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Statement on Supreme Court Decision Overturning Roe v. Wade

To the Clark Community:

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision announced yesterday in the Dobbs case overturning Roe v. Wade upends fifty years of established constitutional protection and puts at risk the health and well-being of people across the country, especially those who are most vulnerable. As president of a university that is deeply committed to the fundamental values of human rights, civil liberties, equality, and justice, I believe we must recognize how antithetical this decision is to those values even as we acknowledge and respect that individual members of our community — for religious or other personal reasons — may hold different views on this particular issue. Each of us is entitled to our own views and to have those views determine the choices we make in the conduct of our own lives. While we can have sharp disagreements, I do not believe we are entitled to force others to choose as we would.

No doubt, this decision hits many of you hard and creates a deep sense of pain and worry. For many, the decision is even more traumatic because of what it may presage for the future as it could potentially threaten other fundamental rights afforded through judicial precedent.

At times like this, we can and must benefit from our institutional role as a center of knowledge and understanding committed to social justice. It is essential that we come together as a community to process and contextualize this decision, including the social, political, and historical implications. To this end, we are organizing a virtual panel discussion convening experts among our Clark faculty and alumni who will explore the ramifications of overturning Roe v Wade as well as the considerable shift in what we have considered well-established judicial norms. We will share details about this programming soon.

David Fithian ’87