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Skidmore College
Office of the President

Statement in response to Chauvin conviction

April 20, 2021

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community, 

This evening, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts of murder in the death of George Floyd.  

To see justice accomplished in this verdict is immensely important. However, we are conscious that the murder of George Floyd is a tragedy, and even this conviction is not a moment of celebration. We mourn and lament the terrible crime of Mr. Floyd’s murder. His is one of far too many cases in a litany of violence against persons of color in this country. As we continue to hear news of more lives lost as a result of excessive or improper law enforcement tactics, the feelings of hopelessness and frustration can be exhausting. 

Watching the events of this trial unfold and reliving this tragedy has taken its toll on so many of us — collectively and individually. This moment will bring up different emotions and reactions, depending on our own unique circumstances and backgrounds. Each of us will process the news in our own way — tonight, and in the days and weeks to come. In moments like this, it is especially important to take time and space to process, take care of ourselves and support one another.  

Tonight, from 8 to 8:15 p.m., we will host a virtual gathering, open to all faculty, staff and students, to join in community in the immediate aftermath of this verdict.

Following the virtual gathering this evening, there will be an opportunity for candle lighting on Case Green. Stop by between 8:30 and 9:30 to light a candle as part of a larger display and have a personal moment of reflection. Following all COVID-19 safety guidelines, including mandatory masking and six feet of distance between each person, we will invite members of our campus community to walk along a marked path, as an effort to gather despite the pandemic. 

As always, students are encouraged to reach out to the Skidmore Counseling Center for support and services. Faculty and staff seeking support may call the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 518-793-9768 or 1-800-734-6072.  

I ask all supervisors and faculty to maintain flexibility with staff and students tomorrow and in the days to come. It is necessary to acknowledge this landmark moment and the fact that everyone will process this verdict differently. I support affinity groups who may wish to take their own time in creating their own spaces for mutual support.

As we move forward, our own commitment to racial justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion work here at Skidmore is unshakeable. We can be a source of hope and aspiration for each other and for our community. By engaging in this ongoing work together, we continue to move in the direction of inspiring change and progress against injustice. 

On a most personal note, I continue to hold Mr. Floyd and his family in my thoughts and my prayers, as I do all the victims of racial injustice in this country and in the world.   


Marc C. Conner