Time to Act: A Message from Dean Chris Guthrie

As lawyers, we aspire to uphold the rule of law, ensure equal treatment for all and protect individual rights. In recent days, we have seen how far we are from our aspirations. We are called to close that gap.

The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and countless others form part of a long and tragic history of racial violence and injustice. It has been painful for all of us to witness these tragedies, but I know that it has been particularly difficult for our students, alumni, staff and faculty of color, particularly the Black and African-American members of our community. Our BLSA chapter issued a powerful statement that speaks to this anguish.

My heart, like yours, goes out to all who have been affected by these atrocities, and I know you join me in condemning the hatred, fear and racism that lie beneath.

As lawyers, words are our stock in trade, so we know how much words matter. And they do. But actions matter more, and it is time for us to act. As an initial step, I have created a faculty task force to explore the role that faculty can play in enhancing racial justice, and I will work with BLSA, other student groups and staff to do the same.

I am confident that our community has the energy, creativity and resolve to address the challenges that confront us, and I commit that we will take actions in the coming weeks, months and years that will make you proud of your Vanderbilt Law School.



Critical Incident Message – Statement on the death of George Floyd