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NY Senate Approves Gay Marriage

Sara Azoulay, Asst. News Editor

On Friday, June 24th, the New York Senate passed a bill approving gay marriage, marking a historic moment in U.S legislation. The decision followed the June 15th  state assembly that approved the marriage equality bill.

While overwhelming uncertainty for the marriage bill left citizens unsure of the ultimate outcome,  the vote came down to a win for gay marriage supporters—33 votes to 29. Four Republicans were in favor of the bill, Stephen M. Saland, Roy J. McDonald, James S. Alesi, and Mark J. Grisanti .  Senator Mark J. Grisanti of Buffalo, a Republican among the four said before voting,

 “I apologize for those who feel offended, I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.”

 All democrats present in the Senate but one voted yes to the bill. Democrat Rubén Díaz Sr. of the Bronx voted no to the bill stating,

“God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage, a long time ago.”

  The bill was signed at 11:15 p.m. Friday night by Governor Andrew Cuomo and will take effect in thirty days. New York joins the ranks of Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut in allowing same sex marriage and is currently the largest state to do so.While the decision marks a huge victory for the gay community, others feel that it comprises the traditional structure of families. 

The bill was passed just in time for the Gay Pride Parade in New York City. The pridefest, the LGBT street fair, was held on Sunday, June 25, 2011 on Hudson Street. Many supporters came out to celebrate gay pride and the new passing of the marriage equality bill.

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BREAKING: Possible Suspicious Package on 60th Street

Ashley Tedesco, blog editor & Sadia Noor, assistant blog editor

There seems to be some commotion on 60th Street due to what might be a “suspicious package”. Entrance to 60th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam is blocked off and students cannot exit through Lowenstein. Students and staff are encouraged to exit through McMahon and walk to 10th Ave. or through the Law School exit if they are headed off campus.

More details to come on The Observatory.

UPDATE: According to eyewitnesses on the scene, the “suspicious package” was a lone Mac computer left unattended on the street. The situation was declared a false alarm when a SWAT team member kicked the Mac computer and shattered it, revealing nothing threatening inside.

Categories: Campus, News

BREAKING: English Department Boycotts Fordham Bookstores

February 18, 2011 1 comment

Christina Frasca, news co-editor

The English Deparment at Fordham University has officially boycotted the Barnes and Noble Bookstores on both Lincoln Center and Rose Hill campuses, following a meeting on Feb. 9.

Citing widespread dissatisfaction with Bookstore policies and practices regarding ordering and displaying texts, as well as eighteen months of failed appeals by the Faculty Senate and Fordham administration, the English Department has decided to go through with the boycott beginning with the Fall 2011 semester.

According to a statement released by the English Department, it is specifically protesting the following matters:

1. Barnes and Noble’s policy of cutting faculty orders: Bookstore managers reducing the number of books ordered per class without consulting the professors, thus resulting in chronic shortages.
2. The Bookstore’s inexplicable failure to order texts in the specified editions: Despite instructor’s efforts to supply ISBN numbers, the wrong editions of textbooks are continuously ordered.
3. The Bookstore’s failure (particularly at Rose Hill) to display books so that students and faculty can readily see them, and to keep them on the shelves: Shelves are crowded with texts stacked behind one another, with some essential texts never making it to the shelf from their boxes. Students have also found that if they are trying to buy a book four weeks into the semester, the bookstore has already returned the unsold copies to make room for new shipments. The growing amount of floor space for the sale of non-books (clothing in particular) has increased these problems. 

The English Department is also looking for ways to comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, which requires that ISBNs and prices be included in online listings. 

“Despite our deep and abiding commitment to print culture, we call for this Bookstore boycott because we have lost confidence in the Barnes and Noble’s willingness—or ability—to tailor its policies to the needs and interests of Fordham’s academic community,” the press release stated. “We are boycotting not because we feel a campus bookstore is a quaint anachronism, but rather because we believe it should be a vital and reliable part to the university’s academic culture.”

Categories: Campus, News

Update: LC Night Classes Out Early, Delayed Opening Tomorrow

February 1, 2011 1 comment

Ashley Tedesco, blog editor

It seems that the powers that be have realized that the weather between Manhattan and the Bronx is not actually different, and has made amendments to the closings and delays for the next 24 hours. Here’s the deal:

Classes starting at or after 7 p.m. are cancelled, with all non-essential LC personnel excused at 7 p.m. We’re going to assume that means night classes will be dismissed early, but not cancelled altogether. Check with professors individually.

For tomorrow, 8:30 a.m. classes are cancelled, with the day starting with 10 a.m. classes.

Get up-to-the-minute delays and closings by calling 1 (800) 280-SNOW or (212) 636-7777. And, as always, updates will be posted right here on the Observatory as they come in!

Categories: Campus, News

Unlike NYC Public Schools and the UN, No Snow Day for Fordham

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Ashley Tedesco, blog editor

For all of you who keep hoping a snow day could still be in the works, I’m here to crush your dreams. As of 8 a.m., Fordham’s inclement weather hotline–(212) 636-7777–is reporting that classes beginning at or after 10 a.m. today at Lincoln Center (and at or after 10:50 at Rose Hill) are indeed on as scheduled. Sorry, folks.

However, if you’re a lucky one (like me! Sorry!) your professor may cancel individual classes, dependent upon his or her individual commute. Professors have been encouraged by administration to let students know themselves if they plan on missing class, so check your Fordham emails before trekking through the snow (or the long, lonely corridor from McMahon to Lowenstein) to get to a class that may have been cancelled.

There are several delays and service changes on the MTA for those commuting today. As of this morning, it seems all bus service as been suspended, and electric trains are being pulled by diesel engines to push through the snow. All lines are running, but they are all delayed. Get up-to-the-minute details here.

Keep checking the Observatory for more details as this winter weather situation develops. Mass delays or cancellations will be reported right here! And for those still forced to travel today, be careful!

Categories: Campus, News Tags: ,

Master Plan Breaks Ground at FCLC!

January 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Cristina Romano

Ground-breaking news! Construction has finally started on a 22-story, 468,000 square foot law school building and dorm at FCLC! This building, which is only one piece to the $1.6 billion expansion puzzle, is set to be completed in 2014 – luckily if you are a Freshman, you will still be at Fordham when it is brand new! However, the entire project is set to take 25 years – hopefully none of us will still be at Fordham when the entire expansion project is officially completed.

Designed by Pei Cobb Freed, the building, which will be constructed in cast stone, metal and glass, will be located on West 62nd between Columbus and Amsterdam. It will also contain a beautiful two-story atrium, a trial court facility and a 562,000-volume law library. The lower nine stories will be occupied entirely by Fordham Law, while the top part of the building will house approximately 430 undergraduates, according to Curbed.

In August 2010, Fordham finally got the official go-ahead to begin the project after residents of The Alfred, a luxury condo on West 61st St, filed suit, stating that the project violated a land agreement due to its towering 600-foot height. The residents of The Alfred argued that Fordham violated an agreement to use the land for academic purposes only, and wanted to cap the height restrictions at 200 feet.

Fordham will be not be holding a ceremonial groundbreaking until the beginning of May – however keep checking back in The Observatory for more updates on this exciting project!

60th Street Back to One-Way Traffic… In the Other Direction

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Ashley Tedesco, blog editor

In early October, our beloved 60th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues went from a short-lived two way street, back to one-way eastbound, how it’s been for the majority of my time at Fordham, and I’ve been here since fall 2007. So you can imagine it was pretty jarring yesterday when I returned to campus and almost had a head-on collision when trying to turn onto 60th from Amsterdam. At some point over winter break, 60th Street become a one-way westbound street. How the city of New York can arbitrarily change the direction of a street confounds me, as it probably confounded many of you. Though most students and staff are back on campus and have been for at least a few days, those of you still filtering in, beware of the direction change! And of course, keep an eye on the Observatory for more developments in this crazy street saga.