BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER: President Davenport’s Response to Campus Following Derek Chauvin Verdict

The following is President Richard Davenport’s campus-wide response released shortly after the April 20 guilty verdict against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd.

Dear Members of the Campus Community:

Today, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all charges by a jury of his peers for the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday, May 25, 2020. Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

Although extraordinarily difficult, the trial of Derek Chauvin has also been a powerful expression of the collective demand for racial justice. This is to be expected: meaningful social change is rarely easy or quick. Our institutions of higher education are uniquely positioned to model the path forward, address systemic racism that permeates our society, and begin to heal social divides.

‘This is a highly emotional time, especially for our students, faculty, and staff of color. Let us all be kind to one another.’

President Richard Davenport

We recognize that trauma associated with repeated acts of racism will continue until the systems that allow for it change. These events are impacting our communities in dramatically different ways, but we still have much in common, especially our desire for justice.

As institutions of higher learning, we fully support freedom of speech and freedom of expression. We must come together and meet this moment with mutual respect, civility, empathy, and courage. 

We stand committed to giving students, staff, and community members opportunities for authentic conversations on these universal issues to help process thoughts and emotions and strive for a better tomorrow. This is a highly emotional time, especially for our students, faculty, and staff of color. Let us all be kind to one another.

We are here for you. I encourage you all to look out for your colleagues, friends, and family with care and compassion in the coming days and weeks. Remember the health resources available through medical plans, Virgin Pulse, and other SEGIP benefits, as well as the Employee Assistance Program, which provides free, confidential support for employees and their families any time; call 651-259-3840 or 1-800-657-3719. Additionally, our Counseling Center is also available to our students by contacting 507-389-1455 or email

Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Henry Morris, and the entire Diversity and Inclusion staff, who are providing guidance, support, and mentoring to our students and community members, especially during these difficult times. Diversity and Inclusion staff are available to support our students, faculty, and staff and can be reached at 507 389-1150 or online Additionally, anyone with concerns regarding discrimination or harassment may contact Linda Alvarez, Director & Title IX Coordinator, Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX, 014 Morris Hall, Phone: 507-389-2986, or email:

Thank you for all you do to make our University a more just and inclusive place.


Richard Davenport, President

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