SAGES will go ‘public’ at the end of the month: source

After weeks of breaking school rules by secretly distributing condoms on campus and tangling with administrators on social media, S.A.G.E.S. will publicly name its members at the end of the month, a well-placed source revealed to Fordham Daily on Monday.

The mission of S.A.G.E.S., which stands for Students for Sex & Gender Equality and Safety, is to shed light on — and, ultimately, amend — Fordham’s birth control and free speech policies. S.A.G.E.S. has said their anonymity has helped universalize and publicize their mission on campus.

“Our anonymity requires that we communicate publicly with [administrators], but it also forces them to communicate publicly with us,” the group said via email. “We’re trying to push administration to be on the record and in the open with their responses to our movement. “

Christopher Rodgers, dean of students at Rose Hill, told The Fordham Ram late last month that S.A.G.E.S. was not being investigated, but it is unclear whether the members will face disciplinary action once their names are made public.

The sex crusaders introduced themselves to the community last month when they discretely distributed condoms during the President’s Ball and Homecoming football game. The condoms were labeled with information about the coalition and a link to a health survey they created.

Additional birth control has since been distributed in secret at Rose Hill and Lincoln Center.

The group has addressed four specific demands they have for Fordham’s administration:

  • Free condoms for students in accessible community spaces.
  • Free access to STD testing on campus.
  • A free speech zone on campus.
  • Resources for pregnant women and child care.

Because of Fordham’s deeply-rooted identity as a Jesuit Catholic institution, the distribution of birth control on campus is prohibited, according to the university’s handbook. The possession of birth control, however, is permitted, administrators have said — contrary to rumors that have floated around campus. [More]

During Homecoming Weekend, Rodgers directly addressed the group’s condom-drop in a way the campus community had not seen before: on Twitter. 

Admin and students tangled on social media for all to see.

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In an open letter published in the paper on Sept. 24, S.A.G.E.S. wrote that failed attempts to meet with administrators “with no witnesses and accountability” led to the coalition’s formation and anonymous condom-drops.

A source in the Dean’s Office denied that students have approached the office to discuss birth control policies this semester.

“This is some of the most fun we’ve had organizing on this campus because rather than wasting time banging our heads against the wall waiting for you to hear us or respond to our emails, we’ve got your full attention and we get to dictate how this conversation is had,” S.A.G.E.S wrote.

The group went on the call the tweets directed at them from @RHSLFORDHAM “condescending.”

Rodgers confirmed that he was the author of the @RHSLFORDHAM tweets, and wrote in an effort to correct “misinformed” tweets from S.A.G.E.S. — and help “assure that anyone listening to the discussion has good information rather than slogans on these important issues,” he told Fordham Daily.

Rodgers summed up last month’s Student Life Council town hall meeting as “a great opportunity to hopefully help people understand these policies and values better.”

At least one representative from S.A.G.E.S. was at the unusually aggravated monthly meeting, and did not see it quite as positively.

“We were under the impression that the advertised town hall format would allow for a discussion,” one member of S.A.G.E.S. wrote to Fordham Daily via email.

“Once again, we saw students asking fairly direct questions and Dean Rodgers providing indirect, lengthy responses that seldom answered the posed questions or shed more clarity on the topic.”

They summed up the conversation as “ineffective and oppressive.”

S.A.G.E.S. has vowed to continue fighting for free condoms on campus by spotlighting one of their demands each week — “with a direct action related to each demand.”