employees. Sign their petition for a fair first contract!

Dear Prospective Students, 

We write to you as your future colleagues and instructors, who have been organizing to improve the working and learning conditions at Fordham University and to hold the university to its stated Jesuit values. You will hear much about these values when you spend any time on our campus. We cherish them and believe they offer excellent guidance inside and outside of the classroom. We are also concerned that they are being emptied of meaningful content by the actions of Fordham’s upper administration and its president, Tania Tetlow.

Chief among these values is the principle of Cura Personalis—the care of the whole person. The power of this principle rests in its recognition that the success of a community, and our society generally, depends upon the moral, spiritual, intellectual and material well being of all its members. A substantive application of Cura Personalis would serve as an appeal to each member of the Fordham community, especially those with the power to set budgets and policy, to promote the wellbeing and growth of all community members.

Despite claiming to uphold Jesuit values, President Tetlow denies that Fordham can and should pay its workers a living wage. Yet Tetlow and her administrators have no trouble demanding students pay more to receive less. Fordham has raised its tuition by 6% this school year while cutting the amount allocated for teaching and student support. Tetlow’s administration decreased spending on instruction, research, and academic support by $15 million last year and spent $13 million more on administration. Tetlow's budgeting shows that her priority is bloating the administration, not using student tuition to benefit students.

Tetlow personally hired a union busting law firm, Bond, Schoeneck, & King, to conduct negotiations with our union. Through them, she has pursued a strategy of delay that has kept us at the bargaining table for over 17 months. They have called homelessness among graduate employees “a personal problem.” They have refused proposals that would ensure graduate instructors’ adequate time to prepare undergraduate classes. And they have refused to end Fordham’s practice of using non-disclosure agreements to silence any and all survivors of harassment and discrimination, university-wide. This conduct, endorsed by Tania Tetlow, flies in the face of Catholic social teaching and the Jesuit values that Fordham boasts. 

We want to see Fordham fully embody its mission of providing an excellent and affordable education to all who seek it, rather than adopting a corporate model that exacerbates wealth inequality in academia. A diverse student body calls for a diverse community of teachers, instead of one that rewards upper administrators over its students, graduate student workers, contingent, and full-time faculty.

If you agree that Fordham should work for all, add your name to our petition calling for a fair first contract.


Your future instructors, Fordham Graduate Student Workers