Monday, May 24, 2021

Dear OSU Community Members,

It was a year ago tomorrow, May 25, that the life of George Floyd was tragically and cruelly taken by a Minneapolis police officer since convicted of murder and manslaughter.

On the anniversary of Mr. Floyd’s death, I ask that you join me and reflect on the many other Black people, including Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright and Ronald Greene, who have died in encounters with police, and the fear Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) experience daily. We must realize that racism continues and commit to OSU continuing its efforts to provide equity for all.

A time of reflection will be prompted at 7:25 p.m. PT as the Corvallis campus bell tower tolls 10 times, signaling the moments that Mr. Floyd’s life was taken from him a year ago.

I realize that we have much to do  as an institution, as a community and as individuals  to advance equity and inclusion, social justice, safety and success for all and to become an anti-racist institution. But I’m encouraged that we have taken many actions over the past year.

There is important work occurring within our academic colleges and the division of Student Affairs to provide a transformative education that is accessible to all learners; work underway by the Office of Institutional Diversity in collaboration with OSU colleges and units to advance inclusion; efforts within OSU Athletics and among Black student-athletes on the Dam Change initiativework in partnership with the OSU Foundation to support students and diversity; and OSU’s celebration of Juneteenth 2021  Friday, June 18  as a university holiday, recognizing the end of slavery in the United States.

We still have much to do. I am looking forward to receiving recommendations from the Task Force on Race and Antiracism, and I will meet soon with the President and Provost’s Leadership Council for Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice to discuss ongoing work and progress, as well as the recently created President’s Commission on the Status of Black Faculty and Staff Affairs.

As OSU’s interim president, I am committed to continuing this work, and taking additional steps to advance Strategic Plan 4.0 and the university’s Diversity Strategic Plan.

We must and can do so much together. Please take time Tuesday to reflect on the passing of Mr. Floyd and how you can contribute to lasting and transformative change.

Sincerely,

Becky Johnson
Interim President