April 21, 2021
Subject: A Statement on the Conviction of Derek Chauvin from President Clark and Provost Ismaili
The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, found him guilty on all counts. This verdict is one that will undoubtedly reverberate across the United States, providing some small measure of justice for Mr. Floyd’s family and loved ones.
The importance of this verdict should not overshadow the work that remains to be done. “We can’t leave this moment, and look away thinking our work is done,” President Biden remarked yesterday. “We have a chance to begin to change the trajectory in this country.”
At BSU, we also are looking to change our trajectory. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and in response to the demands of our students and alumni, President Clark created and charged the Special Presidential Task Force on Racial Justice. In creating the Task Force, he committed that BSU needed to and would do more to dismantle systemic racism on our campus and beyond. The findings of this 70-member task force, comprised of BSU students, alumni, faculty, staff, administrators, and community partners, will be delivered to the president later this month, will be shared with the BSU community in May and will serve as a blueprint for BSU’s work for racial equity and justice in the years ahead.
Building on our commitment to racial equity and justice, BSU has been working with the ACLU Massachusetts for nearly two years in creating of a set of model recommendations for racially just policing practices for Massachusetts’ colleges and universities. President Clark has committed Bridgewater State University to being the first campus in the nation to fully implement these policing practices. We will have more to say about racially just policing as part of the release of the Racial Justice Task Force report.
Today at 5:00 P.M., a virtual gathering of the BSU community will be offered for those who would like to discuss the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin. This event will be co-hosted by Sydné Marrow, Director of the Lewis and Gaines Center for Inclusion and Equity; Dr. Kevin McGowan, faculty fellow with the Martin Richard Institute of Social Justice; and BSU students Melissa Adilas, the president of AfroAm Society; Jamelia Benjamin, President of the BSU chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha; and Joseph Clark, President of Men Integrated in Brotherhood.
As we know, seeking support and engaging in self-care are essential in the ongoing work of racial justice; therefore, the BSU Wellness Center has developed a set of resources for students and employees that can be accessed on our website at bridgew.edu/racial-trauma.
BSU employees who need additional support can contact Human Resources and Talent Management and are encouraged to utilize the resources available through the campus’ Employee Assistance Program.
Today is a time of reflection. We hope that the just verdict in the Chauvin case will bring a measure of solace for Mr. Floyd’s family. We remember the countless lives lost in the struggle for racial justice. We commit ourselves as a university to continuing the hard work of living up to our highest ideals of diversity, inclusion and equity for all.
Karim Ismaili, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Frederick W. Clark Jr., Esq.
President, Bridgewater State University