Today’s Supreme Court Decision
A message from Dr. Dwight A. McBride, President and University Professor
Though we knew the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade was coming – eliminating a hard fought right guaranteed for nearly 50 years – the stark reality hits today with a ferocious impact, devastating but not surprising. I am angry and sad for the effect this decision, that does not reflect the views of the majority of Americans, will have on our fellow citizens. I am also deeply concerned about the statement it makes about the state of our democracy.
I am reminded of words that James Baldwin wrote in 1972. “If one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected – those, precisely, who need the law’s protection most! – and listens to their testimony.”
Universities are anchor institutions in a democracy. We have a responsibility not only to nurture an educated citizenry, but also to stand up and speak out when we see fundamental human rights being stripped away. Today’s decision pulls away the protection that nearly three generations of women have had to self-determination, and it will set in motion new laws in dozens of states that will have a disproportionate impact on underrepresented communities nationwide.
It is also part of a deeply distressing moment and pattern in our country to diminish and demolish human rights. The chipping away at voting rights. The refusal to step up more forcefully to address our safety from gun violence. The refusal to address permanent protections for those with DACA status. And today’s decision on abortion. Freedoms and issues core to our democracy have been abridged and rolled back, making our country less free, less united, less fair, and less safe.
As a university where students, faculty, and staff work so passionately for social justice, we have the opportunity – and the responsibility – to teach and convene, to find common ground and, together, to create a better world and chart a more just future. Through our scholarship, creative practice, research, and direct action, we will make our voices and diverse viewpoints heard at The New School. As one way to create space for broad discourse on issues connected to today’s Supreme Court decision, a new university-wide program will kick off on Friday, September 16 to mark Constitution Day that will critically examine the U.S. constitution through a lens of inclusion and human rights. We will share more information about this series at the start of the academic year.
I also want to reiterate that the health and well-being of our entire university community is our priority. Abortions, contraception, and comprehensive family planning will continue to be covered by our student and employee health insurance plans. Student Health Services also provides counseling for those who need it.
While today’s decision from the Supreme Court is distressing, I gain strength and hope in the commitment to social justice that is so in evidence at The New School, and the extraordinary social change leaders here who are listening, learning, teaching, and acting to create a stronger, more inclusive, and more equitable world.
Onward and upward.