A Message from the Office of the Vice Chancellor

June 1, 2020

Our community is hurting.  The senseless killing of George Floyd by indifferent Minneapolis police officers has gripped all of us.  Our hurt is magnified by the knowledge that this death did not occur in isolation.  It is another act in an unrelenting pattern of violence directed at Black people in every part of our nation.
Like all of you, we have seen the expressions of anguish, frustration, and anger taking place across the country, including here in the Triangle.  We are unsettled by a range of emotions – anger at the callous inhumanity exhibited by police in stealing the life of George Floyd, frustration with leaders more focused on how people protest than what people are protesting, and a sense of humility in seeing the courage of protesters standing up to power.  We all bear witness to demands for justice and accountability from systems that too often prove themselves unable or unwilling to deliver on those imperatives.  We can and we must be better.

As Student Affairs, we are uniquely positioned to influence the way forward.  We can speak up, speak out, and live into the values to which we committed.  We can acknowledge the deep and abiding pain of our colleagues whose lived experiences around race and policing may be vastly different than our own.  We can care for each other and share in one another’s burdens.  We can provide safe spaces for discussion and model the responsibility of engaging in difficult dialogues about race, oppression, and the justice system.  We can teach and be taught.  And we can engage in candid self-reflection and examine how we might do more as individuals and as an organization to deconstruct the systems and structures that perpetuate violence and racism.  

In the coming days, we will share additional opportunities to engage with one another.  We are humbled and inspired to do this work alongside you.

Jonathan Sauls
Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Christopher Payne
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Bettina Shuford
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

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