August 15, 2019 - Integrity, generosity, grit and joy were the guiding themes of Dean Melanie Leslie’s welcome to the Class of 2022 for their first day of orientation.
Inclusion is at the heart of Cardozo Law School’s community. The recently imposed government ban on transgender individuals serving in the military poses a problem for all institutions of higher learning committed to non-discriminatory practices. This new policy is antithetical to Cardozo’s core beliefs about inclusion and diversity in hiring. Employers recruiting students at Cardozo are required to comply with our policy prohibiting discrimination, which states, “Cardozo’s policy is to ensure that its programs are administered in a manner that does not improperly discriminate on the basis of any individual’s or group’s actual or perceived race, sex, religion, creed, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, veteran status, marital or civil union or domestic partner status, citizenship status…”
We strongly condemn the transgender ban and any hiring practices that discriminate on the grounds of gender identity and expression.
However, under the terms of the Solomon Amendment, a federal law passed in 1996, Congress can withhold federal funding to any university banning military recruiters from campus. Because we cannot jeopardize the receipt of federal funding for Cardozo Law School and Yeshiva University, we will not prevent any military branch from recruiting at the law school, despite our opposition to the current discriminatory policy.
The Cardozo Law School community includes students and alumni who have served, and will serve, in this country’s military. We are deeply grateful for their service. We commend all those who serve in the U.S. military for their self-sacrifice in protecting and defending the United States. Those of our students and alumni who choose careers in the military can offer invaluable service to this country’s national security.
Nevertheless, we struggle as a community to reconcile hosting an employer with discriminatory policies with the values of this law school. As policies such as the transgender ban are tested in the courts and debated in our classrooms, Cardozo Law School will continue to promote the ideals of non-discriminatory hiring.