Office of the President

Our Work Continues

April 20, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the neck of George Floyd until he stopped breathing — killing him. This afternoon, a jury in Minneapolis, Minnesota, convicted Derek Chauvin of murdering Mr. Floyd. Accountability prevailed today in our legal system, but it was painfully earned.

Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of Mr. Floyd, who not only had to live through the tragedy of Mr. Floyd’s murder but were then forced to relive it through the trial. Likewise, the murder and trial have been sources of pain and a measure of anger for so many others forced to experience the inhumanity of racism and sexism. Accountability in this instance may provide some modicum of healing, but only meagerly so. The recent deaths of Duante Wright and Adam Toledo at the hands of law enforcement or the recent incident of 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario only serve to remind us that the road to dismantling generations of systemic racism remains long.

While this verdict represents a step towards progress, I have seen and experienced far too much in my life to conclude that further progress is inevitable. Progress only occurs when people across all demographics come together for the collective well-being. Any satisfaction from today’s verdict must be tempered by the reality that had the incident not been caught on video, the culprit would likely still be wearing a badge today instead of handcuffs.

Fighting racism has always faced fierce opposition and requires an unwavering commitment to both ideals and action by all groups. As an institution of higher learning, Cal Poly Pomona holds the opportunity to contribute towards extinguishing prejudice, bigotry, racism and the other “isms” that are within our society. Our Commitment to Action represents just one facet of our endeavors in this cause. But institutional efforts are not enough. I ask each of us to do our part — on our campus, within our homes and throughout our communities — to demonstrate respect and dignity for all and to appreciate that our collective well-being is intertwined with one another.

To our Black students, our students of color and to our entire community who are experiencing anguish or feeling empathy, please know that Cal Poly Pomona supports you and stands with you. I join with my colleagues — Provost Sylvia Alva and Vice President for Student Affairs Christina Gonzales — who encouraged us all to be compassionate and invited instructors and supervisors to be flexible and understanding during this challenging time.

I also want to highlight our  campus resources available to our community: students can contact Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) at 909-869-3220 for support and assistance, and faculty and staff can call 1-800-367-7474 (CPPLifeMatters) or visit I strongly encourage anyone who thinks that they, their friend or colleagues could benefit from the services to make contact; they are there for you.

While we face many challenges, I hold great hope knowing that our collective action will bring real change. Thank you for being part of this community of respect, dignity and caring.


Soraya M. Coley, Ph.D.