Dear Stanford community,

As you know, the jury has returned guilty verdicts in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd last year.

First, to our Black community at Stanford, I want to say: Your lives matter, and your voices matter. While the violent events and senseless deaths we have been seeing in America have been sickening and overwhelming for all of us, I recognize the special pain felt by members of our Black community, and the added emotional and physical burden that you carry. Seeing accountability for the killing of George Floyd may provide a sense of justice, but it surely does not erase this burden. You are essential and valued members of our community.

Second, the conclusion of the trial provides an important moment for us all to process not only what happened in the trial but the larger societal issues to which it points. There will be a number of events in the Stanford community to foster this, including an informal gathering for students this evening at 7 p.m. on White Plaza that will be supported by Student Affairs and the Office for Religious and Spiritual Life.

Finally, the outcome of a single trial is but a small step on the necessary journey of advancing racial justice. This is a moment to recommit ourselves to this imperative in our community and in the wider world. The racial justice initiatives we have undertaken at Stanford will be moving ahead with the strong backing of the entire Stanford leadership. Diverse backgrounds, talents and ideas are what make Stanford great. But diversity alone is not enough. True inclusion, equity and nondiscrimination are essential for our success as an institution. We remain fully committed to these objectives, and to advancing them with urgency.


Marc Tessier-Lavigne