Moving forward after the Chauvin verdict

Please read this message from Elon President Connie Ledoux Book

Members of the Elon community,

Today, a jury in Minneapolis convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin on all three counts in the murder of George Floyd last year. It is a historic verdict in a case that tore at the fabric of our nation and starkly exposed the injustice faced by Black Americans and other marginalized people. This is a defining moment – an opportunity we must seize to make changes that are long overdue, including criminal justice reform.

The killing of George Floyd led us to reflect deeply on the painful issues of racism and discrimination. At Elon, we have engaged in difficult and respectful dialogues to listen more carefully. We have gained new understanding of the ways our own community must improve and we are making important changes. We are determined to realize our crucial agenda for continued progress – this year and as part of our ten-year Boldly Elon strategic plan.

In May, faculty leaders will share details about changes they are developing for Elon’s Core Curriculum, including more effective ways to help students learn about their responsibility to create a more just and equitable society. We are also making new investments in programs and personnel, with the initiatives coordinated and advanced by our new Division of Inclusive Excellence.

In the immediate wake of the Chauvin trial, we have been planning an event to teach and engage our community and promote respectful dialogue. Elon’s Council on Civic Engagement and the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education (CREDE) will sponsor an online panel discussion with expert Elon faculty and staff members at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 28. The event, titled “A Divided America: A conversation on race, policing and justice,” will be moderated by Damion Blake, assistant professor of political science and policy studies. Information on joining the event will be posted on the Today at Elon website. Please plan on joining this discussion.

As we process this trial verdict, we must never forget that a human life was lost and that many people have been deeply traumatized. If you need support in dealing with a range of emotions, I urge you to connect with others and reach out for support. Elon’s Student Care and Outreach team is available to work with students, and many other faculty, staff and peer mentors across the university can be resources.

Please join me in taking care of those who are hurting in our community from the impact of this case. Longstanding issues of injustice have affected many people close to us, and now is the time to stand with these members of our community and provide support and compassion.

Connie Ledoux Book