George Mason University


News at Mason

Mason speaks up

June 3, 2020

Voices from across George Mason University spoke up in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, who died as the result of a Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee into Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes. The messages were of inclusion, diversity and the rejection of racism and violence.

Mason Interim President Anne Holton and President-Designate Gregory Washington

"No words without action. We are determined to keep George Mason University true to its motto, to be a place of 'freedom and learning.' We will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure every member of Mason Nation, and every visitor to our campuses, is safe: physically safe, emotionally safe, culturally safe, and intellectually safe, to become who they want to be."


Rose Pascarell, Vice President, University Life

"I’m recalling Dr. Gail Christopher’s words when she led several of us through a racial healing training earlier in the spring semester – “We must dispel the false belief in a hierarchy of human value and replace that archaic notion with a reverence and appreciation for the equal and interconnected nature of the human family.”







Carl Rowan, chief, Mason Police

"The homicide of George Floyd must not just be another opportunity for well-intentioned speeches, empty virtue signaling or wanton violence. I hope that we, as a community, can be part of the solution to ending the type of behavior that we witnessed in Minneapolis by police officers who disgraced their profession. On that point, we can walk with you. I hope you will walk with us."







Germaine Louis, dean, College of Health and Human Services

"It is dependent on all of us to recognize and embrace diversity and to reject racism and violence. Our College remains committed to inclusive thinking and actions as we ensure health equity and promote a healthier and happier way to live moving forward.  This is not a time to be silent in thought or action."








Alpaslan Özerdem, dean, Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution

"As a School focused on peace and conflict resolution, it is our core mission—and our core duty—to bring about a more just and peaceful world, whether by educating the next generation of peacebuilders and changemakers, conducting research into the causes of conflict and its resolution, or working with communities across the world to implement ethical and equitable policies and programs that will enable the transformation of our societies."







Dave Paulsen, men's head basketball coach

"It is not enough not to be racists. We must become actively anti-racist and adamant in our pursuit to understand our place in a society plagued by structural racism. Our silence and inaction has become passive acquiescence to a system that perpetuates racial stereotypes, profiling and inequity."








Chris Carr, chief diversity officer, Volgenau School of Engineering

"I am sending this message out now ­– first and foremost as a Black man. As someone who has watched the news and cried and raged inside. As someone who felt so much sadness. I want to tell you, you are not alone. I want to make particular space for the Black community within VSE – student, staff, and faculty, to say I see you. To let you know that this pain, while heavy, doesn’t have to be carried alone."







Rick Davis, dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts

"As artists and educators in CVPA, we acknowledge and commit to the hard work in front of us: to create communities that are anti-racist, truly free, and fully just for all. Saying it out loud is only the first step. The real work begins now, with both reflection and action."










Emily Ihara, chair, Department of Social Work

"As I read, watch, and learn about events, I am enraged, hearbroken, and sometimes feeling hopeless. But I am also inspired and hopeful by the community organizers, the activists, the social workers, and the every day people who are fighting for a better, racially just, and equitable world."







Robert E. Baker, interim dean, College of Education and Human Development.

"The hard truth is that racism is real and it is a disgrace. Within CEHD, let’s be proactive and utilize our expertise to confront racism and be the best we can be at building an inclusive community. Because we believe in it, we should work at it."









Ann Ardis, dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

"Education is one of our greatest tools in the fight for equity and justice. We must all be open to learning, to changing, to acknowledging our missteps and mistakes and becoming better advocates and allies as a result. ... While we recognize the need to help all people learn, we want our community members of color, especially Black and brown people in our CHSS community, to know that you are supported during this time."






Maury Peiperl, dean, School of Business

"We need to take time to speak with others, to seek and share each of our voices (not only the ones that usually get the most airtime), to educate one another with empathy, and to truly listen to the stories of those around us. Not only do our stories hold power; they are central to our mission and to our collective identity, which is based in our diversity."






Khaseem Davis, director, Early Identification Program

"I believe that we are all blessed with the resolve and wisdom to navigate these turbulent times. I believe that we are able to see each other and recognize, embrace, and appreciate each other's humanity. As we continue to strive for something better, please be reassured that the Early Identification Program is committed to your success and to the continued fight for racial justice."








Robert Matz, Dean, Mason Korea

"The hope of a university such as George Mason is to be a place in which everyone can flourish with the respect and support of diverse students, faculty, and staff. George Mason’s international campus here in Korea is one expression of that hope.  We are built on the value of multicultural perspectives, global connection, and a multiethnic and multiracial community."









A message from University Libraries

"We take seriously our responsibility to the Mason community to aggressively address these societal ills by intensifying our efforts to foster a diverse, accessible, and inclusive environment. The Libraries has always been a place where all are welcome, served, and supported yet we are mindful that more could be done."



A message from the faculty and staff of the Criminology, Law and Society Department 

"We have a unique ability to inform policy and practice . . . We also have a responsibility to recognize our own privilege and to actively dismantle barriers to equal access; these are areas in which we and our academic communities have often fallen short. We must ensure that our faculty, staff, classrooms, scholarship, and service include the many voices and perspectives reflected in our diverse student body."



A message from the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education

"Allies, NOW is the time to take action. NOW is the time to have those uncomfortable conversations. NOW is the time to engage in and read about anti-racism. NOW is the time to ask, what are we doing to center people and lives that are often not included and systemically vulnerable?"