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Dean Ruger’s statement to the community responding to killing of Walter Wallace

October 28, 2020

Dean Ted Ruger addresses the Law School community regarding the killing of a local West Philadelphian, Walter Wallace.

Dear Penn Law Community,

The killing of Walter Wallace, Jr. in our own West Philadelphia backyard this week is a stark reminder that our country’s reckoning with racial injustice has only just begun. Every life lost to anti-Black violence matters, but Walter Wallace was our neighbor, and his death just a few minutes away from our campus is particularly devastating. I extend my deepest condolences to the Wallace family, our West Philadelphia friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues, as well as to all whose lives are touched by anti-Black violence not just today, but far too often. Mr. Wallace’s death and the resulting unrest on our streets serve as a somber reminder for us to even more deeply embrace our efforts to build a more inclusive Law School and to take seriously our responsibility to be a leader in promoting equity and justice beyond our campus.

In July, I announced the many ways in which the Law School will continue to work to support its community through expanded racial justice programming and affirmative steps toward an anti-racist future. Next week we will share additional steps we have taken to increase support for students and diversity initiatives; expand programing and courses about critical matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and review our campus to ensure that we are not unduly honoring those who have laid the bricks on which systemic racism rests comfortably today.

I am grateful to all of you for your persistent dedication to equity and justice and look forward to continuing our work to building a just and anti-racist future.

Dean Ruger