FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHAPEL HILL, NC – Earlier today, University of North Carolina System Interim President Bill Roper shared the following message with each of the 17 chancellors in the UNC System:
From last week through this week I have been reading some of your statements on Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and now George Floyd. Witnessing another young black man die at the hands of those who were sworn to protect and serve has left me at a loss for words. I felt and continue to feel anger, sorrow, and grief, for our entire country but especially for the families of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd’s stepmother, who works at Fayetteville State University.
I want to draw your attention to some recent statements by Chancellors Martin, Gilliam, and Woodson that have given me some small degree of comfort, hope, and unvarnished truth.
UNC Greensboro Chancellor Frank Gilliam said “to sustain our democracy, and enact our shared values of freedom, prosperity, equality, safety, and a brighter future for our children, we must solve our problems collaboratively. People are mistaken if they believe the outcry over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis is the singular cause of protests across the country. Rather the protests are the expression of mounting frustration over the country’s inability to solve the systemic inequities central to quality of life.”
N.C. A&T University Chancellor Harold Martin wrote about the vantage point of the university, and the tools and knowledge our faculty and students can bring. “If the aftermath of George Floyd’s death is, indeed, not to be mere protest but a predicate for change in which minds, hearts, policies and practices are forever altered, it will only do so if it is nourished by knowledge and truth. Let us commit ourselves collectively to surfacing those invaluable ingredients of change.”
N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson said, “we have the responsibility to educate ourselves and those who pass through our doors to overcome ignorance, unite against intolerance, model inclusivity, and advance the dignity and power of diversity.”
I couldn’t agree more. We can and must do better as individuals, as leaders, as a country, and as a society. I am grateful for the work you are doing to support your campus and surrounding communities. We are committed to continue providing a safe environment that is rooted in belonging and where the personal rights, lives, and dignity of everyone matters.
This is a time of deep sadness and mourning. But with knowledge comes responsibility. Now that we know, what are we going to do, each of us? Let us continue to support our communities, fight for change, and build bridges that unite us all.Bill Roper