April 20, 2021
Dear Members of the Yale School of Art Community,
In the past weeks, we have been gripped by a trial that has triggered pain, fear, anger and feelings of disempowerment throughout this nation. This evening, the jury has delivered their verdict in the conviction of Derek Chauvin on two counts of murder and one of manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. As we may share in a sense of relief at this verdict, we have also collided with the recent killings of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo. We continue to reckon with the relentless and lethal mix of gun violence, racial violence, and a pandemic that grows more complex as it also wanes with mass vaccination. The School of Art stands as a community, acknowledging that meeting with this historical precedent in a court decision today, we have only begun to articulate, to express, and to grapple with the demands for a more equitable, anti-racist, and just society.
With the important intervention of the Yale Law School, and its dean Heather Gerken, we will offer our graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to participate and engage in the Yale Law School Teach-In Series: Criminal Justice, Racial Justice, Policing, and the Derek Chauvin Trial. The teach-in will take place this Thursday and Friday, April 22 and 23. The invitation and complete schedule is attached to this message. As communicated by the Yale Law School leadership and faculty, this series aims to bring the Yale community together for learning and solidarity “at a time of significant unrest, uncertainty, and trauma that has disproportionately impacted our friends, students, and colleagues of color.”
Any member of our community affected by discrimination, harassment, or violence may reach out to the Office of Institutional Equity and Access, which offers a means through which any Yale student or employee may raise concerns or speak to problem, in confidence. Students should also feel they may reach out, in confidence, to Taryn Wolf, the School’s Dean’s Designee, with concerns about discrimination and harassment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, students have the opportunity to reach out to Krista Dobson, the School’s non-clinical counselor, who is available to support students with short term mental health and wellness needs including social and cultural belonging and self-care. I encourage any student seeking help to make an appointment with Krista directly through this link, or reach out to her via email at email@example.com.
I, as dean, and we, as a School of Art community, stand in solidarity with any person who has experienced a crime or transgression motivated by race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic or national origin. I will continue to uphold the values of the School of Art, that every person is valued and respected, while acknowledging the work still needed to create actionable ways to address all forms of prejudice, stigmatization, xenophobia, and racism.
With acknowledgement and concern,
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Dean Professor of Art
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