Dear Members of the Barnard Community,
I write today in the wake of the ruling by the United States Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson. This is an extremely emotional day for so many people, hitting at the very fabric of our society and the nation. Like perhaps no other in recent history, this case has spurred conversation, concern, and controversy that have touched us all in some way.
That’s why Barnard is so important. The College’s mission statement reads, in part: “As a college for women, Barnard embraces its responsibility to address issues of gender in all of their complexity and urgency.” This calls on us, individually and collectively, to help lead and inform this important national conversation. We do that first and foremost through our teaching, learning, and scholarship. We tackle it in our classrooms, our faculty lounges, our alumnae message boards, and through community discussions—where rigorous dialogue and debate on difficult topics can occur, uncensored and without fear of reprisal because of the supportive learning environments we work to foster.
Regardless of one's political or moral views, the restriction of abortion rights creates equity and healthcare issues that cannot be ignored and must be tackled head-on. At Barnard, this is what we do. In the spirit of creating spaces for dialogue on difficult topics, you will hear in the next few days from Marina Catallozzi, Vice President for Health and Wellness, and Jennifer Rosales, Vice President for Inclusion and Engaged Learning and Chief Diversity Officer, about a discussion that the community is invited to next week featuring thought leaders Janet Jakobsen, Claire Tow Professor of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Terry McGovern, Harriet and Robert H. Heilbrunn Professor, Chair of Population and Family Health at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
In addition, this fall, the College will solicit proposals for new initiatives in curriculum, research, dialogue, and actions that advance our knowledge and understanding of reproductive health and rights. We will be sharing more information in the months to come about how you can submit a proposal and about other programming and opportunities offered at Barnard.
I am grateful to be part of a community that cares so deeply and works to effectively offer support, knowledge, and resources to each other and the world.
Sian Leah Beilock, President