Message from Dean Hess, Associate Dean Charleston on moving forward in the wake of the Chauvin trial

This message was emailed to faculty, staff, and students across the School of Education on April 20, 2021

Dear School of Education students, staff, and faculty,

Similar to the rest of the country, we are awaiting a verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The trial has created a new level of anxiety as we have been reliving not only the terrible trauma and impact of the killing of George Floyd, but also the deadly police shootings of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago. There is growing tension as we are continually reminded of how widespread police brutality is in the United States — and how the victims of police brutality are overwhelmingly people of color.

As a School of Education community, we must stand against racism in all of its forms and stand for justice. And we must act. Regardless of the verdict, as faculty, staff, and students in the School, we must explicitly denounce racism. We must work diligently and relentlessly to dismantle the systemic racism in education policies and practices that promote the racial disparities in our school systems, criminal justice systems, and society as a whole. In these challenging times, we will continue to support one another and stand together. We will not be defeated by the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism.

While some might argue that messages like this are getting old and may be losing effectiveness, until there is change we must continue to call out inequities and injustices as they occur, while providing support to our entire School community through these tumultuous and stressful times. We echo Chancellor Blank in her message on Monday that we, too, must continue to affect positive change related to equity, diversity, and inclusion in the areas we control, while encouraging others to do so as well. Accordingly, we are continuing our support of faculty, staff, and students through the following upcoming events or processing spaces:

We can assume that regardless of the outcome of the Chauvin trial, there may be fallout of some sort. Whatever actions you decide to take in the days ahead, we implore you to stay safe. We encourage the students, staff, and faculty in our community to seek the support and help they need to get through these troubling times. While the School’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OEDI) is available to serve as a resource to students, faculty, and staff who are affected in varying ways, we also encourage you to utilize the following resources from the campus community.

Whatever lies ahead, we will continue to support this community. Our commitment to racial and social justice is absolute and unwavering.

In community,

Diana Hess, Dean
LaVar J. Charleston, Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
School of Education