North Country colleges issue statement following Derek Chauvin conviction

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In this image from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen to Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill read instructions to the jury before closing arguments, Monday, April 19, 2021, in the trial of Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Following the conviction of Derek Chauvin on Tuesday, several colleges in the North Country and New York State issued statements in response to the death of George Floyd.

Statements were issued by both the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley and by presidents from the “New York Six.”

The Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley includes St. Lawrence University, Clarkson University, SUNY Canton, and SUNY Potsdam. The New York Six includes St. Lawrence University, Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Skidmore College, and Union College.

Both statements are included below:

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of the murder of George Floyd by a jury in Minnesota.

Among the members of the Associated Colleges, we have witnessed our friends, colleagues and students experience, once again, throughout this trial not only the trauma of George Floyd’s murder, but also the murder and mistreatment of so many other Black Americans — adding to their own personal, daily trauma. The testimony of the trial witnesses as they helplessly watched George Floyd beg Officer Chauvin for his life is a testament to the trauma of systemic racism and the way that Black lives are devalued.

For some, the high profile of this particular case has been a sign of change. But, less than a year later, we are still witnessing shocking killings that demand we do more. In the last month, the killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Minneapolis and 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago underscore that we must continue to demand and support change in our law enforcement and justice systems.  We must work towards a society that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion.   

The verdict for conviction of Chauvin on the charges of murder and manslaughter is a small step toward justice and dismantling systemic racism.  

We clearly have a long, long way to go. 

The Associated Colleges of St. Lawrence Valley invites all members of the North Country to take part in reflection and action in order to support anti-racism and truly equal justice for all. Please make time to join us for ongoing critical discussions about the impacts — subtle and obvious — of racism on the wellbeing of our communities. We must do better. 

The Presidents and Chief Diversity Officers of the  Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley

Today, a jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murder in the May 25, 2020 killing of George Floyd.

Like communities across the nation, our campuses have been roiled by Mr. Floyd’s murder and by the violence inflicted upon people of color in incidents that are far too frequent. The recent deaths of Daunte Wright in Minneapolis and Adam Toledo in Chicago remind us that much work remains to be done to end systemic racism and racialized policing.

We call upon all members of our communities to commit themselves to justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus and in everything we do, everywhere we go. Our actions cannot bring back lives that have been tragically and violently cut short, and cannot ease the suffering of grieving families. But taking determined action against racism and injustice is the only way we will prevent these killings from happening in the future and begin to heal as a nation.

Each of our schools will provide opportunities for discussions about the Chauvin case in the coming days, and many resources are available to members of our campus communities who need support. Join us in this critically important work.

Sincerely,

William L. Fox, St. Lawrence University
Brian W. Casey, Colgate University
David Wippman, Hamilton College
Joyce P. Jacobsen, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Marc C. Conner, Skidmore College
David R. Harris, Union College

New York Six

Both statements were issued following the conviction of Derek Chauvin on April 20, 2021.

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