“Our nurturing environment invites students of all traditions to a maturing of faith, self knowledge, respect for the dignity of themselves and others, a devotion to justice, a commitment to serving the poor and a passion for truth, reflection and lifelong learning.”
Taken directly from the Fairfield University website, this description of the Jesuit Tradition reaches thousands of people around the country every day, many of whom are perspective students. Sounds good, but too bad this public relations front is as much a reality as Tom Brady’s “incomplete pass” last Saturday night.
Let’s face it, folks. If you enrolled here actually believing that John Q. Student was going to hop in mommy and daddy’s Saab, drive past the Quick ‘ Reilly/Fleet Securities RecPlex to the Cablevision School of Business for class and then see this university’s ruling body supporting any concept of the social justice embodied in its own credo, then there are much better uses for your tens of thousands of dollars.
Look towards the top of a listing of the university’s Board of Trustees. If it’s in alphabetical order, you’ll find Joseph F. Bernadino, head of accounting giant Arthur Andersen at the top. Yes, that’s the same Arthur Andersen that served as both auditor and consultant for Enron, the company leading the nightly news after its Nixonesque fall that left thousands of employees without their life savings. The same Arthur Andersen that has admitted its employees shredded documents related to audits of the former energy giant. And the same Arthur Andersen whose client, after overstating its company profits by hundreds of millions of dollars, has created a national scandal that may eventually reach the hallowed halls of the White House.
But it doesn’t stop there. Remember just around four years ago? That was the time when our president, a man of the cloth himself, decided to finally help university janitors earn a living wage ironically around the same time that the regional media were picking up stories about Fairfield students and faculty on hunger strike for the cause. Maybe I’m wrong, but something tells me that the I won’t see the names of anyone who starved himself in defiance of injustice on the walls of any university buildings in the near future.
I have friends who have traveled to Central and South America on Fairfield-sponsored trips to support those less fortunate in third world countries. And I honestly believe that they have done so with no regard for their own careers or resumes, but only to help others in the name of social justice.
However, I strongly fear that this university’s Powers That Be do not share the same interest in justice as such students and university officials; that they see this as another ploy to make Fairfield a “brand name school.”
And I also fear that while our existing buildings have been named for martyrs, future construction projects will undoubtedly be donned with the names of hypocrites.