As we head into the weekend, we want each of you to know that our community is here for you as we collectively reel from and grieve the tragic death of George Floyd. Violence against black communities lives in our history, and racial injustices perpetuate today. This behavior is unacceptable and leaves us concerned for the emotional and physical well-being of our students, staff and faculty.
While we are committed to a more inclusive and equitable society, we have a long way to go and encourage all to speak up and speak out for justice. Today’s announcement of the arrest of one of the police officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death is one step in a path to justice. There are many more required. We encourage everyone to contact their elected officials to ensure a thorough investigation of this police officer and the other officers involved. In the meantime, we are writing to share a few updates.
First, our School of Law’s Criminal and Juvenile Defense Clinic is offering assistance to protesters involved in the demonstrations that have taken place in Minneapolis and St. Paul. For those unfamiliar, the Criminal and Juvenile Defense Clinic represents youth and adult defendants who may otherwise by unable to afford legal representation. The clinic may be able to represent individuals charged with petty offenses, misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors and juvenile delinquency in connection with the protests surrounding Mr. Floyd’s death. We are encouraging individuals who have been charged with these types of non-felony offenses to call (651) 962-4960 for additional information. Please spread the word.
Secondly, many of you have likely seen that Gov. Walz has instituted an 8 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew for Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding areas for tonight and Saturday night. All of our resident students remaining on campus in St. Paul are advised to remain in their residence halls until the curfew lifts each morning. We also are strongly advising our community members in the surrounding areas to obey the curfew order.
Finally, we know many of you are wondering about the status of our own campus community. Both our St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses avoided any direct damage over the past two nights. There was damage to retail establishments in the surrounding area, including one near the south side of our St. Paul campus. As a reminder, any St. Thomas community members in surrounding areas of our campuses who are feeling unsafe can contact our Department of Public Safety for around-the-clock assistance at (651) 962-5555 (for emergencies) or (651) 962-5100 (for non-emergencies). After-hours phone counseling is also available for all university community members by calling the Center for Well-Being at (651) 962-6750 and selecting option 4.
Thank you for your continued support of one another in our collective fight for justice for all.