IU athletic director Fred Glass and Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren both addressed the murder of George Floyd today in separate statements.
In their releases, Glass and Warren described actions being taken by IU and the Big Ten, respectively.
The full statement from Glass and the open letter from Warren follow.
Statement from Indiana University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass
The Indiana University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics stands with our students in our collective devastation and outrage over the senseless and inexcusable killing of George Floyd. Ever since I first saw the video of George Floyd’s murder, my heart has been hurting in a way I can’t remember it ever hurting, even though this is only the latest of too many examples of the awful consequence of racism so endemic in our society. Still, I know my pain is only a shadow of that being experienced by people of color because as a white person, I can never truly understand the depth of their pain. This was underscored to me by a comment one of our female African-American students shared with me last night: “Mr. Glass, this is personal because somebody died because he looked like me.” Our students are hurting. All of them. They are our family, and we love them. We are proud to be a Department that has always put the holistic care and support of our students first which is all the more important in tough times.
We can’t let ourselves be content to send the Floyd family our “thoughts and prayers” and then lapse into moving on to other things, or we will be condemning ourselves to continuing to endure these kinds of atrocities, and George Floyd’s death will have been in vain. While almost any action seems insufficient given the overwhelming challenge that racism poses to all of us, that can’t deter us into inaction. We need to be the change we want to see in the world.
As a start, last night, Athletic Director-Designate Scott Dolson, Senior Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Mattie White, and I had a Zoom meeting with the Athletic Director’s Council on Diversity and Inclusivity which I founded in 2016. The sharing by these students was very powerful and valuable and will continue to inform us as we move forward. The Council and I will co-host this week a Zoom meeting conversation for all interested student-athletes about their experiences and perspectives on George Floyd’s death, what it means to them, and how we should move forward as individuals and as part of IU Athletics. We will also host this week a similar conversation for our head coaches as well as one for all interested IU Athletics staff. The IU Athletics Office of Counseling and Sport Psychology will be reaching out to all of our coaches and students to make available mental health services tailored to address the trauma we know is being generated by George Floyd’s death and its aftermath.
We also continue to stand ready to help our students find and express their voice on these and other important public matters. We respect and support the right of our students to engage in free speech and peaceful protests. Indiana University’s position on this is clear. The Indiana University Student Code of Conduct guarantees all IU students the right, among other things, to express thoughts and opinions on any subject without university interference or fear of university disciplinary action as well as the right to engage in peaceful and orderly protests and demonstrations.
There are no easy or simple ways to fight racism or secure racial justice and equality, but that can’t be a reason not to try. I am confident that by sharing with each other and working together we can make a meaningful difference in IU Athletics and beyond.
An Open Letter from Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren
On Monday, May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a proud Black man, was killed by a member of law enforcement in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Emmett Till. The list goes on and on.
Prior to joining the Big Ten Conference as Commissioner and relocating to Chicago, my family had lived full-time in the Minneapolis area for over 15 years as I worked as an executive with the Minnesota Vikings in the National Football League. Our kids were raised in Minnesota and attended school in Minnesota before leaving for college and the people of the great state of Minnesota are part of the fabric of our entire family.
As a Black man, I pray every day for the health and safety of my wife and children, especially during interactions with law enforcement. We continue to see inequality and deep divide regarding how members of the Black community are treated compared to the rest of society and too often, the results have been horrific and senseless. Such racism and inequality are pervasive, not just endemic in law enforcement.
Meaningful change will only occur if, as a nation, we are united, resilient and determined to create difficult, uncomfortable dialogue and take significant tangible action. We all need to strive to make the world a better place. One person, one family, one city, one state, one conference, one country.
George Floyd’s death cannot be in vain.
I have made the decision to create the Big Ten Conference Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition and invite student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors, chancellors, presidents and others to join me. I have already received powerful notes of support and interest in joining this coalition and look forward to partnering with the existing diversity councils on our various campuses. It is critical that our student-athletes possess their rights to free speech, their rights to peaceful protest and we will work to empower them in creating meaningful change.
We must listen to our young people. Our children and future generations deserve better. We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. The Big Ten Conference will be part of the solution as we actively and constructively combat racism and hate in our country.
In closing, my wife, Greta, and I have decided to personally make an initial gift of $100,000 from the Warren Family Foundation to the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights based in Washington, D.C., which focuses on addressing issues regarding racism, hate and voter registration.
I will continue to pray, lead and take action to eliminate racism and hate in our country.
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