In a letter to students and faculty and the greater Cal State University Dominguez Hills community, the university president calls the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to end race-based admissions at colleges and universities a “teachable moment”
Dear CSUDH Community:
The intellectual and artistic narratives signaling that “we have many rivers to cross” are on my mind today in the wake of the latest Supreme Court decision striking down affirmative action initiatives at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. Admittedly, as a university president, I am saddened, sickened, and disappointed by the decision, but I am not surprised.
The caustic and toxic nature of the policy conclusions of this ruling obviously have implications for higher education, but they are not limited to such. The realms of employment, general diversity efforts in public policy, opportunities for ownership and coaching positions in professional sports, and corporate responsibility initiatives, to name a few, will all look to this judgment and ask what it means.
Among our community, I suspect that there will be divergent points of view on the ruling. Some may praise the court’s decision, and that is a right we should and will respect. Others may be disheartened by yesterday’s decision; please know that I share your sense of hurt and frustration. If time and our multicultural leaders teach us anything, it is that courageous voices and principled activism can and do make a difference.
It is also clear that our resolve to support and advance a diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda on this campus will not be diminished or deferred by this court ruling. Nor will we allow a projection of an Asian figure as the face of this attack on affirmative action to drive a wedge between diverse voices that are inclusive of all people of color, including brothers and sisters in the API community, White allies, and others whose common struggle and connectedness to one another is solid and unbreakable.
If anything, the teachable moment here for all of us, but especially young people, is that voting matters, and freedom is not free—it must be fought for in every generation. Progress is only genuine and authentic if it can be maintained and sustained in the places and spaces we now occupy and positioned to render support for future generations who need to build on the legacy they inherit. Let’s all pull together and show our support for each other in these trying times. Change is going to come, and hope is on the horizon; we just need to see and believe in that change and hope in ourselves and our beloved campus community.
Thomas A. Parham, Ph.D.