President Gabel's Statement on the Chauvin Trial Verdict

April 20, 2021

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

Today we learned that former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. We hope that the jury’s verdict represents a measure of accountability and comfort for George Floyd’s family, his loved ones and the communities that have been impacted by his tragic death — and perhaps a welcome departure from instances where there has been no accountability at all.

These tragedies stand as a stark reminder that no matter how much progress we may feel our society has made, we are still far from being a truly equitable and just nation. Our collective advocacy, allyship and action in the fight against structural racism has never been more critical. While today’s verdict represents a step forward in our journey toward a more perfect union, much work remains to be done.

We support our Twin Cities community as it continues to reckon with the George Floyd and Daunte Wright tragedies as you express your voice or seek to volunteer. We will provide more details as they become available.

At this time, we are not aware of any safety concerns on our Twin Cities campus. We have, in an abundance of caution, decided to move to reduced operations starting at 5 p.m. tonight for the Twin Cities campus. We are actively working with state and local governments and agencies to share real-time information among our organizations and will continue to closely monitor the situation to assess potential concerns. If any arise, we will promptly communicate with you.

Today is a day appropriate for reflection, for processing and for supporting each other. We will have powerful reactions and emotions brought on by today’s verdict and other events around us, particularly for those of us who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color. We have resources and information available to our entire University community to help you better navigate this time.

At a similarly divided time in our nation, Martin Luther King, Jr. called on us to be “voices of reason, sanity, and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred, and emotion.” His words inspired so many to answer that call: to lead with courage, against formidable opposition, to advance his remarkable dream. In the days ahead, let us continue to advance his dream and make it a reality.

Please continue to stay healthy, safe, and well.

Joan Gabel