The killing of George Floyd, choked to death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, has seared the conscience of the nation. It demands a response, for our country must do better.

Higher education has an important role to play in helping America learn from this tragedy. Among other responsibilities, its criminal justice programs must provide training that emphasizes guardianship alongside law enforcement. 

Higher education must always remain a forum where new ideas, however bold, however unconventional, can be heard and evaluated. As passions run high, it is the university where reason and intellectual integrity should show us the way forward. Campus leaders, modeling the skills of deliberation, open discourse, and empathy, can help solve these complex social problems and mend our society. This is the engagement that will ensure that our colleges and universities remain central to our national consciousness and civic leadership.

Michael B. Poliakoff, Ph.D. is the President of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.


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