Remembering George Floyd


Dear SMU faculty, students and staff,

One year ago, the world watched as George Floyd was murdered by former police officer Derek Chauvin. Today his family, national leaders and many others will gather to honor the significance of his life and death through events across the country.

Here at SMU, it’s been a long year of revelations, conversations and rebuilding. We know from the painful recollections of our own Black students, faculty, staff and alumni that our campus has not always been the welcoming place it should be. We have also learned that it is only by facing the uncomfortable reality that we have not always lived up to our values that we can continue the journey to becoming a truly inclusive campus.

Partnering with the Black Unity Forum, we developed an actionable, sustainable and community-accountable strategic plan that touches every aspect of all of our lives as Mustangs. Overseen by the chief diversity officer and the University Diversity Council, the overall goal of our efforts is to ensure that every aspect of campus life and work reflects the ideals we hold dear. I am optimistic about our shared future as we move forward together as one campus.

We cannot become complacent while on this journey. The violence faced by the Asian American, Pacific Islander, Jewish and Muslim communities, along with the deaths of other unarmed Black men in police custody throughout the spring, is a painful reminder that we must stay vigilant. We cannot rest. We must continue to pursue our campus goals of diversity and inclusion with the same sense of urgency that propelled us in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death.

We are committed to real change on our campus. We invite you to follow our path forward and hold our University accountable through our quarterly Moving Forward Together reports on the SMU website.

Above all, let’s keep talking and listening to each other. Then, let’s act to ensure that every Mustang is valued. It’s the best way to honor George Floyd’s memory.


R. Gerald Turner
SMU President