A statement was issued by Dean Beate Schmittmann, on behalf of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences:
We witnessed George Floyd die on national television almost one year ago, a sight that brought the experiences and fears of many people of color – especially Black people – into stark relief for all to see. Since then, we heard passionate and deeply felt calls for racial justice, for institutions to be more just, fair, and equitable places of work and learning, and for affirming that Black Lives Matter. Yesterday, we learned that former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted for the murder of Mr. Floyd. We recognize that this is a meaningful victory for many who often feel unseen and unserved by the justice system. But this rare moment does nothing to return a loved one to his family. It also does not right the wrongs of the past. Yesterday was a victory, but the work remains.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences wants to be a part of a better future. We strive to embody the hope of what could be. We endeavor to lead in a future that is yet to be written. An important part of our mission is to educate future leaders and citizens to have diverse perspectives. This means that we have to acknowledge that many people in our community experience the world in ways that are often painful. This means that we have to ensure that we are providing a high-level education that prepares students to confront and challenge harmful practices when they encounter them. And more importantly, this means that we have to create an environment in which our students, faculty, and staff feel seen, heard, and cared for, even when their broader daily experience might reflect otherwise. We realize that we cannot change what has been done. But we can commit to educating a future generation to expect, demand and co-create a world where everyone is loved, respected, and valued. This is our commitment to the LAS family.