Clark University leaders have expressed grief and anger over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and have committed to taking actions that will foster a more just, safe, and equitable campus community.
In a statement released earlier today, President David Angel and President-elect David Fithian noted that the protests erupting around the country “demand the attention and empathy of all of us educated in the values of understanding, respect for others, and a shared community.” They expressed unequivocal support for four Clark students who were arrested Monday night while peacefully protesting in the Main South neighborhood and described the police action as “unacceptable and a source of dismay to all within our community.”
Angel and Fithian outlined a series of actions that will include carrying out a comprehensive investigation of the prior night’s events, discontinuing the use of off-duty Worcester Police officers for support at large campus events, and evaluating the anti-bias and de-escalation training of University Police officers and other staff. They also committed to beginning a “transformational dialogue about how to support and protect all people of color among our students, staff, and faculty.”
On May 30, Angel and Fithian issued a statement of disgust and sorrow over Floyd’s death. “Our community must stand united against racism and injustice,” they said.
Sheree Ohen, chief officer of diversity and inclusion, released a statement on Tuesday decrying the “continued injustice experienced within the black community and other communities of color.”
Ohen said the specter of racism in American society transcends individual horrific events like the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others. “This is about the systemic forms of injustice, oppression, racism, and violence that run rampant in our country and in our neighborhoods,” she wrote. Ohen urged Clarkies “to be true to the ideals and principles that we proudly espouse in our commitment to a more equitable, just, and compassionate community.”
She included an extended quote from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., within which he said, “Certain conditions continue to exist in our society, which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots.”