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Campus Email on the Tragic Death of George Floyd

June 2, 2020

To All Students, Faculty, and Staff,

On Saturday, May 30 we issued a statement on the tragic death of George Floyd and other recent events, but we have been made aware that not everyone in our community has seen it. Since that time, the urgent need to speak out has only heightened, the need to be heard only amplified. We want to reinforce that we stand with those who are protesting the senseless acts of violence perpetrated every day against people of color, and we support the aims of Black Lives Matter. 

As noted in our earlier message, we have asked Judi Brown Clarke, our Chief Diversity Officer, to develop a plan for real and concrete actions that we as a community can take. She will outline that plan in the coming days. In the meantime, please reach out to her with your thoughts and suggestions. 

The statement, which was originally posted to the presidential websites and disseminated via social media, reads as follows:

Recent events of the past few months have served as a profound reminder of the deep-seated racism, discrimination, and violence that plague the United States. As we reel over the senseless murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and remain outraged over the inexcusable actions of Amy Cooper, our nation confronts another devastating instance of police brutality. The killing of George Floyd serves as another painful example of the systemic racial disparities present in our country. This event is made even more poignant during this time of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the unequal burden of the disease on communities of color.

We must stand up and speak out against injustice and ignorance. As a public institution of higher learning, we must use our power to address major societal problems. We want to reiterate and reinforce Stony Brook’s commitment to inclusion and acceptance of all who seek to work and study on our campus. We must actively work within our own communities to lead the change in our society we all want to see. By practicing inclusivity and celebrating the power and richness of diversity, we can stand together and remain unwavering in our embrace of the Stony Brook Community Pledge by promoting equality, civility, caring, responsibility, accountability, and respect.

As a community we must work together to drive positive change. We have asked our Chief Diversity Officer, Judi Brown Clarke, to reach out in the next few days with suggestions for how best to do that. In the meantime, please know that our campus resources are available to you should you need help in processing recent events.

Michael Bernstein                                                        Maurie McInnis
Interim President                                                         President-Elect

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