Office of the Dean

Jennifer King Rice, UMD College of Education Dean, issued the following statement after the conviction of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd:

April 21, 2021

Dear College of Education community,

Like many of you, I have been following the murder case against Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged with murdering George Floyd last summer.  Like you, I’ve been waiting, impatiently, for the jury’s decision. And I am sure like many of you, I found myself nervous and unsure of the outcome. When I heard the verdict, I exhaled, at first feeling something close to a sense of relief and hope that I was witnessing a turning point in our nation’s willingness to recognize, address, and dismantle structural racism. 

This hope, however, is coupled with a clear realization that our work towards a more just nation and society remains woefully incomplete. We mourn, knowing that George Floyd, and so many others, should be alive today. And the injustice continues; shortly after Chauvin’s conviction, 15 year old Ma’Khia Bryant was shot and killed by police in Columbus, Ohio. The structural inequality and racism we witness in policing is far reaching, and so many members of our COE community continue to do the hard work of examining how these dynamics manifest in schools, on college and university campuses, and in neighborhoods, translating to disparate schooling experiences and persistent equity gaps.

As educators and members of the COE community, we must continue to do our part, working to support the most marginalized, to interrupt oppression, and to dismantle structural racism. We must go beyond passively supporting diversity and inclusion. We must be active and engaged, continually asking ourselves how the work we do advances the mission, vision, and values of our College, promoting equity and social justice for all teachers, learners, administrators, schools, and society. 

These times are challenging and emotionally exhausting, and I know that so many of you are struggling. There are wrongs that cannot be made right, and many members of our community are carrying the weight of loss, fear, anger, and deep frustration at the continued and escalating threats people of color face. You will find multiple University resources for faculty, staff, and students below, and I am hopeful that many of you will take advantage of these opportunities to connect. Also, please know that I and the outstanding members of my leadership team continue to be here for you as you need support.   

Sincerely,

Jennifer King Rice
Dean, University of Maryland College of Education