April 20, 2021

University of Michigan, Michigan Medicine leadership responds to verdict in Chauvin trial

We continue to encourage everyone in the Michigan Medicine community to join us in condemning harassment, inequities and social injustice, while demonstrating respect, civility and wellness for ourselves and our colleagues

University of Michigan medical campus

Dear Colleagues: 

Below is a message from President Mark Schlissel that we whole-heartedly support regarding the news that Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts of murdering George Floyd. This verdict signals a significant relief to many but it does not mean the journey for social justice is over. It’s important that we acknowledge the range of emotions that many of us are experiencing, from a sigh of relief to the realization that this verdict does not signal the end of institutionalized racism. As noted in the letter, racism will not end without our perpetual collective insistence — and this insistence begins with candid conversations and a continuing focus on awareness and education. 

At Michigan Medicine, we will continue this focus, working with our Anti-Racism Task Force, OHEI and our leadership to do everything we can to combat racism. We continue to encourage everyone in the Michigan Medicine community to join us in condemning harassment, inequities and social injustice, while demonstrating respect, civility and wellness for ourselves and our colleagues.

In response to impact of the verdict of the trial, Organizational Learning, Office for Health Equity and Inclusion, and the Office for Diversity Equity and Inclusion are collaborating to offer safe spaces for the U-M community to process and come together. Community Listening Circles will be held over multiple days beginning Thursday, April 22. More information on how to attend these sessions can be found by clicking here.


Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D.
Dean, University of Michigan Medical School
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs
CEO, Michigan Medicine 

David J. Brown, M.D.
Associate Vice President and Associate Dean for the Office for Health Equity and Inclusion
Associate Professor of Otolaryngology


To All Members of the University of Michigan Community:

On behalf of the University of Michigan, we want to express our condolences to all who have been painfully affected by the horrendous murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

The past several months have been traumatic for many. No verdict will ever adequately soothe the pain, loss and fear resulting from the tragic killing of Floyd and far too many other Black and Brown people by those in law enforcement who continue to fail our communities across this country. In recent weeks, we also mourn Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright.

Today’s guilty verdict follows a trial that was traumatic, as well. As U-M alumnus and Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson has written, the defense sought to blame Floyd for his own death, invoking racist stereotypes and attempting to distract from the terrifying images we have seen of the murder. But as Robinson wrote, “We all can see who the victim is. His name is not Derek Chauvin.”

We know that many deeply personal and pressing societal concerns remain. No single verdict represents the end of the journey that must continue. This was a murder trial conducted in a system that continues to be imperfect – and one that has yet to fully reckon with the racism in our nation, and the anti-Blackness and devaluation of Black and Brown people that will not end without our perpetual collective insistence. The larger questions we face are crucial and inescapable for all who want a better world.

Resources for Support

We urge anyone who needs support to please reach out. Students on all three U-M campuses can receive support through our Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS. All faculty and staff on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses can access services through the Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office, and Michigan Medicine faculty and staff can access resources through the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience. Many members of our community also find supportive resources through our Spectrum Center, the university’s center for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty; Multi-Ethnic Student AffairsTrotter Multicultural Center; and the Dean of Students Offices in Ann ArborDearborn and Flint.

Our Power to Change Society

We must continue to work as a public university community to exercise our power to change society for the better, to transform institutions that promulgate systemic racism and to advance the values of justice and peace. So many members of our community have embraced this work, and we offer our deepest gratitude.

  • Thousands of you have engaged in and helped to create change through the multitude of programs and activities in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative.
  • The Ann Arbor Provost’s Office has launched several new anti-racism initiatives in the past several months and enhanced a number of existing ones. These include the Anti-Racism Tenure-Track Faculty Hiring Program, which we’ve funded and is currently underway, and our National Center for Institutional Diversity’s launch of the Anti-Racism Collaborative to recognize, honor, spotlight, and elevate the work of our research community related to racism and racial justice.
  • Our students are participating in our Envisioning an Anti-Racist World design challenge, organized by our Center for Academic Innovation, Arts Initiative, and Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It asks, “How do you imagine a vision for an Anti-Racist World (campus, community, neighborhood, city, state, country), that truly embodies the ideals of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice for the future?”
  • The co-chairs and members of the Advancing Public Safety at the University of Michigan Task Force will share preliminary recommendations related to fostering public safety on campus at the task force’s community forum on Wednesday. We will announce next steps after reviewing the final recommendations.
  • U-M established the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship Fund to support student scholarships to those who have demonstrated commitment to bettering their community through social justice.

We know there are many more examples of this important work taking place at U-M. It is our hope that everyone in our community asks themselves, "What can I do to help create a more just world?" We cannot be bystanders on such crucial issues of racial justice and live up to the highest values of a public university.


University of Michigan Board of Regents

Mark S. Schlissel

Susan M. Collins
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Robert M. Sellers
Chief Diversity Officer