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    July 05, 2022

    In Response to Recent Supreme Court Decisions

    I am writing to you today as I, and no doubt you, reflect on the implications for our society of recent Supreme Court decisions relating to regulations intended to reduce gun violence, the constitutional right to an abortion, and the ability of federal agencies to establish environmental policy to mitigate the dangerous effects of climate change.

    The first words of Le Moyne’s mission statement rightly proclaim that we are “a diverse learning community.” Mindful of this diversity, which includes people who follow different, and in some cases no, faith traditions and whose political beliefs and perspectives are varied and complex, I realize that members of our community will have differing responses to the recent rulings. 

    In the various roles that I have the privilege to play—college president, research scientist, mother, daughter, friend and neighbor to many throughout Central New York—I place a priority on ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of all persons. Top of mind for me as I study these Supreme Court decisions are the consequences they will have for the health and safety of some of our society’s most vulnerable individuals and communities. We all remember the brutal, racist attack that killed 10 innocent people in Buffalo this spring, as well as the horrific slaughter of children and teachers in Uvalde. We know that communities of color and persons who are socioeconomically disadvantaged suffer the greatest disparities in health and health care in Syracuse and throughout the country. And, while we all feel the impacts of climate change, environmental inequalities place greater burdens upon marginalized communities in the U.S. and globally.

    Our mission statement calls upon us to create a more just society, and I sincerely hope that, whatever our positions regarding these decisions, we will continue to serve the vulnerable among us and work to ensure the health and sustainability of our common planetary home. Catholic social teaching asks us to recognize that each human life is sacred and that a moral vision of society is founded upon the dignity of each person. We are called upon to foster the health of human life through all its stages by supporting the rights and responsibilities of individuals and building a common social good.

    As president of a Catholic and Jesuit college, I am convinced that we can best approach complex issues, whether they are political, religious, social, scientific or cultural in nature, with informed, reasoned discussion designed to advance the common good. Indeed, our undergraduate and graduate programs of study provide precisely the knowledge and intellectual skills needed to engage in such discussions with respect for diverse points of view and the capability to listen, think, and speak with discernment and sensitivity. We are, after all, not just a diverse community, but a diverse learning community, and as such, our priority is to advance the possibility of a more just society through a shared journey of teaching, learning, discovery and action.

    In light of our mission as an educational institution, I trust members of the College community to respond to momentous events in our nation’s history, such as the recent Supreme Court decisions, with a commitment to inquiry, service and recognition of the dignity of all persons. Indeed, these decisions and the upcoming midterm elections offer meaningful opportunities for all of us to exercise our moral, intellectual and creative faculties to lessen the divisions in our society and advance the rights and well-being of all persons. I wish each of you the best as we continue through the summer and I look forward to robust engagement with these and other important issues in the coming academic year.

    Linda LeMura, Ph.D.

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