September 25, 2020
Dear Boston University Students,
We are certain you are aware that on Wednesday, after six months of deliberation, a Kentucky grand jury decided not to charge Louisville police officers with the murder of Breonna Taylor. For many of us, this outcome is deeply disturbing and again underscores the profound, heartbreaking consequences of racism and prejudice.
At Boston University we are committed to staying focused on eliminating systemic racism in our society and in our midst—and to help find paths to the equal and just application of laws so that no member of our society need fear the police. This commitment includes working to understand how prejudice—including its implicit and subconscious forms—can result in harassment and violence against people of color. The tragedy of Breonna Taylor’s death must not fade with time. It is a reminder that we have much hard work ahead of us.
We fully understand that many in our community will be motivated to give voice to anger and heartbreak through protest, in the fervent hope that we can see meaningful progress toward justice. Last week, Dean Elmore sent you a message about voting and healthy participation in protest. In addition to COVID safety, don’t forget your emotional and physical safety.
We have been notified that, starting today, a number of rallies and protests will take place throughout Boston. If you are participating in a rally, protest, or demonstration, please make your personal safety one of your primary concerns. We want you to be able to actively engage in public protest, but we also want you to be mindful of your surroundings and keep yourself safe. Be vigilant about those intent on fomenting violence. We cannot state it any more strongly. Be mindful of your surroundings and unfolding events and know your own limits.
We hope you are able to act, reflect, and foster healing in a way that honors the life of Breonna Taylor and others whose lives have been lost.
Robert A. Brown
Associate Provost and Dean of Students