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Student Government Leaders Release Statement Regarding ‘Racially-Motivated Murders’

Penn State’s student government leaders released a statement Friday condemning recent “racially-motivated mistreatment and violence” by law enforcement and calling on community members to stand up against discrimination and prejudice.

The statement, signed by leaders of the University Park Undergraduate Association, the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments, the Graduate & Professional Student Association, and Penn State’s World Campus Student Government Association, specifically cited George Floyd’s death.

“The leaders of student governments at Penn State take a united stance in formally condemning the acts of racially-motivated mistreatment and violence — most recently, the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis whose life was ended by police,” the leaders wrote.

“Penn State commits itself to six core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, discovery, excellence, and community,” they continued. “The murder of Mr. Floyd is not only unacceptable but also stands in clear opposition to these values.”

The student government leaders added the general lack of accountability for racially motivated crimes must end and believe similar acts would go unpunished without social media and public pressure.

“As student government leaders, we are entrusted by our constituents to foster safe and welcoming environments on our campuses for all students,” they wrote. “Our work to better student life includes the promotion of justice and equality, which involves understanding the different needs of Penn State students from diverse backgrounds.”

UPUA President Zach McKay addressed the incidents earlier this week and made the following statement during the organization’s bi-weekly meeting on May 28:

“I’d like to ask that to kind of begin today’s assembly we all take a brief moment of silence and prayer for George Floyd, Ahmed Aubrey, and frankly for all those who in our nation’s long history have lost their lives due to senseless and race-related killing,” McKay said. “That one person in this country in this year could fear for their life based on the color of their skin should be of great concern to every person in this country.”

UPUA formed a roundtable during Wednesday night’s meeting that plans to address racial justice and inequality within the Penn State community.

“While George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Osaze Osagie, and others are no longer with us, their names cannot and will not be forgotten,” the student government leaders wrote. “We, as a Penn State community, must stand together in solidarity to prevent acts of discrimination and continue to promote justice and equity for all.”

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About the Author

Ryen Gailey

Ryen is a senior early childhood education major from "right outside of Philly" - or in exact words, from 23.0 miles outside of Philly. She loves all things Penn State and has been a huge Penn State gal since before she could walk. Send her pictures of puppies, or hate mail at [email protected]

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