Reflections on the Chauvin trial verdict

Dear campus community,

Many of us have just heard the news about the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin. Though we have waited anxiously for a significant jury verdict many times before, today’s outcome was different. In this trial and for each count, Derek Chauvin was found guilty.

For many of us, this moment is a relief but also bittersweet. While justice was served, George Floyd’s life was still taken from him. Incidents of racist police brutality against members of our Black, Brown and Indigenous communities are still occurring as we know from the killing of Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright. Such incidents devastate families, tear communities apart, and spark outrage as well as calls to end systemic racism. 

These incidents demand sober reflection and continued action. We still live in a society where tragic, racist and violent interactions with law enforcement, as well as racially-motivated acts of violence and terror, persist daily. 

I know that many of us are experiencing anger, grief and emotional stress. Please be aware of the support and resources that SJSU makes available to the campus community. Among those are the Black Leadership and Opportunity Center and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and many others can be found on our Combating Systemic Racism website. Please also be reminded of the counseling and psychological services we offer to students, faculty and staff

As we reflect upon this moment, we must continue the struggle forward with honesty and integrity. There will not be simple answers. Addressing systemic racism and other forms of systemic oppression will not be overcome with one trial or one verdict. Our work must happen together with courage, respect and sacrifice. Change in our nation and in our communities will occur only when we truthfully realize that the work is ours individually and collectively.


Dr. Mary A. Papazian