We join Governor Abbott, Chancellor Sharp, and our A&M System university presidents and peers as we mourn the tragic death of George Floyd, a former student at one of the RELLIS partners, A&M-Kingsville. It is with great sadness that our nation, once again, endures the emotional trauma of seeing a member of the Black community die due to police violence.
At RELLIS, we remain committed to providing students with an educational experience in a spirit of diversity, equity and inclusion. Students have the right to feel welcomed and safe in their university community, even when taking classes remotely during this pandemic. In addition, I am grateful our own community police departments that serve the Bryan-College Station area have issued statements condemning the actions of police officers involved in Floyd’s death.
I understand, however, George Floyd’s death was a tipping point to a larger issue — racism — and the stress and grief it brings is deep. While we cannot unpack all layers of this offense in one message, we can start somewhere. I am working with our student advisory council to find ways to support our student body through issues that include inequity and inclusion. Similar conversations will take place with our staff and faculty to ensure belonging and safety is established across the board.
Additionally, I urge you to reach out to one another and support each other. Know that you are not alone. Your professors and staff at RELLIS grieve with you over this tragic death and the others that have come before. If you are feeling overwhelmed, please make use of the counseling services offered remotely. You can find information about how to access these services on our website.
We believe in the power of education to transform lives and create societies where people can live free from racism, sexism, bias, and disrespect. Now more than ever, we must uphold our common values at RELLIS—respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity, and self-less service—and make our world a better place.
Dr. Nancy Shankle Jordan
Provost of The RELLIS Academic Alliance