This week, as a semester with unprecedented challenges comes to a close and you face the rigors of preparing for your final examinations under extraordinary conditions, I want to share a few thoughts about the nation’s remarkable election that I hope will inspire and bring you strength.
Despite a raging global pandemic, a record number of Americans voted in the 2020 election – nearly 65% of the voting-eligible population. Acting Secretary Chad Wolf of the United States Department of Homeland Security pronounced the 2020 presidential contest as “the most secure election in U.S. history.” Throughout the week, Secretaries of state – no matter the political party – from state after state not only certified their election results but stated their elections were free of widespread fraud.
While others are contesting its outcome, as GW Law’s first woman – and only African American woman dean, I am proud of this country’s historic moment. It is fitting and electrifying to commemorate this milestone in 2020, the centennial year of the 19th Amendment.
Because GW Law, founded in 1865, is no stranger to the complex challenge of helping prepare lawyers to lead a divided nation forward, I am honored to say that our law students and indeed the entire GW community will continue to use the unique position we occupy in the nation’s history and the nation’s capital to help navigate dissent in times of change with civility, integrity, and competence.
I have received many emails and calls from members of the GW Law community who are concerned about challenges to the election from this law school. As you know, GW Law and the University remain fundamentally committed to academic freedom.
Yet, today as a child of the Civil Rights era, I am celebrating that this nation has once again made voting history. GW Law is at the very center of the Nation’s Capital, helping to lead our democracy forward. From this, I am drawing the inspiration I need to face the challenges ahead. I hope it provides some of the same for you as well.
Dayna Bowen Matthew
Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law