UMass Boston

Statement on the Verdict in the Trial of Derek Chauvin

04/20/2021| Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco

To the Campus Community, We cannot undo the inhumanity in the murder of George Floyd. Today, a jury in Minnesota finally delivered a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the merciless killing of George Floyd. The videotaped evidence of the former police officer kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes is seared forever in the conscience of all persons of good-will as the very embodiment of senseless racist destructiveness and the abuse of power in its most pure form. No linguistic game could cover up the irrefutable fact: The actions were deliberate and had deadly consequences for yet another Black human being in America. I hope that members of our community, especially students, faculty, and staff of color, feel some sense of accountability from the unanimous verdict on all three counts rendered today in Minnesota. The jury’s decision, however, is not an end but the beginning of renewed collective efforts to eliminate violence against our Black members of our community and to undo the institutional forces of racialized oppression, injustice, impunity, and hate. Historically derived, structural racism will not be undone by this one verdict. And we must never be dulled by the seemingly daily stories about the killing of Black members of our community. Today we again proclaim loudly for the world to hear that Black lives matter. UMass Boston will continue to be a beacon of hope and justice moving forward. We aim to embody the ethic of care and social justice and reaffirm our mission of providing access to a quality education that is the foundation for democratic citizenship and social change. Perhaps most importantly, we will continue to invest in future leaders who will fight for social, political, and economic justice, drawing from their lived experience and using the tools forged in our classrooms. I know that today’s verdict will retraumatize many in our community and I urge you to take advantage of resources that we have on campus. These include counseling and support services for students and staff, as well as access to the Interfaith Campus Ministry. For students, we have available the Counseling Center; 24/7 counseling support is available by calling 617.287.5690. For employees, ComPsych Guidance Resources provides support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This service is confidential and free for all faculty, staff, and members of your household. Contact information is: 844.393.4983; TDD, 800.697.0353; or, using the web ID UMASS.

George Floyd mural

Marcelo Suárez-Orozco