A Statement from Pres. Roelofs on the Verdict in the Derek Chauvin Trial

Students gathered in the Carter G. Woodson Center to watch George Floyd murder trial verdict

Students gathered in the Carter G. Woodson Center with Kristina Gamble, Director of the Black Cultural Center, to watch the live verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty in the death of George Floyd.
(Photo: Gaston Jarju ’23)

Dear Bereans,

During the past year, the Berea College community has held a number of peaceful demonstrations focused on racial justice in the wake of the police-involved deaths of Breonna Taylor in Louisville and George Floyd in Minneapolis. Today, a jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts in the death of Mr. Floyd. For many members of our community, this verdict brings a sigh of relief. It shows that the legal system worked as it is designed to work, and that there can—and should—be accountability when members of law enforcement break the law.

In the preamble to our Great Commitments, Bereans call for peace with justice. In my view, today’s verdict represents a measure of justice for the family of Mr. Floyd and for those communities that have been denied justice for so long.

Even though we are still far from the ideal of full justice from which true peace can follow, it seems right to honor peace as we respond to this outcome.  It is the Berea way to be peaceful in our interactions with others. Justice prevailed today, and let us resolve to continue the struggle to ensure that everyone—regardless of their race, gender identity, faith or political perspective—is treated fairly and justly.  Let us show impartial love and a real commitment to peace at this important moment.

Lyle Roelofs, President
Berea College

Love Over Hate

Love Over Hate

Tragic deaths occurred last week in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas.  These evil acts are sad reminders of just how long and difficult is our nation’s journey toward peace and racial justice. I ask all Bereans to remember and raise up in prayer the victims and their loved ones and to continue to hold to our ideals in all you do, seeking peace with justice and trusting in the power of love over hate. 

Lyle Roelofs
President, Berea College

Edwin Embree, Berea Founder’s Grandson, the Focus of Article about Racial Prejudice

Edwin Embree

The racial injustices toward Japanese Americans confined in U.S. camps during World War II and one man’s efforts to help them is the focus of a recently-published article in HistPhil. Authored by historian Alfred Perkins, the story describes the role of philanthropist Edwin Embree, the grandson of Berea’s founder, John Gregg Fee, in protecting civil rights and ending discriminatory practices against citizens of Japanese ancestry, particularly those relocated from the west coast to the numerous internment camps in the central United States. Continue reading Edwin Embree, Berea Founder’s Grandson, the Focus of Article about Racial Prejudice

Diversity is in Our DNA

First published by the Louisville Courier-Journal on line March 8, 2016 and in print on March 12, 2016, the 112th Anniversary of passage of the Day Law.

by Lyle Roelofs and Linda Strong-Leek

President Lyle RoelofsSo much of the recent news about higher education has focused on campus unrest and protest about the lack of diversity in the faculty, staff and administration, and the perception that the voices of students of color are either not heard, or their particular experiences of racism are not acknowledged or addressed. Continue reading Diversity is in Our DNA


About 600 Bereans from the College campus and from the City, and many from further away, including some members of the College’s Trustees, participated in a rally on November 23 to focus on Berea’s values, such as love over hate, human dignity and equality, and peace with justice. The rally was in response to recent reports of racism and harassment in the community as an example of a shared commitment to justice and equality. The rally generated broad attention in media outlets. A few representative examples can be seen at: Continue reading #LoveOverHate

The Berea Community Stands Together Again on Monday, November 23rd

Dear Bereans,

I am writing with support from community and student groups committed to social justice to invite you to an important event to demonstrate the values of Berea College in the face of a growing number of incidents involving harassment to students of color and LGBTQ students. Continue reading The Berea Community Stands Together Again on Monday, November 23rd

Addressing Recent Incidents of Racism and Intolerance on Our Campus

Dear Berea College Students, Faculty and Staff,

Responding to incidents of drive-by racism and homophobia that have been occurring over the last several days on the roads through campus, some members of our community attended this evening’s City Council meeting to express grave concern.  The Administrative Committee has also decided to make a statement regarding these incidents.  We share it with you below and will be submitting it to the Berea Citizen for publication as well. Continue reading Addressing Recent Incidents of Racism and Intolerance on Our Campus