To our fellow members of the Fordham Community,
On January 15th, 2019, the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus released the names of Jesuits credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. It was revealed that five of these Jesuits had been assigned to Fordham University or Fordham Preparatory School at some point decades ago, a revelation that was deeply unsettling to both the student body and the Fordham community. The members of the United Student Government unequivocally condemn the actions of these Jesuits, and present the following statements in reaction to these revelations.
The Jesuit Education that is embodied by institutions such as Fordham is rooted in fostering a community that manifests cura personalis. A community such as this strives to nurture a student’s well being and development in all aspects: mind, body, and soul. The backbone of this ideal are the relationships cultivated between educators and students as well as between peers. Any act of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, or domestic violence is an inexcusable corruption of these relationships, and is the antithesis to the idea of cura personalis. These abhorrent abuses of power are nearly certain to severely undermine a student’s overall well being that Fordham so dearly attempts to cultivate.
While these crimes were committed many years ago, we hope that they provide meaningful context to the horrific spread of sexual abuse that pervades college campuses throughout the nation. The unique destructive effects of sexual abuse warrant an extensive reaction from both administrators and students alike. To this end, we commend Fordham’s creation of an independent Advisory Committee to review sexual misconduct allegations against Jesuits in our community. The United Student Government is committed to exhausting all possible resources to work with administrators to ensure proper action is being taken, to support and give voice to survivors of such events, and to enact initiatives in accordance with the goal of eradicating these appalling crimes in our community.
As the student body of this institution, we have an obligation to create an environment in which this can not and will not happen to any one of us, and in the case that it does, we have an obligation to uplift those who are affected and denounce the perpetrators. Silence and inaction should not have been an option when those Jesuits disregarded human decency all those years ago, and as a student body, we commit to ensuring that it is not an option now.