A message from President Pappas on recent events

Davenport Community,

We are aware that the city of Grand Rapids is grappling with an officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. We extend our sincerest condolences to Patrick’s family, friends, and the broader Congolese community during this painful time.

Over the last few days, we have witnessed peaceful demonstrations asking for greater transparency. Yesterday, the Grand Rapids Police Department held a press conference that included video footage from the April 4 incident. While we still don’t know the full circumstances of this event, we do know that this tragic loss of life and the release of traumatic images has reignited strong emotions across our community.

This incident serves as a difficult reminder of the frustrations and tensions surrounding experiences of race and policing. We acknowledge that this situation may be uncovering old sources of pain for some and creating new sources of pain for others. As we navigate the road ahead, let us be a campus community that extends empathy, compassion, and respect to each other during these challenging moments.

Creating space to process and grieve is important. We want to encourage you to reach out for support if you are feeling overwhelmed. We have free resources available to you through my.davenport.edu and davenport.edu/dei.

Dr. Richard J. Pappas
President, Davenport University