From the President, re: the Trial of Derek Chauvin

April 20, 2021

Dear Southern Community,

As you know, jury deliberations have started today in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd. 

While our nation anxiously awaits the verdict in one of the most significant police brutality cases in its history, I wanted to take the opportunity to write to you: both to acknowledge the painful emotions that this trial and other incidents of racial violence have raised, and to share the support and resources we have put in place for the members of our community

This is also a time to reaffirm Southern’s commitment to equity, social justice and anti-racism, which lie at the core of our mission as a diverse, public institution. I call on every member of our extended family to confront racism, reject violence, and challenge injustice.  Reach out to your friends, your colleagues and neighbors of color and show them that you care.

As this landmark trial nears its conclusion, laying bare recent scars and opening new ones, we have assembled a range of resources and events offering the opportunity for further education, guidance and support.

The comprehensive listings on our Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion site include facts about the Chauvin trial, and recommendations for supporting students during and after its conclusion. There is also a range of services highlighted for students, faculty and staff, as well as a list of upcoming campus events that address racial and sexual violence, including “Uniting for Racial Justice: A Community Open Mic Event” on April 29 at 7 p.m. This event, in the Brownell Hall parking lot, will offer a space to listen, share and reflect on how we can identify ways for community action, inclusivity, coping and mutual support.

Please take the opportunity to become engaged and educated on these critical issues, and support our students of color.  Let us use our knowledge and talents to educate and transform our campus and the wider community so that equality, inclusion and respect are not mere lip service, but real, and meaningful terms.

I wish for each of you peace and a circle of support that brings you comfort when the world around us feels in chaos.


Joe Bertolino