School of Public Affairs statement on the George Floyd tragedy
A message from Dean Paul TeskeJun 3, 2020
We were angered and saddened when the news of the death of George Floyd at the hands of four police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota broke on May 25. Floyd’s death, the latest in an unacceptable pattern of violence against members of Black communities by law enforcement in America, has ignited protests around the world by people seeking justice for his death and reform of law enforcement’s treatment of these communities. Our hearts go out to all who have been victims of violence, racism and other forms of discrimination by the institutions that are meant to serve and protect us.
CU Denver, as a campus community, has also recently issued communications about this issue.
As a School of Public Affairs with faculty experts in criminal justice who prepare students for careers in the criminal justice system, we feel the need to respond and to show our solidarity with Black communities, communities of color, LGBTQIA communities – in short, any and all communities – including those in law enforcement who share our values. We support the peaceful protests that call on our public institutions to be equitable and just in their service to the public. But, we do not support the violence perpetrated by a minority of demonstrators and agitators at many of the protests.
Our faculty’s collective research and experience in understanding policing and police and community relations has never seemed more relevant than now. Our faculty and students have worked with law enforcement and other groups involved in the criminal justice arena for many years, seeking to use research and data to support evidence-based practices.
As part of our First Friday Breakfast series, we were slated to host an event in April about police and community relations, but that in-person event was postponed when all CU Denver in-person events were cancelled as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We intended to launch the 2020-21 First Friday Breakfast Series with this topic in September, but given the recent death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests, we plan to move this event forward and will provide specific details about the event very soon.
We will also plan additional events and dialogues around these issues in the coming months, virtually or in-person if public health concerns allow that.
And, as CU Denver’s School of Public Affairs, we will continue to prepare our students to be equitable and just professionals in the criminal justice system, to influence law enforcement to improve policing outcomes and relations with all the communities it serves, and to engage you in these efforts.
Dean Paul Teske
University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs