Statement by Penn State University’s Student Government Leadership Regarding Recent Racially-Motivated Murders Throughout the United States

May 29th, 2020

The leaders of student governments at Penn State take a united stance in formally condemning 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. Penn State commits itself to six core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, discovery, excellence, and community. The murder of Mr. Floyd is not only unacceptable but also stands in clear opposition to these values.

We are grateful that the officer who knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck was taken into custody today and charged with murder after significant public pressure. However, the general lack of accountability for individuals perpetrating racially-motivated heinous acts is unacceptable and must change. If not for social media and public pressure, the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others may have been ignored and individuals responsible for these tragedies might have evaded accountability for their actions. These repeated offenses highlight pervasive racial inequalities embedded in our society that continue to plague our country. 

As student government leaders, we are entrusted by our constituents to foster safe and welcoming environments on our campuses for all students. Our work to better student life includes the promotion of justice and equity, which involves understanding the different needs of Penn State students from diverse backgrounds. We must support all Penn State students, especially our Black communities, during this difficult time. Further, we cannot allow acts of discrimination and prejudice to be normalized. 

While George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Osaze Osagie, and others are no longer with us, their names cannot and will not be forgotten. Our deepest condolences are with their families and we desire justice for their tragic deaths. 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.

For the Glory,

Zachary McKay & Lexy Pathickal, UPUA President & Vice President

Hibah N. Akbar & Aakash Viramgama, CCSG President & Vice President

Alex Zhao & Jullia Kelliher, GPSA President & Vice President

Sean Walsh & Stacy White, WCSGA President & Vice President