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Preparing for the Trial of Derek Chauvin

A message from President Suzanne Rivera

Dear Macalester Community:

The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd, begins on Monday. As the Twin Cities and the country prepare for one of the most significant police brutality trials in our nation’s history, I’m reaching out to all of you to acknowledge the difficult emotions this trial will raise, and to share the ways we’re preparing and supporting each other as a campus community.

To begin, I want to affirm clearly and unequivocally Macalester’s commitments to racial equity and to justice. These principles are central to who we are as an institution, and who we are as individual members of the Macalester community.   

We each approach the start of this trial with different lived experiences and perspectives. But we share the belief that George Floyd’s life mattered and all Black lives matter. Since Mr. Floyd was murdered on May 25 of last year, we’ve been speaking out against centuries of anti-Blackness and other forms of systemic racism with increasing urgency. As an institution, we still have work to do, but we are committed to live our mission and make manifest our values. 

Departments across the college have developed a range of programs, listed here, for members of our community to help us understand and process the news of the trial. This list is being maintained by the Communications and Marketing team and will be updated as additional events are scheduled, including those offered by nearby colleges and other institutions that are open to participation by Mac community members.  

In addition, our Public Safety team has increased security plans in place to protect the safety of our students, faculty, and staff.  In the event additional precautions are required, you may receive additional messages directly from the Public Safety team.

I want to thank all of you for the work that you’re doing to advance justice and to support one another at this very stressful time: faculty members leading class discussions about themes such as equity, oppression, and freedom; students, like the leaders of BLAC, [email protected], and MCSG, who are creating ways to support each other; and staff, including those in the Department of Multicultural Life, Office of Student Leadership and Engagement, Office of Student Affairs, Civic Engagement Center, Athletics, Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, Hamre Center for Health and Wellness, and Disability Services– all of whom are creating space and providing expertise to foster understanding, solidarity, and wellness.  

Please take good care of yourselves and each other. Be mindful that those around you may be hurting right now and take steps to extend compassion– in the classroom, in our zoom spaces, and as we interact around the campus. Consider these well-being resources for staff and faculty, and these well-being resources for students. Reach out if you need support, and, as always, let me know if you have any questions.

March 4, 2021