Statement by John J. “Ski” Sygielski, MBA, Ed.D., president and CEO of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College
The dignity, humanity and worth of George Floyd’s life have been affirmed by the jury’s verdict of guilty of two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the ex-police officer charged with Floyd's murder.
This verdict is not a cause for celebration, although there is relief that some justice has been served. Rather, this verdict is a renewed call for reflection on the dignity and rights of all human beings no matter the color of their skin, ethnicity, gender identity, ability, sexual orientation or religious beliefs. This verdict is also a renewed call for action to eradicate racism and white supremacy.
I join members of the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community and allies in calling for greater transparency and accountability by police in their interactions with people of color, especially men and boys of color.
Although this outcome represents a step in the right direction, we recognize that this has been and continues to be a traumatizing time for our employees and students – especially those of color. Over the coming days and weeks, we at HACC will provide safe spaces and accommodations for any College employee who may need to share space and process this trial and forthcoming trials in community with others. For more information about available resources, students and employees are invited to visit hacc.edu/HereForYou.
Therefore, we need to show support for students and employees who have their safety and dignity threatened regularly. Being a concerned HACC colleague is about showing up and saying something, so speak up for what is right. Please reach out to those you know are hurting and let them know you are there for them. We also need to continue to educate ourselves in better understanding our own biases and the long history of race-based injustices in our nation.
As HACC’s president and as a human being, I want to again make it very clear: HACC will NEVER tolerate acts of racism against any of our community members. In support of our core values, we need to be united in saying no more to racism and white supremacy. We must renew our efforts in being united in the promotion of belongingness, civility, engagement, inclusion and social justice – not only within the HACC community but within the communities in which we live.
For previous messages to the community, please visit our website.
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, is the first and largest of Pennsylvania’s 15 community colleges. HACC offers approximately 100 career and transfer associate degree, certificate and diploma programs to approximately 17,000 students. Also, the College serves students at its Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York campuses; through virtual learning; and via workforce development and continuing education training. For more information on how HACC is uniquely YOURS, visit hacc.edu. Also, follow us on Twitter (@HACC_info), follow us on Instagram (@HACC_edu), like us on Facebook (Facebook.com/HACC64) and use #HACCNews.