USC leadership released several statements over the weekend, as President Carol Folt, Athletic Director Mike Bohn and Head Football Coach Clay Helton addressed the Trojan community and USC student-athletes as nationwide protests continue in Los Angeles as well as many major American cities following the May 25 death of George Floyd.
President Folt’s letter was addressed to the Trojan community.
“I write today, hoping you and your families are well and safe, yet knowing that many of you are not; your hearts are aching, and you are searching for answers, actions, and hope,” Folt’s letter began.
“Many of you have told me that you are feeling sad, angry, desperate and despairing as you face such grave injustices and the escalation of tensions, and you are trying to find a way forward.
“It weighs heavily on all of us. But we are Trojans, united as a university dedicated to the fundamental principles of equality and inclusion, education, and discovery for the good of humanity. We can make a positive difference, as we have for more than 100 years.”
Folt referenced this moment as “our call to action,” and concluded: “We recognize the need for continued conversations around policing, and our chief of the USC Department of Public Safety will be partnering with our campus and broader community to find collective answers to persistent inequities. We will engage you to break down silos that separate us, encourage thoughtful debate, and protect the dignity of every individual in our community. Together, we will stand for justice and embrace a culture of respect for all.”
Bohn’s message was one he sent to all USC student-athletes.
“I’m reaching out to you tonight to let you know that I’m thinking about you, as are our athletic department coaches and staff members who find such immense pride and joy in empowering you to be all that you can be,” Bohn addressed the Trojan student-athletes.
“In our most difficult times, it’s important to remind ourselves and each other of the guiding principles and values that unite us,” Bohn said. “I want to emphasize that our departments of athletics is wholly committed to fostering a community that embraces diversity and is inclusive of individuals from all backgrounds and identities.”
“If there’s anything I’ve learned from you in my first six months as your athletic director it’s that there’s no family like the Trojan Family. Let’s rally together and fight as one–for justice and equality and against all forms of hatred and intolerance wherever they are–as only Trojans can.”
Helton’s statement came on Saturday, a day before those from Folt and Bohn, and as many coaches from prominent football programs were releasing statements.
“The tragic deaths of George Floyd and others to unjust, senseless acts have torn at the very heart of our country,” Helton said. “In our past, there have been tipping points that have altered the course of history and forced change to create a brighter future. Now is a time for change. This is not the time for us to shy away from discussion, but to allow the voices of Americans to be heard everywhere in an appropriate manner. I believe we can all be leaders;Every Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, Son, and Daughter. We need to support one another and create change together, collectively as one cohesive unit.”