President Brand sends message about George Floyd

This is an email sent by President Jonathan Brand to the Cornell College community on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

Given the unpredictable and challenging few months that we have had learning to cope with COVID-19, I could not imagine that anything else could happen in the world that could come close to, or even eclipse, COVID-19. Then George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Watching and rewatching the almost 9-minute video footage and the aftermath has been painful, angering, and nauseating. But, this is not a time to look away. While it might be easy for some to view this tragedy as a distant event with little connection to the Cornell campus, that would sadly be very shortsighted. I have seen students and alumni participating in the protests and clean up throughout the country. I see the pain experienced by many members of our campus community.

This is the moment for all of us to stand in solidarity and engage in the moral courage necessary to let this incident, or others like it, be a catalyst for change in our world. This wasn’t simply the failure of one human being. We have to understand racial disparity and injustice. My heart goes out to Mr. Floyd’s family and also to everyone who feels the pain associated with his death. I feel it; what a tragedy.

And, now we have to find a way to further our understanding of one another’s experiences of the world and seek ways to heal the schism created by these recent events. Let’s be mindful that caring for others is the greatest human opportunity we have. None of us is distant from what happened in Minneapolis. Many are intimately connected to it and deserve our support.

I hope for your continued safety as well as of your families and our larger Cornell community amidst the pain and anguish. And, as always, we are here if we can be of any help.

Please take care of yourself and of others.