Deans and business school professors have a lot to say about the conviction yesterday of Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd.
After the murder verdict was announced, statements and tweets from a number of prominent deans were released, a rare display of comments from higher education officials who typically do not comment on criminal trials or verdicts. .
But in this highly publicized case and in this unstable period, the actors of the business school community are speaking out more and more on the issues of society. And most statements recognize the pain experienced by many and the ongoing struggle against systemic racism. The main message? Much remains to be done to erase inequalities.
There were, however, a few notable exceptions. University of Pennsylvania Wharton School dean Erika Jones, the most prominent black dean at a business school, has not publicly commented on the verdict. “Wharton does not intend to release a statement,” a spokesperson said Poets and quants. “We support the statement by Penn President Amy Gutmann.” In a three-sentence statement, Gutmann said the verdict was an “important step towards justice in this case.”
Charles Kerwin, the dean of the Guyana-born School of Management at Yale University, also did not release a public statement, although he commented during the trial, noting that the case is “a reminder, if it were necessary, that race relations remain a flashpoint in our society.
“ THERE IS MORE TO DO TO ENSURE NO ONE IS A VICTIM OF THIS BRUTALITY ”
“Idie” Kesner, dean of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, issued the strongest statement yet. “A verdict in a murder trial is imperfect justice at best,” Kesner wrote. “It doesn’t erase the pain that accompanied George Floyd’s death, and it doesn’t send him back to his loved ones. Today’s result signals some responsibility in this case for this particular agent. Yet much remains to be done to ensure that no one falls victim to the kind of brutality to which George Floyd was subjected and to which black men and women, as well as Indigenous peoples and other people of color, are disproportionately subjected.
The case has sparked a multitude of emotions, from anger to sadness, which have divided the country since the video of the murder on cellphones went viral. It showed Chauvin knelt for over nine minutes on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, as he was handcuffed and face down, until his body went limp. Over 20 times Floyd has said, “I can’t breathe.” But even as he cried out for his late mother and children and gasped “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times, Chauvin refused to remove his knee.
Kesner, who has been at the forefront of tackling inequality in the business school community, also cited more recent cases making headlines. “Coming so closely on the heels of the deaths of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo at the hands of the police; Caron Nazario’s abusive traffic stop; and the series of mass shootings across the country, including the Atlanta and Indianapolis murders which have deeply affected the Asian / Asian American and Sikh communities respectively, the jury’s verdict comes at a time we nonetheless remember the need to re-engage in the fight against systematic racism. , wherever it exists. As a community, the Kelley School strongly supports systemic racism, bigotry, discrimination, marginalization, and all forms of oppression. We ask each member of our community to show solidarity, opposing discrimination of all kinds and recognizing that discrimination due to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, class or ability is anathema to our values and principles.
“ LET US BE INSPIRED BY THE EVENTS OF THE LAST YEAR TO WORK TOWARDS A MORE JUST AND EQUITABLE FUTURE ”
In noting the guilty verdict, Stanford Graduate School of Business Jonathan Levin had a similar message. “One verdict does not solve the great societal problems that led to the deaths of George Floyd and other black Americans,” he wrote. “The tragedy of his murder and the horror of witnessing it will remain with us all. There is still a lot of work to be done in the country, and here at GSB. Over the past year we’ve made it real progress against the goals set out in the GSB Racial Equity Action Plan, which was created with significant contributions from our Black students, alumni, staff and faculty. We know that this work is continuous and collective. We remain committed to the objectives set out in APRE and invite you to continue to be associated with this important work. As we move forward from today, let us remember the events of the past year – so they inspire us to work for a more just and equitable future. “
In Floyd’s hometown of Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management Dean Sri Zaheer said “justice and accountability won today” the day after the verdict.
“Many in our community and around the world are relieved that the jury made the right decision, including me,” she wrote. “This does not erase the fact that too many black lives have been lost to the police for too many years… There is still a lot to be done. As we move forward I encourage each of us should be kind, compassionate and respectful of others. “
‘A HARD, PAINFUL AND EMOTIONAL DRAINING TIME’
At Harvard Business School, which has come under heavy criticism over the past year for the lack of progress black Americans have made among its students, staff and faculty, newly installed dean, Srikant Datar, noted the verdict in a communication, echoing a message sent by Harvard. President, Provost, Executive Vice President and Deans. “The work to build a just society – in which the rights and security of everyone are protected, and the dignity of everyone is honored – must be a common commitment,” he wrote. For George Floyd’s family, today’s verdicts are a step towards that aspiration. Dean Datar put fairness on his list of top three agenda items.
Dean Mark Taylor of Washington University’s Olin Business School in St. Louis said a lot of work to achieve racial equity remains to be done. “While you may find some solace in today’s decision, it remains a difficult, painful and emotionally draining time for many in our community, especially our students, staff and faculty of color.” , he wrote in a message to the Olin community.
“In the months following the assassination of George Floyd, a painful tragedy escalated with a painful tragedy: continued violence against blacks and Maroons, a wave of anti-Asian violence, the mass shooting in Atlanta, a recent shooting in Indianapolis killing eight – including four in the city’s Sikh community.
“Whatever you feel today, know that I am here in solidarity with you and that our community is here to support you… As the past months have affirmed, the judgment of the jury today is not the last word. We remain obligated to strive to solidify our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and access at WashU Olin. “
THE OFFICIALS OF D&I B-SCHOOL ALSO WEIGHTS
Some deans simply acknowledged the verdict publicly. At Columbia Business School, Dean Costis Maglaras sent a community-wide email with a brief message: “To the black members of our community and to those daily affected by systemic injustice, I do not can not begin to imagine the exact ways of this trial and the corresponding verdict affects you. I want you to know that your CBS community is there for you in any way it can. “
In some schools, officers leading diversity and inclusion initiatives have reacted to the verdict. “I had been worried and had anticipated the verdict, given the previous results, so I feel relieved now that at least the jurors were able to find him guilty of the three counts”, wrote Élida Bautista, Interim Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. “I think that just gives a little hope, given the number of times that hasn’t been the case. But, you know, we just had another murder last week, so it’s not complete relief in the sense that it’s over or whatever. I cried. It was moving. Justice would have been for him not to be murdered. Hopefully we start to tackle law enforcement practices, stop targeting blacks and Maroons – snatching them out of traffic for tiny things, whipping them, exercising excessive control over them. our communities – and that more resources be provided to community members, instead of calling the police.