College of Arts and Letters

Statement Regarding the Conviction of Officer Derek Chauvin in the Death of George Floyd

(Issued 4/23/2021)

Dear College of Arts Letters,

Earlier this week, nearly a year after the killing of George Floyd a jury found the former police officer, Derek Chauvin, guilty in Floyd’s death on all three charges against him. The murder of George Floyd set off a year of protests calling for justice and an end to structural racism. On Tuesday at 4:04 PM CST many people across this nation breathed a sigh of relief as the man seen on a video recording killing George Floyd was finally held accountable.

I have been struggling with writing this note because my own sense of relief has been interlaced with a deep and profound sadness. It is heartbreaking to know that in order for the family of George Floyd to receive justice for his murder, it took all of what we have seen in the past year. We, as a nation, clearly have much work to do. I encourage all of you to think about what we as a community can do to help end structural inequalities, racism, and hate.

As a start, we will be holding an open town hall on Structural Racism next Thursday. I invite all of you: faculty, staff, and students to join that conversation. We will use that time to begin building a roadmap for the College. Last year the College proudly stood with those calling for justice in the George Floyd murder. In the fall our faculty organized the Racial Justice Virtual Brownbag Series. Throughout the year, many of our students have been marching and rallying and lifting their collective voices. Today, we will continue to move this work forward. In moments like these, we will either watch from the sidelines or we will join the fight and do the ongoing work to heal our nation, our communities, and ourselves.

Be Well,

Charlene D. Gilbert, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Arts and Letters

Last Updated: 6/27/22