Message to the community on the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial
April 20, 2021
To All Members of the University of Michigan Community:
On behalf of the University of Michigan, we want to express our condolences to all who have been painfully affected by the horrendous murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The past several months have been traumatic for many. No verdict will ever adequately soothe the pain, loss and fear resulting from the tragic killing of Floyd and far too many other Black and Brown people by those in law enforcement who continue to fail our communities across this country. In recent weeks, we also mourn Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright.
Today’s guilty verdict follows a trial that was traumatic, as well. As U-M alumnus and Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson has written, the defense sought to blame Floyd for his own death, invoking racist stereotypes and attempting to distract from the terrifying images we have seen of the murder. But as Robinson wrote, “We all can see who the victim is. His name is not Derek Chauvin.”
We know that many deeply personal and pressing societal concerns remain. No single verdict represents the end of the journey that must continue. This was a murder trial conducted in a system that continues to be imperfect – and one that has yet to fully reckon with the racism in our nation, and the anti-Blackness and devaluation of Black and Brown people that will not end without our perpetual collective insistence. The larger questions we face are crucial and inescapable for all who want a better world.
Resources for Support
We urge anyone who needs support to please reach out. Students on all three U-M campuses can receive support through our Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS. All faculty and staff on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses can access services through the Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office, and Michigan Medicine faculty and staff can access resources through the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience. Many members of our community also find supportive resources through our Spectrum Center, the university’s center for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty; Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs; Trotter Multicultural Center; and the Dean of Students Offices in Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint.
Our Power to Change Society
We must continue to work as a public university community to exercise our power to change society for the better, to transform institutions that promulgate systemic racism and to advance the values of justice and peace. So many members of our community have embraced this work, and we offer our deepest gratitude.
- Thousands of you have engaged in and helped to create change through the multitude of programs and activities in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative.
- The Ann Arbor Provost’s Office has launched several new anti-racism initiatives in the past several months and enhanced a number of existing ones. These include the Anti-Racism Tenure-Track Faculty Hiring Program, which we’ve funded and is currently underway, and our National Center for Institutional Diversity’s launch of the Anti-Racism Collaborative to recognize, honor, spotlight, and elevate the work of our research community related to racism and racial justice.
- Our students are participating in our Envisioning an Anti-Racist World design challenge, organized by our Center for Academic Innovation, Arts Initiative, and Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It asks, “How do you imagine a vision for an Anti-Racist World (campus, community, neighborhood, city, state, country), that truly embodies the ideals of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice for the future?”
- The co-chairs and members of the Advancing Public Safety at the University of Michigan Task Force will share preliminary recommendations related to fostering public safety on campus at the task force’s community forum on Wednesday. We will announce next steps after reviewing the final recommendations.
- U-M established the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship Fund to support student scholarships to those who have demonstrated commitment to bettering their community through social justice.
We know there are many more examples of this important work taking place at U-M. It is our hope that everyone in our community asks themselves, “What can I do to help create a more just world?” We cannot be bystanders on such crucial issues of racial justice and live up to the highest values of a public university.
University of Michigan Board of Regents
Mark S. Schlissel
Susan M. Collins
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Robert M. Sellers
Chief Diversity Officer