Dear campus community,
Like so many of you, I have been closely following the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was found guilty today of killing George Floyd last summer. While today’s jury verdict is a critical step forward for justice and accountability in our country, we know that nothing can reverse the suffering and grief of George Floyd’s family, friends and loved ones.
This trial has taken an extremely heavy toll on our community, and while the outcome today allows so many to breathe a sigh of relief, there is still more hard work to do, particularly in light of the senseless and tragic recent deaths of Adam Toledo in Chicago and Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minn. These events have been further compounded by the ongoing impact and fatigue of COVID-19. In addition, we can’t ignore the significant rise of hate crimes against APIDA and other people of color, as well as toward Jewish, Muslim and Sikh individuals and communities.
As I reflect on all that we have been through recently, what brings me hope for the future is that our campus community is working to create positive social change here at CSUSM and in the communities we serve. This is part of our educational mission of access, equity and preparing students to be the thoughtful and innovative change agents of tomorrow.
This afternoon, Chancellor Joseph Castro shared a statement with the California State University (CSU) community. He wrote, “I believe that America is yearning for an inflection point, one that marks a turn toward healing, reconciliation and recovery. The CSU can serve as that inflection point. Our position as the largest and most diverse public university in the nation also makes us the most consequential university at this critical moment in our country’s history. We lead the nation in driving social mobility for our students, yet there is much more work to do.”
With respect to the work we need to do together, last summer we engaged in many conversations and committed to anti-racism action steps. You can view progress updates on the Office of the President website. These steps are not the beginning nor the end of our efforts as we continue to critically examine our university’s role in becoming a more equitable, anti-racist institution.
Today and throughout the rest of this challenging semester, let us tend to our campus community and extend our support and care to one another. If you need support, we have resources for everyone in our community:
The Office of Inclusive Excellence will host a virtual space to come together in support and solidarity from noon to 1:30 p.m. this Friday, April 23. More information and a Zoom link will be shared soon.
Students can contact Student Health and Counseling Services for a range of services. The Cougar Care Network can also provide information about on- and off- campus resources. And the Black Student Center, along with all of our Student Life Centers for Inclusion, Identity and Empowerment (Cross-Cultural Center, Gender Equity Center, Latinx Center, LGBTQA Pride Center) are staffed by professional and student staff members who offer their support and solidarity.
For employees, the Employee Assistance Program is available at 1-800-367- 7474. Additionally, FACES has resources in support of faculty, and the Staff Center has resources in support of staff.
Moving forward, you have my commitment that we will continue to work together to affect change here at our campus and in our region, which has an amplifying effect that ripples throughout our state, nation and world. Thank you to all our students, faculty and staff for joining us in the work – together we will continue to create an inclusive culture where all individuals are supported and celebrated.