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Statement on Derek Chauvin Verdict

Our Work Is Not Over

Dear Members of the Drexel Community,

As the trial of Derek Chauvin ended, there was a collective momentary sigh of relief. On Tuesday evening, the nation learned that a verdict of guilty on all charges was returned by the jury. For people of color, this news comes after 11 months of shock, protest, pain, immeasurable grief, and trauma, as we all processed the 9 minutes and 28 seconds of footage that led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As a community, it is easy to become numb to the daily news, but it is our collective responsibility to ensure that we remain self-aware of our biases, vigilant about the infrastructure and intolerances around us, and committed to confronting the continued racism and injustice that face our community.

Violence and hatred are unacceptable and have no place in our country, our University, and the College of Medicine community. The news of this verdict is another step in the right direction in the fight against bigotry, but our work is not over. In order for our work to be effective, it must continue here in our community.

The College of Medicine, its faculty and professional staff, alongside the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Offices of Admissions and Student Affairs, remain committed to building a safe, diverse, and equitable community. To create an environment where our students are always empowered to have meaningful dialogue and are invested in the well-being of all people.

In light of the recent injustice, we reaffirm our values and commitment to how we educate and support you, our future physicians and scientists. We commit to:

  • Create an open forum to discuss concerns – ensuring that all community members are empowered to address injustices in our spaces.
  • Provide resources and trainings – aiding community members to develop skills to be active bystanders and to recognize and act on injustices.
  • Support trainings for personal safety – increasing our community members’ personal agency when confronted with issues of racism.
  • Partner with student organizations and student leaders – ensuring that our administration has a pulse on student attitudes surrounding these issues and clearly communicates our strategy on dismantling systemic and institutionalized prejudice and discrimination.
  • Educate on appropriate interpersonal conduct – committing to the task of combatting racism is an ongoing responsibility for all of us.

We will continue to stand in solidarity with our students, faculty, and professional staff of color.

We will continuously play active roles in making meaningful change and progress. Our work towards effective change continues.

We will always be creative and at the forefront of addressing social inequities, but we can’t do it without all of you.

Take care and keep yourself and your fellow community members safe.

Leon McCrea II, MD, MPH
Deborah J. Tuttle, MD, and John P. Piper, MD, Vice Dean for Educational Affairs; Director, Drexel Pathway to Medical School Program; Associate Professor of Family, Community and Preventive Medicine

Annette Gadegbeku, MD
Associate Professor; Associate Dean, Community Health; Faculty Director, Healing Hurt People

Rita Guevara, MD
Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Assistant Professor

Orcel Kounga, MSEd
Director of Admissions and Student Affairs, West Reading Campus at Tower Health

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