On Thursday, April 9, that longstanding connection brought forth a shipment of 800 protective face masks from Nanjing, China, where SEU is based.
The donation of much-needed safety equipment was arranged by Zhengning Pu, Ph.D., associate professor and vice dean of SEU’s School of Economics and Management.
Francis Petit, Ed.D., associate dean for global initiatives and partnerships at the Gabelli School, said Professor Pu emailed him in March out of the blue to ask him where he could send some masks to the University. Petit said Pu didn’t indicate how many masks he would be sending, but he connected him with John Carroll, Fordham’s associate vice president for public safety.
“I think what he really sensed was New York City and the United States were on the verge of surpassing all other countries in terms of fatalities from the COVID-19 coronavirus, which we did,” Petit said.
Petit noted that when Fordham first established its partnership with SEU, it was through members of a previous administration at the Chinese university, and Pu only recently became the Gabelli School’s point of contact.
“He’s been a critical contact since then, and we’re very grateful for him to proactively do this,” he said.
Carroll said the masks help Fordham comply with the executive order that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued on April 15 that everyone wear a mask when interacting with the public (and he noted that they are not the N95 masks reserved for first responders and health care workers). They have already been distributed to Fordham employees who have continued to report to campus during the pandemic.
“This includes my own public safety supervisors and security guard staff, facilities staff, custodial staff, residential life staff, IT staff, and students who remain here,” he said.
Anyone entering campus can also request a mask from public safety.
“We have placed orders for masks to comply with the executive order, but they are taking a month or more to get here. This donation permits us to fill that void now, when we need them,” he said.