University News

President Kaplan and Lee College Dean Condemn Acts of Racism and Intolerance

In emails to the University community, University of New Haven President Steven Kaplan and David Schroeder, acting dean of the Henry C. Lee College, expressed sadness and anger over the death of George Floyd and called for justice.

May 29, 2020

Dear Members of the University Community,

I would like to join the scores of individuals across the country in calling for justice and expressing my sadness and anger over the death of George Floyd. It is heartbreaking and infuriating that these incidents continue to occur.

As an institution committed to the education of students whose career goals are in the field of public safety, we have a responsibility to condemn these horrific actions in the strongest terms possible. Senseless acts of racism, lives lost, and brutality inflicted weigh heavily on all of us, leaving many searching for a way forward. Now, more than ever, it is critical for us to come together as a nation to reject all forms of bigotry that threaten the very fabric of our society and what makes our country great.

Tonight, as we were ready to send my message about George Floyd, I was made aware by several students of some very disturbing audio files that allegedly feature statements made by a member of our University community. Please know that this is a matter I take very seriously. I have asked Rebecca Johnson, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, to conduct an immediate investigation.

As a University community, we have zero tolerance for any issues of hate, racism, and bigotry. Views of that nature are abhorrent and contemptible, and they do not in any way represent the ideals of our University community.

Our community values diversity and inclusion and the richness that the many identities on our campus brings to each of us. Our campus is a place of respectful debate, thoughtful inquiry, and engaged citizenship, and we are equally committed to the protection of individual dignity and the free exchange of ideas. These commitments are at the core of who we are, and are representative of the foundational values we hold dear.

Please know that one of my paramount priorities as president is to foster an inclusive and diverse environment in which all members our community feel welcomed and respected. As members of an intellectual community, we have a responsibility to uphold these standards in all of our words and our actions at all times.

With best wishes,

Image of Steve Kaplan signature

Steven H Kaplan, Ph.D.

Dear Members of the UNH Community:

The Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences believes in the concept of service-above-self, and it is in this light that we collectively join the nation in our sadness and anger at the events that led to the death of George Floyd. We denounce these actions and join the nation in mourning a life lost.

This incident was the result of a systemic failure to address policy issues surrounding negligence in hiring, retention, training, and supervision. George Floyd’s death stands in indictment of American policing, and the politics which oversee it, in their failure to address the very real issues that have caused in the past, and continue to cause, needless deaths. We take a position that large scale policy changes are needed in American policing to prevent incidents like the killing of George Floyd from occurring. Any citizen, of any color, should expect more from the people who are employed to be the stewards of their communities.

By acknowledging the vicarious trauma that many communities feel, particularly communities of color, it is imperative that we teach, train, and live our lives with a level of empathy that will help eliminate situations such as these. We celebrate diversity and inclusion and use them as pillars of strength to empower our students, faculty, and staff. Moreover, we are committed to working directly with law enforcement, other first responders and community members to build bridges of empathy and create more effective training. It is because incidents like this happen far too often (and even once is too often), that we in the Lee College are committed to teach with a devotion to social justice, a commitment to public service, and an obligation to public safety.

Be well and stay safe,

David A. Schroeder, Ph.D.
Acting Dean, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences