What HBCU Presidents Are Saying About the Derek Chauvin Conviction

“As a university – an institution whose very existence rests on posing and answering some of the most difficult questions our nation and our world have to offer and surfacing new knowledge – it is our duty, our challenge to focus our intellectual resources on these troubling issues. We cannot give in to hopelessness or the idea that such dynamics cannot be changed; we must be about transformative solutions and seizing the opportunity to change the world.”

— Harold Martin, North Carolina A&T State University Chancellor

“The time for healing is now. I implore you to engage one another and our students in meaningful dialog about this case and the emotional toll it has taken on us all. Give yourselves time and space to process your feelings and begin to heal. Allow yourself to grieve. Allow yourself to feel. Allow yourself to cry, to yell, to eat a gallon of ice cream or to have a stiff drink. Be intentional about caring for yourself in this moment. Mr. Floyd’s murder was a tragedy and we must acknowledge that it is not an isolated event. This trial forced us to remember and relive countless others who died in like fashion. There is much work yet to be done in this country and Benedict College has a unique and special role to play.”

— Roslyn Clark Artis, Benedict College President

“At Florida A&M University we reaffirm our commitment to fairness, equity and justice.  We are dedicated to educating and graduating students, like student leaders of the Tallahassee civil rights movement, Wilhelmina Jakes, Carrie Patterson and Patricia Stephens, who are willing to work tirelessly for a society in which African Americans and persons of color can espouse hope rather than harbor fear for their sons and daughters. The verdict today is not the end but could mark a new beginning as we endeavor to live in accordance with the ideals we have been taught and long prayed for but have not yet experienced.”

— Larry Robinson, Florida A&M University President

“I, along with the rest of the nation, waited with bated breath as the jury deliberated in the Derek Chauvin murder trial in the death of Mr. George Floyd. I also joined many of you in a collective sigh of relief upon hearing the guilty verdict on all charges. The act of violence inflicted upon Mr. Floyd was one of many that Americans have watched as black and brown people have been subjected to brutality, violence, and acts of systemic racism. Let us use this justice as a continued call to action to remain intentional in the intolerance of racist violence and careless disregard for black and brown lives. Let us be reminded that we must continue to work toward justice and peace for all Americans.”

— Makola Abdullah, Virginia State University President

“Moreover, this jury sends a resounding message to all of the Black men, women and children who have lost their lives to rogue law enforcement officers that this type of behavior is abhorrent and will not be tolerated. To the police officers who treat so many young Black men with utter disdain and devalue their lives, the courts will not protect you when innocent people are killed.”

— David Wilson, Morgan State University President

*This post will be updated