Amid peaceful protests, sometimes violent responses by the police, and some looting, higher-education leaders sought to assure their communities that they, too, were bearing witness to the historic events.
Nationwide, college presidents acknowledged the immense outrage over the killing of Floyd, as well as the disproportionate toll of the novel coronavirus on communities of color. “This ongoing history of structural and sustained racism is a fundamental and deeply distressing injustice, here as elsewhere,” wrote Duke University’s president, Vincent E. Price.
Other leaders emphasized the role of colleges in combating bigotry. “It is the university’s responsibility to model principles of civility, respect, and understanding for both its campus family and its wider community,” wrote Joseph Savoie, president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “Moreover, it is our duty to embody inclusivity and embrace diversity, and to educate others about their power.”
Commentary wasn’t limited to college presidents. At the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the chief diversity officer, Robert Sellers, penned a blog post titled, “I Am So Tired.”
“These times really do raise for me the question of how long must we wait, plan, work, march, agitate, forgive, and vote before we have a society in which all lives matter equally, regardless of race or color?” he wrote. “In my bone-weary tired state this morning, before I even got out of bed, I asked myself why should I continue to fight to try to change a system that has proven time and time again that it simply does not regard me and people who look like me as fully human.”
Read the full article at The Chronicle of Higher Education.