Letters to the UMB Community

Statement on the Beating and Death of Tyre Nichols

January 30, 2023

Dear UMB Community,
On Friday, footage was released of Tyre Nichols, an unarmed Black man, being brutally beaten by police officers Jan. 7 in Memphis, Tenn., leading to his death three days later. We offer our deepest condolences to the Nichols family. Mr. Nichols’ inhumane death brings up trauma, rage, sadness, and frustration with the violence and the dehumanization of Black life in our society. It also follows so many other terrible and unnecessary deaths, such as the killings of Freddie Gray, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
Although there has been swift disciplinary action for the officers, including disbanding the unit to which they belonged, the disregard for life is still painful. When we see these images and videos of suffering, abuse, and violence against Black people, we see family members, friends, neighbors, our communities, and, for many, ourselves. We are deeply saddened and hope that as a University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) community, we will support each other with compassion and kindness.
Although we have said it before, it bears repeating: As a UMB community, we denounce acts of violence, hatred, and oppression, and we commit to living out our core values sets of Respect and Integrity, and Equity and Justice. Black lives matter. We stand in solidarity with members of our Black community and all victims of violence and hate. We affirm our commitment to building a more just, equitable, anti-racist, and peaceful society.
Please extend grace to your colleagues, students, and employees as horrific events like Mr. Nichols’ death can take a toll on well-being. Consistent with our core values, let us be empathetic and flexible with those who are deeply affected and may need some time and space to process and grieve. To anyone who feels overwhelmed, angry, or anxious, or needs any type of support, please know that you are not alone. UMB is here and has resources to support you, including the Student Counseling Center and the Employee Assistance Program. Resources also are available from the Intercultural Center and the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, to learn more about systemic and structural oppression, and to provide community and support.
Let us continue to lead and work toward justice and a society that respects and values the humanity and dignity of every human being. Through our work, research, service, activism, engagement, and collaborative efforts, we believe that vision of humanity is possible.

The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will host two virtual forums to be in community Jan. 31 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m, and an in-person session Wed. Feb. 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in ELM Room 210 B.


Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS

Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, MA
Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer and Vice President, UMB, and Professor, Graduate School

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