You are here: American University President Announcements May 31, 2020

AU Memo Letterhead

Dear AU Community, 

I am usually a measured person, I believe that focus and hard work brings change, but today that is not enough. I write to you sad, frustrated, and angry. The horrific acts of violence against Black communities break our hearts. I just want to scream STOP! The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery lay bare the deep wounds of racism that have plagued our country for too long. My heart goes out to everyone hurting from these unacceptable tragedies and the centuries of injustice they represent.

The anguish in so many communities is the effect of systemic racism that tears at the fabric of our society. We have experienced this pain firsthand on our campus. We know we have more work to do to combat racism and foster inclusive excellence. We have to listen, to live our values through active anti-racist practices, and to confront all forms of discrimination, bigotry, and hatred in our society.

While COVID-19 makes it difficult for us to gather and address this heartbreak together, we are here for our community. If you need support, please reach out to our university resources, including the Dean of Students' office, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Kay Spiritual Life Center, the Counseling Center, and the Faculty/Staff Assistance Program (FSAP).

While the journey toward a more just society is demanding, we must each take steps that propel us all forward. At American University, our educational and research mission, our committed faculty and staff, and our students give us the opportunity and the obligation to take up this challenge. We will build on the work of our scholars who engage on the problems of racism, criminal justice reform, and societal disparities. We must take responsibility to educate ourselves and others about the issues and structures that perpetuate racism so we can work to change them. We will listen and learn from those who have experienced these tragedies and who live with the fear and pain of racism every day. And we must reject the fear and violence that some would use to further divide us.

In these overwhelming times, please take care of yourselves and each other. Let us acknowledge the pain so many are feeling and find ways to support the Black community. Let us remember those who have suffered and lost from racism and hatred. And let us find strength in our shared humanity and our hope for justice.

Be safe and be well.