Department statement on equality and justice

June 10, 2020

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police, along with the loss of too many other Black lives, has thrown the country into turmoil and has served as a vivid reminder that inequality, injustice, and bias continue to be facts of everyday life and, in too many cases, lead to death. These events touch on issues that are central to our democracy and important to the discipline of political science. Although it is unusual for this department to take a formal position on the pressing political issues of the day, recent events suggest that we are at a critical juncture in American history and, combined with the unprecedented Covid-19 epidemic, make ongoing issues of racial discrepancies all the more pressing.

The department is unified in its rejection of acts of violence and discrimination and in its condemnation of police brutality. We recognize that we all have a role in contributing to racial inequality, and a duty to combat it.  As social scientists, we believe that we see the world less clearly when some voices are excluded.  While we recognize the importance of diversity and equitable treatment in our intellectual pursuits, we acknowledge that we do not always live up to our best ideals on these issues, and that we must work harder to do so. Now is a critical moment to reaffirm that unity and commitment, to stand in solidarity with members of our department and our community who are affected by racism or other forms of discrimination, and to redouble our efforts to advance knowledge about inequality and bias with the hope of reducing their pernicious effects.

We are aware that statements such as this are symbolic and must be coupled with meaningful, sustained action. Communications will follow this statement that will discuss practical steps that the department is taking and plans to take to address bias and inequitable treatment.  

We welcome suggestions and ideas from all students and faculty in the department on how we can know better and do better.