Statement on guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin case

While I am relieved by and grateful for today’s verdict, it does not bring back George Floyd, a man who was clearly loved by many. As we work toward real systemic change, we must hold close the aspiration that next week, next month, next year, there will be no more victims to grieve, but we know the reality and fear that many people face daily.

What has unfolded in recent weeks — the senseless killing of Daunte Wright by police in Minnesota, the tragic death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo by law enforcement in Chicago — shows us how much more work still must be done to get to a more just, equitable society. America faces not only a pandemic, but a contagion of violence — mass shootings, a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, a public safety system that leaves many people feeling unsafe.

We must end this cycle. In the coming days and weeks, I hope we can come into conversation as a community on how best to work together to end systemic racism, to hold the system and individuals accountable for the killing of unarmed Black and brown individuals, and how to pursue equity, accountability and the reform of a judicial system that has a long history of unjust outcomes. Black lives matter on our campus and everywhere, and we must deliver that message unequivocally.

We will continue our efforts to implement policing approaches that build trust and earn the support of our community. We are moving deliberately and diligently forward on this front, and we will get there working together.

Despite this verdict, many in our community may be dealing with feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Do not hesitate to reach out to campus services for support. Staff in our colleges, resource centers, and Counseling and Psychological Services provide assistance for students. The Division of Student Affairs and Success is providing additional student programming over the coming days. Our Employee Assistance Program offers counseling and support to employees.

George Floyd’s death was a senseless tragedy. Let us take this moment to learn from each other and unite as a community and country behind the need for equity, accountability, and broad systemic change.


Cynthia Larive
Chancellor, UC Santa Cruz