Our Commitment to Diversity: A Message From Incoming President and Joseph Crea Dean David D. Meyer
In response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision on affirmative action on June 29, incoming President and Joseph Crea Dean David D. Meyer sent the following message to the Brooklyn Law School community:
Dear BLS Students and Colleagues,
I write to reaffirm Brooklyn Law School’s unwavering commitment to ensuring a diverse and vibrant educational community fully consistent with all legal requirements, including those of the Constitution.
Twenty years ago, the Supreme Court in Grutter v. Bollinger recognized two facts that remain true today: first, that “attaining a diverse student body is at the heart of [a] Law School’s proper institutional mission,” and, second, that the “unique experience of being a racial minority in a society, like our own, in which race unfortunately still matters” is essential to the diversity that drives educational quality.
Today, in Students for Fair Admission v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admission v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, the Court holds that the Constitution bars direct consideration of an applicant’s race in admissions.
Nothing in today’s decision, however, undermines the principle, recognized nearly 50 years ago in Justice Lewis Powell’s opinion in Bakke v. Regents of the University of California and affirmed in Grutter, that the “nation’s future depends upon leaders trained through wide exposure’ to the ideas and mores of students as diverse as this Nation of many peoples.” While the Court today rejects that racial diversity can justify race-conscious admissions, it does not deny the importance of a student body that reflects a diverse range of experiences and perspectives.
We disagree profoundly with any suggestion that being a racial minority in American society is no longer itself a marker for a life experience of unique value in a law school classroom. While we will, of course, ensure that our practices conform to the Court’s judgment, we will not yield in our commitment to ensuring a classroom that includes a rich diversity of experiences and perspectives, including the distinctive experiences of students who have overcome hardships, discrimination, and exclusion of all kinds. Indeed, values of access and non-discrimination have defined Brooklyn Law School’s distinctive mission since its founding in 1901. That commitment remains as vital as ever to the quality of a legal education and, given the role of law schools in preparing our nation’s future leaders, to the strength of our democracy.