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In the Spotlight
April 20, 2021

Processing the Verdict

Dear St. Francis College community,

Last week, the President shared with you a message related to the violence that continues in our country. He suggested that we reflect upon our Franciscan values of inclusivity, and compassion, and affirmed the need to promote peace and justice at every turn.

We write you today as the jury has finished deliberating in the Derek Chauvin trial regarding the killing of George Floyd. We recognize the pain, anguish and anxiety that fills many in our community at this very challenging time in our nation's history. We acknowledge and share in the exhaustion that many members of our community are feeling.

Although we remain hopeful that we can look at each other mindfully, compassionately and mercifully even as we are living sorrowfully, it is important that we create spaces to share, to process and to heal. In the coming days, we will continue to share resources available for faculty, staff and students. We encourage you to take advantage of these resources and to allow yourselves the space and time to process these events for yourselves and with our community. As Franciscans we are taught to look after and comfort others in need.

James Baldwin once said, "I can't be a pessimist because I'm alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an academic matter, so I'm forced to be an optimist. I'm forced to believe that we can survive whatever we must survive."

This quote from Baldwin inspires much of our reflection and responses to the campus community. While we are deeply concerned, we maintain hope and gratitude that now more than ever the values championed by St. Francis of Assisi speak to what is required moving forward as a campus, a city, state, and country.

It is our profound hope that in the midst of much suffering, we will work to get closer, to understand each other more fully and to strive to be a community where everyone feels like they belong.

Whatever the verdict in the Chauvin case, we remain committed to fostering a community that affirms the dignity of all persons. In the event of disruptions stemming from reaction to the trial verdict, we will share information on campus closures and provide further updates.

Praying for Peace and Justice,

Jennifer Lancaster, VP of Academic Affairs

Stanley Bazile, Chief Student Affairs Officer and Dean of Students

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