Statements from Pitt Leaders on Racial Justice and George Floyd

Leaders from around the University released statements about the death of George Floyd and in support of Pitt’s commitment to racial justice. Read excerpts below and click the images and links to read more.

Gallagher in a blue suit and yellow tie

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher

“In this moment of raw grief and anger, we must plot a path forward. We must find ways to build bridges, listen and empathize—even when it is uncomfortable. And we must demand better of our leaders, holding them accountable by voting and pushing to reform the laws and institutions of our democracy. Working together, we have enormous power to realize change.” Read his full statement

Cudd in a dark blazer

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd

“These are dark and difficult days. In the midst of a global pandemic, unprecedented in any of our lifetimes, we are witnessing again the all too common horror of police brutality and racist attacks against African Americans. The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, like so many before them, send the false and racist message that Black lives do not matter. We must work to right that wrong.” Read her full statement

Koverola in a tan blouse

Pitt-Bradford and Pitt-Titusville President Catherine Koverola

“Since coming to Pitt-Bradford one year ago today, my commitment to you has been to provide a campus that is safe, welcoming and inclusive for all of our students. We have made some progress this past year, but we know there is more work to do. In the coming year, I hope you will join me in these efforts.” Watch her full statement

 

Gregerson in a dark suit and red tie

Pitt-Greensburg President Robert Gregerson

“UPG values justice, freedom and equality. We are shocked by the horrible examples of hatred and bigotry. We are committed to making real the ideal of liberty and justice for all, and we stand with those who suffer when racism impacts individuals, communities and our country.” Watch his full statement

 

Bonner in a navy suit, light blue shirt and blue/red tie

Vice Provost and Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner

“Racism will continue to plague our country—infecting and killing people—until we all acknowledge that racism is a public health crisis in America. We must do better. Lives depend on it. Our community and our future depend on it.” Read his full statement

 

Macadangdang in a blue suit, light blue shirt and checked tie

Student Government Board President Eric Macadangdang

with Sophia Felix, Cedric Humphrey, Tyler Viljaste, Ben King, Annalise Abraham, Kathryn Fleisher, Katie Richmond, Victoria Chuah and Victor So

“We must be open to having difficult discussions about race, oppression, privilege and bias. It is simply not enough to voice our outrage. Words of support and solidarity are a good first step; however, as a premier institution, the University of Pittsburgh has a duty to make real, effective change in the face of social injustice. As the elected representatives of students, it is our duty as SGB to help lead that charge and to lead it boldly.” Read their full statement

Hirsch in a dark blazerGraduate and Professional Student Government President Malena G. Hirsch

with Yashar Aucie, Jazzkia Jones, Amanda Leifson, Deanna Mudry and Morgan Pierce

“In the midst of a health pandemic that has disproportionately affected both communities of color and of lower socioeconomic status, we also recognize that Black graduate and professional students, in particular, are facing pressure to focus on academics, research and professional work, as well as trauma and mental and physical exhaustion from the ongoing violence within our country. Unfortunately, these are not new circumstances.” Read their full statement

Gau in a dark shirt

University of Pittsburgh Postdoctoral Association President David Gau

with the UPPDA executive board

“UPPDA is committed to partnering with our Black colleagues to ensure that their concerns are fairly addressed. UPPDA has already begun a webinar series to address anti-Black racism and to support Black postdocs at the University of Pittsburgh. This webinar series is our first initiative towards supporting Black postdocs, students, faculty and staff in our shared goal towards racial equality.” Read the full statement

two people holding up gray t-shirts that say Year of Diversity

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

“George Floyd's death is yet another unnecessary tragedy, another name we must mournfully say and another involuntary harbinger for change. As a country and society, we can and must do better. Black lives matter—and depend on all of us to reject racism and discrimination of any kind.” Read the full statement

 

a Pitt police badge

University of Pittsburgh Police

“We want to assure our community that we understand that many people are concerned, and we know we need to work hard every day to maintain your trust. We all have a duty to learn, listen and improve. Actions like these by those sworn to serve and protect do not represent the values of Pitt or its police department.” Read their full statement

 

Keeler in a dark suit, blue shirt and red tie

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs Dean John T.S. Keeler

“The recent​ demonstrations against police brutality are a call for everyone to reflect on the ways we need to do work in our own community. We as the GSPIA community feel tremendous grief and anger over the suffering and violence that is disproportionately inflicted on Black Americans and other people of color. We want to express our support for our students who are affected by the reality of systemic racism in our country.” Read his full statement

Assad in a grey suit

Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business Dean Arjang A. Assad

“Our school shapes the business leaders of tomorrow. As students and alumni, you have the power to champion change in the business world, to overcome deep-seated prejudices and to shift the narrative to embrace inclusion. As faculty and staff, we have a duty to educate ourselves so we can grow with you. We are fighting the same battle against injustice. It is imperative that we do better—as a school, as a University and as a country.” Read his full statement

Blee in a dark blue blouse and pearl necklace

Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Dean Kathleen Blee

“To our African American students, staff and faculty who are carrying the terrible weight of fear and sorrow and fury, know that the Dietrich School stands with you and for you. To the allies who are searching for meaningful ways to engage in anti-racism work, I urge you to join me in listening to, learning from and amplifying underrepresented voices.” Read her full statement

Cohen in a black jacket and purplish shirt

School of Computing and Information Dean Paul Cohen

“The question is how to turn our outrage into action. For many of us, systemic racism may be an abstract concept, but we must actively work to find tangible examples that we can begin to dismantle. Effective action requires not just knowledge and understanding, but also opportunity for discussion.” Read his full statement

 

Kinloch in a yellow blouse

School of Education Dean Valerie Kinloch

“We need only look at any chapter in American history to understand that the legacy of violence, inequality and inequity directed at, and endured by, Black people and Black communities has continued into our current moment. If we sit by in silence and inaction, then we are complicit in shaping a future that directly mirrors our nation’s horrific past and present conditions.” Read her full statement

Wildermuth in a gray jacket

School of Law Dean Amy Wildermuth

“In the coming year, like the School of Education, we will work to wrestle with the legacy of our country’s systemic racism, to deeply understand the trauma and pain of Black communities and our complicity in it, to stand up against inequality, white supremacy and hatred in all forms, and to use our training to fight for equal justice for all.” Read her full statement

 

Shekhar in a blue suit, white shirt and gold tie

Senior Vice Chancellor of the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine Anantha Shekhar

“We are increasing our attention to addressing bias, both conscious and unconscious, in our faculty, students and staff and are asking our colleagues within the administration at UPMC to help us address it among patients. These efforts include implementing broad-based bystander intervention and bias mitigation training for students, residents, faculty and staff. We are working to add more information about structural racism and health disparities to the curriculum and appreciate the faculty, staff, students and committees engaged in that work. We welcome all who wish to be a part of these efforts.” Read his full statement

Farmer in a teal blouse

School of Social Work Dean Betsy Farmer

“Many of us are overwhelmed and consumed by these feelings and these experiences. And we should be—this is not the world we want to live in, and this is not the world that we can tolerate or support. But we also can't feel isolated and alone in these feelings—we know the importance of community, the power of connections and the importance of hearing and being heard.” Read her full statement

Martin in a dark suit and gold tie

Swanson School of Engineering Dean James Martin

“We are engineers—we solve problems that improve the human condition. It is important to remember solutions are not limited to technological devices and apps, or supply chains and nanomaterials. They are also new ways of thinking, of spirit, of innovation. I know we can do this. In my still short tenure as dean, I have seen our Swanson School take on challenges and rise above to success and to inspire others, especially in the way everyone responded to the COVID-19 pandemic that upended our school year. We did not surrender to fear—whether student, faculty or staff, we said, ‘We can do this. We will do this, and we will do it at a higher level.’ That is why I know the pain of this moment will summon our values and our resolve to do better, and to help others.” Read his full statement

Lyke in a blue jacket

Athletics Director Heather Lyke

“So what do we do? How will we respond? What do I do? What can we do? I’ve battled with this over the past week. As just one person, I felt powerless and frozen. I am not black and I am not going to pretend to be able to completely understand what many of you are feeling. But please know I am committed to gaining a deeper understanding through actively listening and engaging with each of you.” Read her full statement

Narduzzi in a black suit jacket

Head Football Coach Pat Narduzzi

“I am saddened and sickened. There is no place in the world for evil racism. Our University, and certainly our football program, is committed to working together for a better, more unified society. We are all one and racism should never be tolerated. #BlackLivesMatter #Unity.” Read his full statement

 

Capell in a gray suit and gold tie

Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jeff Capel

“This isn’t political. This isn’t Black vs. White. This has to be everyone against racist people, institutional racism and systemic oppression.” Read his full statement

 

 

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