A message from President Hatch

Dear Wake Forest community,

Today, local law enforcement released video footage related to the death of John Neville, and our community is once again hurting as we grieve anew the loss of Mr. Neville, another Black man who died of injuries suffered while in law enforcement custody. Our hearts go out to the Neville family who, for the past eight months, has endured deep sadness and anguish as they have mourned their father and sought answers for justice. I express my condolences to the Neville family and our broader community.

As an institution, we understand that we have few answers or solutions to offer Mr. Neville’s family, but we also realize the importance of speaking out against the practices that led to Mr. Neville’s death and speaking up for the infinite dignity of Black lives, people of color and our indigenous neighbors.

To our students, staff, faculty, alumni, and those who care about Wake Forest University, let me be clear: I expect our police and security professionals to apply a community-policing approach to all of their interactions on our campus. Building upon a long-standing commitment to training on implicit bias and fair and impartial policing, Chief Regina Lawson has made me aware that the Wake Forest University Police Department had already planned two bias education refresher sessions with Dr. Bryant Marks of the National Training Institute on Race and Equity scheduled for the last week of August with every member of our police department and members of the Police Advisory Board.

With the fall semester a few weeks away, we must remain focused on the necessary work of confronting racism in our country. Though there is much to do in preparing for our educational mission, we must not let the pandemic distract us from the ongoing work of dismantling white supremacy in all its forms through peaceful and non-violent means.

With hope and resolve,

Nathan O. Hatch

Categories: Letters