In response to the Chauvin trial verdict (4/20/2021)

Dear Colleagues and Students,

As the trial of Derek Chauvin comes to a close, we know that many in our community continue to experience the trauma associated with injustice. The past year has been incredibly trying for most of us. Amidst the tragedy of the ongoing pandemic, we have also felt the distress and pain of continued police violence against members of the Black community. People across the world watched in shock the nine minutes and 29 seconds of video showing the murder of George Floyd. This horrendous and despicable act generated revulsion from anyone who believes in human dignity. Today justice was served; the jury reached the right decision. While the verdict held one heinous individual accountable, it also gives us hope for systemic change and a better tomorrow. But there remains much to be done.

We at UM-Dearborn know where we stand on this issue. Our university proudly works for justice, equity and inclusion in all we do and remains committed to creating a fair and equitable society. Last year, I announced the creation of a DEI Working Group to increase our awareness of, and deepen our commitment to respect, inclusion and diversity. The group is engaged with the campus community and is developing innovative approaches to our work and reexamining how we educate students and interact with one another. 

The university remains committed to helping students, faculty and staff work through the emotional and psychological toll that this trial, and the ongoing injustice and violence in our country, may have caused. Students who need assistance during this time can receive it through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Faculty and staff may seek support through the Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office (FASCCO). If you are experiencing or see something that concerns you, please contact public safety at 313-593-5333.

Like many of you, this trial stirred many emotions in me. From horror and disgust each time I saw the odious video, to anger and hurt at the unequal treatment so many of our fellow Americans experience, to optimism that the demands for justice for people of color are finally being heard. I hope that the Floyd family can find peace knowing that his memory will make a difference and change the world. We can all honor him and other victims of injustice by continuing to strive to make a better America for everyone. 

I join President Schlissel in his thoughtful message, recognizing the benchmark for justice that we witnessed today. 

Domenico Grasso

Office of the Chancellor

1070 - Administration Building
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn, MI 48128
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Phone: 313-593-5500
Fax: 313-593-5204