I write to you today in sadness to address an occurrence that has been played out far too many times across the years – a reprehensible act of police brutality that led to the death of an African American man – George Floyd. On behalf of the CSI community, I extend our heartfelt sympathies to Mr. Floyd’s family, friends, and loved ones.
A despicable act like this destroys confidence in the justice system. I hope the arrest of the officer begins a process of systemic change and comprehensive reforms so all people may have confidence in those who are charged to protect and serve.
The College of Staten Island has always welcomed students and scholars and all members of our community from every race, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin to pursue their educational interests. We believe an educational institution should be a place where one can engage in difficult conversations through respectful discourse with the understanding that we are creating leaders who will make the world a fairer and better place for all.
I know that many members of our community are heartbroken over this event and the continued racism and discrimination that plagues our society. It is also challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic to get the in-person support from friends and family that can be a powerful source of comfort. I encourage anyone who needs additional support during this time to utilize our confidential counseling services.
· Students may contact the CSI Counseling Center 24/7 via www.csi.cuny.edu/students/counseling-center.
· Employees may contact the Deer Oaks Employee Assistance Program to speak with a licensed mental health counselor: 855.492.3633 (24-hours/day) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit: www.deeroakseap.com (member username and password is CSI).
I join Chancellor’s Matos Rodriguez’s call for us to “redouble our commitment to finding ways forward” and I look ahead to the fall when we will work collectively to be that engine of change.
By William J. Fritz