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A Special Message from APLU’s Board of Directors Executive Committee & President

To APLU Members:

We are horrified and sickened by the recent spate of incidents of racism and racial violence across the United States. In Minnesota, George Floyd, an African American man, was senselessly killed as he pleaded for his life. In Georgia, Ahmaud Arbery, an African American man, was shot to death as he went for a jog. In New York, Christian Cooper, an African American man, was threatened as he tried to enjoy watching birds in Central Park. Sadly, this list could go on much longer as these types of terrible events keep on occurring. We are all disgusted and appalled by racism in America. This must change. We condemn these and all racist acts in the strongest possible terms and commit to having our nation’s public universities play a uniting role and being part of the solution.

We see and share in the frustration and distress of others who are speaking out and peacefully protesting these injustices and join them in demanding long overdue change. We know that racial injustice is not limited to recent events. One needs to look no further than the disproportionate devastating impact that COVID-19 is inflicting on the African American community and other communities of color. All these injustices and inequities should mobilize us to take responsibility for one other and to push for meaningful and significant change.

Mixed among the peaceful protesters, are some others who wish to take advantage of the situation to destroy and loot property, often in neighborhoods where diverse communities live and shop. These acts cannot be condoned, and they dishonor the memory of George Floyd and others who have lost their lives.

As we look ahead, we are committed to ensuring our public universities serve as models for diversity, equity, and inclusion for our nation and the world. All of us firmly believe in the power of higher education to change lives and build a better, more equitable society. Together, we must redouble our efforts to ensure that African Americans and other underrepresented groups have the access to a higher education, feel at home on our campuses, and are provided with the support to ensure they succeed and ultimately graduate ready to change the world.

Regardless of our race, ethnicity, color or creed, we all have a role to play in ending racism and ensuring an equitable and inclusive society. We must use this crisis as motivation to root out racism and provide opportunity and success for everyone. Ridding our society of racism and achieving full opportunity are one and the same.

We know many of you are speaking out with similar messages. Thank you for your leadership and for helping to make clear the public university community stands united in pursuit of racial justice. Together we must achieve change.

— APLU Executive Committee of the Board of Directors

  • Robert Jones, Chair of the APLU Board of Directors & Chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Waded Cruzado, President, Montana State University
  • Rebecca Blank, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Gary May, Chancellor, University of California, Davis
  • Michael Drake, President, The Ohio State University
  • Peter McPherson, President, APLU
  • Council of Presidents

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