Statement on the verdict in the George Floyd murder trial from Pres. Wintersteen; SVPs Wickert, Younger, and Cain; and VP Stewart

April 20, 2021


Dear Iowa State Community,

The Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis ended today with the jury’s unanimous verdict of guilty on all three charges in the murder of George Floyd.

The weeks and months that preceded today’s verdict have been difficult and traumatic for many in our community, as headlines mounted of other Black lives lost, incidents of racially charged violence and raw emotions, along with scenes of families and communities in anguish. Around the world, George Floyd’s death has reverberated, causing many people and communities to stop and examine this tragic moment more fully and seek pathways to healing and reform.

In the faces of many of our students, faculty and staff, especially those of color, we have seen the hurt, anguish and pain of dealing with these incidents. Their feelings are rooted in the recognition that this possibly could have been their father, mother, brother or sister — or even themselves. Many have told us that the weight of processing it all has been emotionally exhausting. Their fears are real and their pain is real.

We encourage you to show your compassion toward all members of our community and our country. Our feelings and thoughts of healing are especially with our Black students, faculty and staff on campus and the Black community in the City of Ames and beyond. We also keep in our thoughts the entire Twin Cities community, especially as residents relive last year’s trauma through the death of Daunte Wright.

Each of us will process today’s verdict and its aftermath according to our lived experiences. We fervently hope that what happens next brings us closer to peace and healing, and a betterment of the collective good. We hope what comes next brings us closer to greater understanding of the challenges that remain to be overcome.

Especially under these incredibly challenging times, Iowa State University remains committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for every single person. We look to our Principles of Community to strengthen our resolve, reminding us of our aspirational values that make possible empathy, cooperation and respect.

Let us take this moment to recommit ourselves to what unites us here at Iowa State in common humanity, while condemning what is hateful, racist and divisive. Many Cyclones may struggle with fears and anxieties. Know that we, and members of our community, stand with you and will support you.


Wendy Wintersteen  


Jonathan Wickert 

Senior Vice
President and Provost 

Toyia Younger 

Senior Vice President for
Student Affairs 

Pam Cain 

Senior Vice
President for Operations and Finance 

Reg Chhen Stewart

Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion