Program Statement regarding the death of George Floyd
Dear Programs of Public Affairs students, alumni, and friends,
This letter is follow-up to a June 3rd statement regarding ongoing protests across the country advocating an end to police violence against Black individuals and communities. Community members promptly and rightly responded to the statement with candid criticism and feedback, highlighting not only the insufficiency of our initial communication, but more fundamental systemic issues within the Program. We are grateful to be part of such an active and courageous community that helps spur us to live up to the ideals of public service for a more equitable and just society. The June 3 statement is linked to below, as is the open letter that we received in response
- Director Mastracci’s June 3 Statement
- An open letter to the University of Utah Master of Public Administration Program (response letter)
- BIPOC White Allies Open Letter June 5 (response letter)
We - the administration, staff, and faculty of the Programs of Public Affairs - are deeply angered and saddened at George Floyd’s death at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis – just one of a long line of unacceptable acts of violence against Black residents, including Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, Jamar Clark, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean, Michael Brown, and many others. Our thoughts, hearts, and support are with our Black and Brown community members who have been victims of violence, racism, and discrimination. We stand by the intentions and objectives of many in our community who are protesting for equitable treatment and outcomes within and beyond the context of police violence.
We must also recognize that the Programs of Public Affairs exhibits many of the elements of systemic racism that characterizes our broader society. The fact was laid bare when we received candid critique of our initial June 3rd statement (above).
The Program of Public Affairs condemns racism and racist acts, however, it is clear to us that concerted efforts are needed on behalf of the Program to address our own culpability and abdications in this regard. We have initiated immediate discussions within the Program faculty and staff to this end, and the aforementioned letter and requests provide a starting point. While we do not expect others to provide free labor to help address the systemic Program issues of which they are not responsible, we welcome the guidance and/or support of community members who wish to be involved as we undertake this overdue and urgent work.
We thank our community for holding us to the proper standards of public service and helping us realize that we have not been living up to them. With your guidance, we are committed to the hard work that is necessary for us to become part of creating a more equitable and just society for our community members of color.
Additional communications are forthcoming which will outline the concrete steps that the Program will be taking and the ways those community members who wish to be involved can inform our efforts.