Joint Law Enforcement Statement Regarding George Floyd

A Message from President Fuchs

It is past time for UF to commit and engage in this challenging, uncomfortable, transformational work. We know that we cannot undo lifetimes of injustice and racism, but we believe we can make progress – in education, in advancing truth, reconciliation and justice, and in anti-racism, equality and working to eradicate inequities. This process will not be easy, and we will need to work together through the imperfections, missteps and complications that always accompany change. But the progress we seek is fundamental to who we are at UF and to our expectations of ourselves, and I look forward to joining all of you on behalf of our campus, community and country. —President W. Kent Fuchs
I ask everyone at UF and throughout the Gator Nation to consider their actions, sphere of influence and how they can personally be part of positive change.  —President W. Kent Fuchs

A Message from Vice President Reynolds

Concerning the recent national (worldwide) attention of injustice, racism, and violence against Black Americans and people of color; I condemn these acts and affirm my beliefs of fair and equitable treatment of all people.

I support and affirm the university’s position against actions of bigotry and hatred.  In these times we shall fortify our bonds of mission and purpose to all and especially those that look to us as beacons and lighthouses guiding a path to a greater good.

Being an African American man, I could share my own personal experiences and stories of racism, but I choose a different path to share…one of hope, courage and perseverance.

We will always face obstacles as we live through life’s cycle of challenges, but it is up to us as individuals on how we respond and promote change for the betterment of mankind.

I have adopted the following characteristics that have helped me persevere and to always find my path.

  1. Be Fair…treat all people justly as you would treat yourself; no buddy systems or favoritism.
  2. Be Firm…say what you mean and mean what you say; stick to it…word is bond.
  3. Be Factual…tell the truth, be honest; don’t sugar-coat it.
  4. Be Friendly…demonstrate kindness towards others; compassion and understanding lives forever.
  5. Be Knowledgeable…learn and grow amongst others with differences and similarities; education is a shared responsibility.

On behalf of the more than 1200 employees of Business Affairs, we support and value the diversity represented at the university and within our organization. We take pride in our services with the intent to be complete, reliable, accurate and above all; to exceed customer needs and expectations. We work together to achieve the goals of our organization and the university. We desire a culture of trust, respect and consideration for others. We maintain a positive outlook by taking pride in our work and ownership for a higher level of commitment to our customers.

Business Affairs is a diverse and inclusive organization that serves the university in a variety of ways; from assuring the cleanliness of our buildings and manicuring our grounds, to maintaining a safe campus community for students, faculty, staff and thousands of visitors every day.

In closing, I’m reminded of the following quote:

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know betterdo better.”—Maya Angelou

—Curtis A. Reynolds, Vice President for Business Affairs 

Statements from UF Leaders

Diversity, without a moral compass, will not save us from ourselves. To belong is to be seen for one’s full humanity and to be embraced and welcomed into a community as an equal. Without a full understanding of our university’s past, of those that sacrificed and were sacrificed in order to break the segregation wall that finally came down in 1958, we cannot move forward with the sense of urgency needed to build a truly inclusive educational experience and to educate graduates ready to lead an increasingly complex and diverse world grounded in justice. Antonio Farias, Chief Diversity Officer
As many seek and fight for justice, we must all recognize that apathy is not an option. And it is vital we advocate for humanity, care for one another and continue important action to challenge such violence and injustice. D’Andra Mull, Vice President for Student Affairs
This will require continuous action. This will require honest, tough, often uncomfortable conversations. For many of us, that means taking the initiative in educating ourselves, listening to and believing in experiences that are different from our own. It means hearing the voices of our Black teammates, colleagues, neighbors and friends, for whom the best ideals of our nation often remain a promise unfulfilled. Scott Stricklin, Athletic Director
Racial prejudice and oppression have a long history. In our time it has been a disturbing and relentless fact of life. African-American students, faculty, and staff of our college, and their families, must too often live with the undercurrent of fear that arises from a history of violence that has struck down so many. Although we are right to all be proud of our collective accomplishments as an institution, we cannot be satisfied until that fear is vanquished in our community and across the nation. Supporting progress to that end must be a key mission of our institution and higher education. David Richardson, Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Ways to get involved at UF

Academics4BlackLives: Beginning on Juneteenth, Friday, June 19 – Thursday, June 25, 2020, Academics for Black Survival and Wellness will host a weeklong personal and professional development initiative for academics to honor the toll of racial trauma on Black people, resist anti-Blackness and white supremacy, and facilitate accountability and collective action.

A Letter to the State University System Community

The shocking and horrific event of this past week in which George Floyd lost his life in Minneapolis, at the hands of sworn police officers, has both angered and saddened all Americans.  Similar tragic and senseless acts involving African Americans in recent years are particularly painful as there have been far too many other examples of racism and violence against people of color from all across our nation.  It is time for everyone to examine the inequities in our society, recognize the conditions that have created those inequities, and work to repair the racial divide and restore equal justice for all Americans.

The State University System of Florida respects and appreciates all races, diverse cultures, nationalities, and communities and is committed to addressing ongoing societal problems and enhancing diversity and inclusion.

Everyone in the University Community condemns the deplorable act that caused the death of George Floyd. Our anger, sadness, and frustration over Mr. Floyd’s death, however, must give us resolve to take action.  As a powerful and influential voice in Florida, it is time for the State University System, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni, to actively engage in finding solutions to peacefully eliminate racism and discrimination.  This will be a critical mission of our twelve state universities, as it is our duty as societal leaders to help end prejudice and to promote social justice for all.

Our universities will draw upon the wisdom and leadership of our students, faculty, and staff to strengthen our campus communities and our State.  Together, we must move forward with greater resolve to battle racism and systemic inequities wherever they exist.

Please take care of yourselves, your families, and your communities during this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Sydney Kitson, Chair | Board of Governors

Brian Lamb, Vice Chair | Board of Governors

Marshall M. Criser III, Chancellor | Board of Governors

Messages from our Professional Organizations

We, as an organization, are examining the ways in which we contribute to the continuation of racism and white supremacy. We are committed to finding ways to dismantle oppression and to promoting racial justice in the communities we serve. As an organization that works closely with law enforcement and promotes safety and transparency, we must do more. We stand in solidarity with the Black community and share the outrage and grief being expressed across our country. Clery Center
IACLEA extends its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of George Floyd, who died on May 25 while in the custody of Minneapolis Police Department officers. This incident has caused pain to the Minneapolis community and to millions around the globe who have witnessed it through video. The death of Mr. Floyd and the manner in which he was detained is deeply disturbing, horrific, and senseless.
Campus public safety and law enforcement agencies work closely and in partnership with municipal and state law enforcement. These relationships are vitally important, as are the relationships campus police and public safety agencies maintain with students, faculty, staff, and all who visit and enjoy our campus communities.

Campus police and public safety agencies support the values found within higher education and that are embraced within our campus communities. Those values include the advancement of learning; fostering acceptance and respect for others; and cultivating a community of trust and care. Like the members it serves, IACLEA continues to commit itself to these values and will dedicate its efforts and partnerships to our communities by giving them voice, and by working side by side together with vigor, understanding, and acceptance.

Community trust is the necessary foundation for law enforcement to effectively carry out its core duty: to protect and serve. The relationship between communities of color and law enforcement has been tenuous, and this tragedy is a setback for efforts to create trust and build relationships. Whenever and wherever officers misuse their authority and harm the very citizens they swore to protect, they break the bond of trust between law enforcement and the community – and, in turn, taint the good work, bravery and professionalism of all law enforcement and public safety professionals. International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators