Over the summer, Fordham Law students gathered together for a town hall event to discuss the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling made in late June. The two cases, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina, upended current procedures that allowed colleges to consider race as a factor in admissions.
Academic institutions and student groups across the country, including Fordham Law student affinity groups, published statements outlining their position following the reversal. Fordham’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) quoted a line from Supreme Court Justice Kentaji Brown Jackson’s dissenting opinion in their statement, which stated, “Today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces ‘colorblindness for all’ by legal fiat. But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.”
“Those are very powerful words because race is still part of our everyday life,” said recently-elected BLSA President Raissa Ebeh ’25. “Our members really responded well to the statement that we put out and we wanted to make sure that they knew that we were thinking about them in this process.”
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In an effort to elevate students’ voices, Ebeh and Fordham Law’s Asian Pacific American Law Students Association President Stephanie Sun ’25, Latin American Law Students Association President Joan Rosello ’24, and South Asian Law Students Association President Neil Khilwani ’25, later organized a virtual town hall during the summer break as a way for students to discuss the impact of the ruling. “It’s important for us to create a space where students of color can come together and talk about what we’re feeling and about the next steps,” said Ebeh.
The town hall included opening remarks by Dean Matthew Diller and a keynote address by Leitner Family Professor of International Law Thomas Lee, who explained the legal facts surrounding the cases. Students later broke out into small breakout rooms and relayed feedback to Dean Diller and other administrators in attendance.
“I thought [the town hall]was a good way for us to get our ideas together and share them with each other,” said LALSA Co-Vice President Ventura De La Rosa ’24. “We’re all working to provide support in a way that makes sense as an affinity group and that can be impactful.”