May 29, 2020
Dear GSB community,
The end of spring quarter calls for happiness and celebration. Yet I write to you tonight with a deep sense of sorrow and concern. The violent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the events unfolding across the country, once again demand that we confront our country’s legacy of systemic racism and injustice.
I, like countless others, was horrified by the video of George Floyd pinned to the ground, pleading for help. In the face of these events, we feel powerless, exhausted, and consumed with anger. But we must not give in to despair, or as Robert Kennedy said on the night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, to the hatred and distrust we feel in our hearts in the face of injustice.
Instead, we can take this as a call to action in our own community. We are not perfect; sometimes our flaws are manifest. Awareness of these imperfections makes demands on those of good faith. As with other challenges we are currently facing, I know that our community will come together to support one another, and will seek ways to engage beyond our campus. Now is a time for all of us to use our voices and talents to help move the country forward.
Our collective actions matter. Business can be a powerful force for change. Business leaders can point the way for others, including in areas that matter for equity: wages, benefits, diversity in leadership roles, and governance. I am confident that our students who graduate this June will work against injustice and help their organizations serve as forces for positive change. As they depart, let us renew our institutional commitment to educating not just leaders of organizations, but leaders for society.
Wishing you continued strength,
Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean