Texas State University community responds to Derek Chauvin trial

Inside TXST

Texas State University | April 21, 2021

With the conclusion of the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd, Texas State University offers support to the university community. 

Events have been planned to provide students, staff, and faculty spaces and opportunities for community conversations, comfort, healing, and dialogue surrounding the trial.

Following the release of the verdict on April 20, 2021, President Denise M. Trauth made the following statement: "There are defining moments for a nation, and today’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin case for the killing of George Floyd is one of them. It is also a defining moment for Texas State University. 

How will we move forward from this moment? We will remain in solidarity with our Black students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and uphold our value of social justice. We will provide a safe university environment for expression, healing, and processing the trial. Let this moment unite, not divide us. 

People of color in our university community – our friends, colleagues, and classmates – are angry, weary, and emotionally drained. The strain and trauma of the trial has been compounded by ongoing incidents of bias and racism in our country and the stress of the pandemic. This moment calls for our Bobcat community to extend compassion, support, and care through our actions." 

Below are statements from across the university and resources for those in our community seeking support at this time.

Dean T. Jaime Chahin, College of Applied Arts
In the last two years alone, we have witnessed several high-profile examples of injustice and violence against people of color, such as the El Paso Shooting, the mistreatment of immigrants, violence against Asian Americans, and, among too many others, the murder of George Floyd. These injustices and acts of violence are unacceptable.

We are a place of education, and that education must be inclusive of even the most emotionally charged topics. As we engage these topics educationally, we reaffirm our values, which include honesty, compassion, and fairness. In favor of inclusivity, understanding, and a respect for differences, we reject hate and bigotry.

We acknowledge a need to support each other and to engage in constructive and informative dialogue that promotes a greater understanding of the challenges of these uncertain times. We encourage all members of our community to take advantage of the opportunities being offered by the Texas State’s Institutional Inclusive Excellence – Student Initiatives.

Dean Michael P. O’Malley, College of Education
The verdict that found Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd is a significant moment of accountability, though it does not resolve the ongoing effects of structural racism. These effects are evident in many fatal and otherwise unjust law enforcement actions against Black persons before and after the murder of Mr. Floyd, including Breonna Taylor and Sandra Bland. Close to our daily work as the College of Education, the effects of structural racism are evident in ongoing and deeply entrenched educational and health inequities in our society that directly harm Black and other communities of color. Together as the College of Education and in solidarity with our Black students, staff, faculty, and leaders, we recommit ourselves to intentionally opposing racism, bigotry, and hatred; to responsibility for ending educational and health inequities; and to the work of racial justice within and beyond the university. We invite all to join in the university’s ongoing healing, solidarity and educational events including those through Inclusive Excellence – Student Initiatives and faculty and staff opportunities through Inclusive Excellence and the college’s Equity Action professional development. Black Lives Matter.   

Dean Andrea Golato, Graduate College
On April 20, 2021, we learned that Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the killing of George Floyd. On this day and on all days, we in The Graduate College stand in solidarity with our Black students, faculty, and staff in denouncing racism, hate, bigotry, and social injustice in any form. We decry in the strongest possible terms the tragically high number of fatal encounters that Black Americans have had with law enforcement, particularly over the past year, but unfortunately going back many years. Along with President Trauth, we believe in upholding Texas State’s values which include respecting others’ perspectives and experiences and treating one another with dignity and compassion. We invite you to join us in participating in the university’s upcoming solidarity, healing, and educational events.

Dean Mary C. Brennan, College of Liberal Arts
The verdict in the Chauvin trial was pivotal. We humanists and social scientists in the College of Liberal Arts understand that this verdict does not undo generations of social injustice. However, history shows us that moments like this one are important milestones in advancing social change. We are Bobcats with shared values of civility, compassion, respect, inclusiveness, and a sense of community and belonging. We support Black faculty, staff, and students, and we denounce bigotry, racism, and hate.

We echo the sentiments of President Trauth’s message, and we encourage participation in the events for community reflection. We invite you to join us at college-hosted events that support inclusion, equity, and diversity, including the Inspired Interactions with Tamekia Mizladi Smith, TED speaker and founder of EDU Arts, on April 27 at 12 p.m. for students and 6 p.m. for faculty and staff.

Dean Sanjay Ramchander, McCoy College of Business
In light of the jury’s verdict in the murder trial of George Floyd, I write this message to simply acknowledge the intense emotions and the profound weight of this moment that we all feel. This past year has been challenging for all of us – but none more difficult than what our students, faculty and staff in the Black community have had to endure.

Events leading up to and surrounding the trial have forced a national reckoning on issues of race and justice, and how systemic inequality has resulted in sharply disparate and divergent outcomes in individual and societal wellbeing. The fight for equality and respect represents an intergenerational struggle, one that underscores our responsibility in continuing to confront and dismantle structures of racism and oppression that exist in our society. Read Dean Ramchander's full statement. 

Dean Christine Hailey, College of Science and Engineering
As President Trauth noted in her April 19 e-mail message, faculty, staff and students in the College of Science and Engineering may be experiencing strong emotions regarding the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd. 

During this difficult time, please live by our Texas State values by respecting others’ perspectives and experiences and treating one another with compassion and dignity. I reiterate statements from President Trauth’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration remarks that “As a university, we not only condemn hate, bigotry, and racism – but we actively remove it from our culture and our systems. We drive forward focused on equity, empowerment, and transformation.”

Student Initiatives has planned several university events to support our community. Information about these opportunities and additional events planned for exchange, learning, healing, and support can be found on the Institutional Inclusive Excellence – Student Initiatives main webpage.

We encourage you to use, and share, the resources below if you or someone in our community is in need of support. 

  • Space for Reflection, Meditation, & Small Group Discussions: The IIE-SI office suite located on the second floor of the LBJ Student Center 2-20.0 provides spaces for university community members to come and go at any time during normal business hours. Its Unity Lounge has been designated as an open space for reflection and the adjoining conference rooms provide personal spaces for meditation and small group discussions.
  • Texas State University’s Counseling Center's Racial Trauma, Racial Violence, and Antiracism Resources page.
  • Watch a recorded version of the Counseling Center's webinar "Radical Healing in Response to Racial Trauma".
  • Telemental Health services are available to currently enrolled Texas State students. Please see How to Make an Appointment for additional information about accessing services.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922