To the MSU Community,
Many in our community have been profoundly impacted by the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The verdict marked the culmination of nearly one year of calls for justice following our anger over the death of George Floyd and the killings of Black Americans by police. These tragedies sparked a national movement that heightened our country’s awareness of systemic and structural racism, and demanded accountability, equity and change.
Since the trial began, dozens of people have been killed by police. Police videos of a few of those deaths have been released and amplified the intensity of the Chauvin proceedings. On the day the trial began, a 13-year-old Latino boy, Adam Toledo, was shot and killed by police in Chicago. And on April 11, a 20-year-old African American man, Daunte Wright, was shot and killed by police in a suburb outside of Minneapolis where the trial was taking place.
Today, Chauvin was convicted of one charge of second-degree unintentional murder, one charge of third-degree murder and one charge of second-degree manslaughter. Though his conviction can never bring back the life that was so tragically and senselessly lost, it is my fervent hope that it brings some measure of justice to the family of George Floyd and the millions of Americans demanding accountability.
I acknowledge that I will never be able to truly understand the pain and trauma experienced by those in our Black and African American communities and by other people of color. I remain steadfast in our commitment to rooting out racial inequities that affect members of the campus community.
Accordingly, since the events of summer 2020, I appointed the formation of the Task Force on Racial Equity that resulted in a list of recommendations that includes expanding the MSU Police Department’s Inclusion and Anti-Bias Unit. Additionally, as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee finalizes its strategic framing for the university, one of the driving areas will be to increase diversity in our student, faculty and staff community.
The well-being of our campus community is of utmost importance. For those impacted by the outcome of the trial, know that MSU offers resources for students and employees. Students can visit Counseling and Psychiatric Services. You can also call its crisis hotline, which is available 24/7. To reach a crisis counselor, call 517-355-8270 and press “1.” Employees can visit the Employee Assistance Program or set up an appointment by calling 517-355-4506.
In addition, CAPS is hosting listening space events for students to process their feelings, thoughts and reactions related to the death of George Floyd and the trial:
It might be difficult to process the outcome of this trial. While we acknowledge that the verdict doesn’t fully address issues of equity, systemic racism and anti-Black violence, we must continue to engage in difficult conversations and support each other as one Spartan community.
Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. (he/him)