A Message From the Interim President

Office of the President

Dear Colleagues,

I, like you, have a heavy heart from witnessing the continued unfolding of brutality toward the Black community in our country.

The violent and unnecessary death of George Floyd was but one in a long string of unjustifiable attacks on Black people in this country. What happened in Minneapolis was all too similar to the killing of Eric Garner in our own city. And just this past weekend in Central Park, Amy Cooper, a white woman, exhibited her sense of entitlement and her racism when she called the police after a Black man, Christian Cooper, merely asked her to put her dog on a leash.

These incidents remind us of the long road we have to travel in creating a just society, one in which all residents, regardless of the color of their skin or their nationality, are safe and included. They also remind us of the urgency of our work as educators; creators of knowledge; and members of this unparalleled, diverse, public university. We have a responsibility to promote justice in our classes, in our scholarship, in the administration of our institution, and in our daily lives.

CUNY and The Graduate Center have a firm policy on equal opportunity and non-discrimination, which states, “Diversity, inclusion, and an environment free from discrimination are central to the mission of the University.” We remain committed to that policy and to carrying it out in all of our actions.

I am acutely aware of the trauma and vulnerability that many within our own community are experiencing. I encourage you to reach out to your colleagues. The Graduate Center has long been a place for thoughtful, open debate. And even though we are physically separated from one another due to our current public health crisis, we must continue to express ourselves and to support one another.

I am proud of The Graduate Center’s long history of fighting for social justice. Many of our most distinguished scholars have dedicated their careers to redressing injustice and inequity through their public-facing scholarship, organizing, and action.

In the past few days, members of our community have been reaching out in thoughtful ways on social media and through op-eds and interviews with the traditional media. Our classes have ended, but discussions with classmates and colleagues can still be fruitful.

For our students who are suffering, our student counseling services team is ready to help.

While I hope my words offer some solace, I know that more must be done. I will be reaching out in the coming days with further communication about steps we will take to promote healing and address the issues of injustice that affect all of us.

This is a time to apply our values, our expertise, our public mission to eradicating racism and promoting a safe and just community and society.


James Muyskens
Interim President

Submitted on: MAY 29, 2020

Category: Diversity | President's Office - Archive