Message from President Pollack on Chauvin trial verdict

Dear Cornell Community,

Today marks a pivotal moment in our nation’s ongoing reckoning with racism. George Floyd’s murder follows a centuries-long series of senseless killings of Black people in this country; and while today’s verdict cannot bring Mr. Floyd back, today his murderer was held responsible by our justice system.

This verdict by no means ends the need for the hard work of moving towards a world where all people are treated with respect, and where Black people and others who face systemic oppression no longer must fear for their lives as they go about their days. Here at Cornell, we will continue to vigorously pursue racial equity and social justice on campus, and we will continue to ask, as we approach every decision we make, how it impacts those goals.

We have planned a series of community gatherings for today and extending throughout the week to help each other process and reflect on today’s verdict. Information about these gatherings is below. I hope that you will participate in one or more of these opportunities, and that we do all we can to be kind to and support one another in the days and weeks to come.


Martha E. Pollack

Community Gatherings

For Students

Just let me B.E. (Breathe and Exist)
Office of the Dean of Students, Diversity & Inclusion Team
Today: 6-7 p.m. and 7-8 p.m.
This is a dedicated processing space for students who might be angry, sad, confused, or feeling numb and may not know where to begin given all of life’s happenings at this time. This space is open to all and will center BIPOC student experiences. Additional times may be offered as needed
Zoom information:

When Justice Isn’t Justice: Processing the Chauvin Verdict
Office of Spirituality and Meaning Making, Cornell United Religious Work, and the Office of Multicultural Student Leadership and Empowerment
Tomorrow: 8 p.m.
Join us to process the verdict, the impact of racial trauma on the body, and anything else on your mind. This is an effort to allow for people to sit with the verdict and then gather and reflect/process guided by using content from Cole Arthur Riley’s @BlackLiturgies
Meeting ID: 952 9881 5246
Passcode: 621522
Additional processing and reflection opportunities for students will be available over the next several days.

For Faculty, Staff and Students

Now That We Have a Verdict, What Next?
Tuesday, April 27, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. (Zoom details to follow)
This roundtable discussion will examine key aspects of the Derek Chauvin trial; what the verdict means for the evolution of race in the law; and the role of organizations as catalysts for policy change and social impact in general.

The roundtable will be led by Sherry Colb, C.S. Wong Professor of Law; Ravi Kanbur, T.H. Lee Professor of World Affairs, International Professor of Applied Economics and Management; Joe Margulies, Professor of Practice, Law and Government; Aziz Rana, Richard and Lois Cole Professor of Law; and Jamein Cunningham, incoming Assistant Professor, College of Human Ecology. Jamie Joshua, Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, will moderate.