Beloved Ballroom: Small Events Will Go On, Admin Be Damned!

Events with less than 75 people will continue to be held in Rex Hall on Arthur Avenue — a popular ballroom space at 603 187th Street, used by students for concerts and dances — until a proper occupancy certificate can be obtained in April or May, students and the ballroom’s operator have said.

“As you may have heard by now we are lacking some legal paperwork, but it is on its way,” said a post on the ballroom’s Facebook page. “If all goes according to plan, The Ballroom will be fully functioning and legal by late April/May. For now we can host smaller events of 75 people or less. If you would like to host an event please let us know, it will help us out, and we can help you organize it!”

A week after Fordham Daily exclusively reported that administrators had discovered “the ballroom” didn’t have the occupancy certificate required by city officials and events were shut down as a result, students have bound together in outrage.

The most visible representations of such frustration may be found on Facebook, and in a column, printed last week in The Fordham Ram where the question is pointedly asked: “Is the role Fordham wants to play in the surrounding neighborhood, where so many of its students reside, that of ignorance or, worse, downright victimization?”

Students were quick to blame Fordham Security for threatening to shut down events in the ballroom, but John Carroll, vice president of Safety and Security, reassured Fordham Security has made no such threat.

Frank Franz, the ballroom’s operator, decided to cancel large events beginning last week most likely in fear of facing legal action by city officials (who were made aware of the situation by Fordham admin). Events with 75 people or less do not require such an occupancy certificate, according to city regulations.

“We obviously can’t allow our students to run programs in any spaces the city has not inspected or permitted,” an administrative source told me last week.