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We will be more than just a bystander following the death of George Floyd says University of Gloucestershire

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 04 June 2020 10:45

The video message from vice chancellor Steve Marston is somber, understated and British in its tone, but it is strong and clear – the University of Gloucestershire will act following the death of George Floyd. 

News and social media channels have barely left the story of how Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died at the hands of police offices in his home town of city of Minneapolis in the USA. 

His death, filmed on a by-standers phone and posted on-line, led to widespread outrage, condemnation and sparked protests, riots and a show of solidarity that spread outside America, manifesting itself in the UK not least in the campaign ‘Black Lives Matter. 

Pictured: Stephen Marston, courtesy of Cheltenham creative communications agency Mighty.

Speaking to camera in measured tones which contrast starkly with the emotional outpourings of grief and anger many have been unable to contain Mr Marston was clear - the University of Gloucestershire intends to be ‘more than just a bystander’. 

“There is much more the university needs to do,” said he said, picking up on the protestors refrain ‘I can’t breathe’, Mr Floyd’s last words as police held him down beside his car. 

“We need to ensure that everyone in our community can breathe, not be constrained by other people’s assumptions. 

“Not held down and restricted by other people’s stereotypes and prejudices and supported, fully supported – to achieve their own individual dreams and ambitions. 

“We are not just bystanders here. This is about our community as well. If good can come out of this let it be in our renewed commitment that in our community will value on another.”

A statement from the university repeated some of the words: “The University of Gloucestershire supports and stands with our students and staff who have been left feeling hurt, distressed and angry by the situation surrounding the death of George Floyd. 

“Building on the great work of our BAME network, we will now redouble our own efforts to ensure that our community cares for and values all our students and staff. 

“We welcome diversity as a source of our strength.”  

Over the coming days and weeks the university said it would be “sharing updates on how the University of Gloucestershire intends to be more than just a bystander, through a renewed commitment to diversity and a proactive approach to real and lasting change”.