Like much of the country and people around the world, we watched the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of murdering George Floyd last spring, with concern and trepidation.
The past year has been extraordinarily difficult and painful. Even as we have endured the many challenges and losses of the pandemic, we have seen again and again the senseless deaths of Black people in the custody of the police.
We yearn for a society more closely aligned with the core values and beliefs of our campus community, which include in part: “We believe in the dignity of all and in equitable treatment, opportunities, and outcomes” and “We value contributions in the public interest and environmental, economic, and social responsibility in our work toward viable and sustainable communities.”
We are hopeful that the family of George Floyd, as well as those of Daunte Wright, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and many, many others find some solace and promise in this verdict. Perhaps the outcome of this trial can serve as a powerful statement and the beginning of a more hopeful path to needed reforms in a justice system and larger society that truly offer “liberty and justice for all.”
This work is far from over.
At Humboldt State, our new Police Chief, Anthony Morgan, is committed to working with students, staff, faculty, and the community on police reform. A police committee, made up of students and faculty, has been formed and will meet next week. UPD is also creating a Civilian Services Specialist position to respond to calls when an armed, uniformed officer isn’t necessary. And UPD is introducing mobile data terminals to vehicles to allow officers to connect students and others with immediate mental health and other services when responding to calls.
As a leadership team at Humboldt State, we share with you a commitment to a society in which our public officials are held accountable for advancing the well-being of all of the people they serve. We dream with you of a system of justice that consistently upholds human dignity and equal protection under the law. We know that this and more is possible if we work for it.
We will continue this work together.
For students who are struggling, Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) is available virtually 24/7 for support. Students who are interested in speaking with a counselor can contact CAPS at (707) 826-3236. Staff or faculty seeking additional support may utilize the Employee Assistance Program. Students, staff, and faculty may also contact the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at (707) 826-4503.
Tom Jackson, Jr.
Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs
Vice President for Enrollment Management
Vice President for University Advancement
Sherie Cornish Gordon
Chief of Staff and Interim Vice President for Administration & Finance
Director of Intercollegiate Athletics & Recreational Sports
Acting Deputy Chief of Staff & Special Assistant to the President
This message was originally published on April 20, 2021