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Presidents of Seven Sisters Colleges Speak on Abortion Decision

June 29, 2022

The presidents of the Seven Sisters Colleges—except for Radcliffe College, which no longer exists as a college—have issued a joint statement on the Supreme Court decision that threw out Roe v. Wade.

“Last Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, thus eliminating what has been deemed a constitutional right for nearly 50 years: the right to legal abortion,” the statement said. “Even as we reaffirm our commitment to respecting individual differences in beliefs and values, as presidents of colleges that were founded for women, we are deeply concerned about the effect this ruling will have on women’s lives and the lives of people of all genders who will be denied or will have limited access to reproductive health care. History and research suggest that this ruling will have a negative influence on college access, graduation rates and employment trajectories; and that people of color and those with limited incomes will be most negatively affected.”

The presidents added, “We will continue to provide reproductive health care on our campuses, which are situated in states where it is possible to do so. We will also work to inform students of the best way to obtain access to the full range of reproductive health care. Still, we want to make clear that we do not believe that the rights of Americans should be limited by geography. We urge everyone to speak out and actively participate in our democracy. As Coretta Scott King said, ‘Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.’”

The presidents who signed are Sian Leah Beilock of Barnard College, Elizabeth H. Bradley of Vassar College, Kimberly Cassidy of Bryn Mawr College, Paula A. Johnson of Wellesley College, Kathleen McCartney of Smith College and Sonya Stephens of Mount Holyoke College.

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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