University of San Diego

Office of the President

Dear USD Community:

As you are likely aware, yesterday in Minneapolis, Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges he faced for the killing of George Floyd. Yesterday’s verdict comes with a full range of powerful emotions, as well as the recognition that the accountability it represents does not equal the justice that Mr. Floyd deserved.

George Floyd’s murder ignited a national reckoning over the ongoing reality of the systemic racism that continues to plague our society. Yesterday’s outcome offers hope that this reckoning, and a greater recognition of the injustices perpetrated against Black Americans throughout our history, might lead us to a better future.

These events have demonstrated unequivocally that racism remains one of the most urgent challenges that we are called to address as an engaged, contemporary Catholic university. We have a responsibility to continue to learn about the ways that racism is deeply entrenched in our systems and structures while seeking to forge pathways to healing, equity, liberty and justice for all. An important step in this journey is acknowledging the trauma experienced by generations of Black Americans and committing ourselves to working for change.

Those particularly impacted by yesterday’s verdict, Mr. Chauvin’s trial, or racism in general are encouraged to reach out for the support they need. Grief counseling and other support services are available to all members of the USD community. Students may access a Mental Health Counselor through the Counseling Center by calling (619) 260-4655 and pressing 1. Additional information is on the Counseling Center’s website. The University Ministry team is available to talk, listen and offer support at

In addition, the Student Affairs Restorative Justice Strategic Committee, Student Wellness and Grad/Law Student Life are offering a series of processing gatherings for undergraduate and graduate students. More information and registration are available here.

There is also an employee discussion today at 4:00 p.m. Registration can be accessed here. Support is also available to employees through our Employee Assistance Program and through our Employee Relations Team.

As members of a faith-based institution, we can take comfort in knowing that the very life of God is love, and that each one of us is made in God’s image. May we open our hearts to each other and strive for the end of racism in all its forms so that we may walk together with all of our brothers and sisters in a renewed unity.


James T. Harris III, D.Ed.

University of San Diego

Office of the President
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492