Remembering George Floyd: NOVA President's Response to the Derek Chauvin Conviction

April 20, 2021

Dear NOVA Community, 

Like you, I have been following the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, a case that once again called on us to bear witness to the tragic consequences of systemic racism and injustice.  

The guilty verdict rendered today offers small comfort to the Floyd family for their unimaginable loss, and over the past weeks, the trial has made visible the dangerous reality that confronts so many members of the African American community, including our colleagues, students, family, friends, and neighbors. 


Our empathy and sympathy for those who see their own experiences reflected in this case weighs on our hearts. All of us have deep compassion for Mr. Floyd’s loved ones and friends—and for our African American faculty, staff, and students, who have shared the pain and trauma of watching excessive force used against unarmed Black men and women time after time. I cannot even begin to imagine the stamina, focus, and determination required to keep moving forward in their work and studies.   

I stand with the African American members of our community and say to our colleagues and students: you are safe at NOVA, you are welcomed at NOVA, you are respected at NOVA, you are valued at NOVA. This is your home. You are our family.  

It is our collective responsibility to do more each and every day to counter injustice and systemic racism. Talking about these issues is hard; doing something to change them is harder. NOVA can and will do both. Because of the strength of our community and our commitment to each other, NOVA will be a national model for inclusive excellence.  

NOVA is a community in which we can and will reach forward toward one another with a fierce kindness and hope, a community in which our diverse voices and experiences are seen, supported, and celebrated. Today, I ask you to be there for each other, to listen to those who are hurting, to understand the burdens they carry, and to care for and about them as they grieve. Let our colleagues and students know, we are here for you and we hear you.  

Remember that help is always available: reach out to the Office of Wellness and Mental Health to be connected to community support or to Human Resources to be connected to EAP Counseling Services. Our Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Nathan Carter and I are also always available to help and to listen. 



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