Political Science Statement on Racial Injustice, Racism, and Creating a More Inclusive Learning Environment

We stand with President and Interim Chancellor Choi’s statement about the racially motivated injustices and tragedies in Minneapolis, Georgia, and elsewhere. George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are the most recent names that express the injustice of our criminal justice system and the persistence of racism in American society. We affirm that Black lives matter.

 

As a department, we are looking inward and are committed to doing better by our Black students and colleagues. We have read the social media thread #BlackatMizzou on Twitter and Instagram, and we acknowledge the realities faced by our Black students.

 

We have a responsibility to better support our Black students and colleagues and to provide a more supportive and inclusive learning environment. This statement is just a beginning.  This summer and fall, we will be taking the following specific steps that will be the start of a continuation of efforts to improve:

 

  • We pledge to better educate ourselves about racism and discrimination in the classroom. This fall, the Political Science faculty and teaching assistants will discuss how we can make our classrooms more inclusive through faculty discussions, diversity training, and workshops. To the greatest extent possible, the efforts to improve our courses and the major in this regard will be guided by the voices of Black students and alumni.

 

  • In cooperation with the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy and the Black Studies Department, we are regularly offering a course called “Race and the American Story” that engages questions about race in American political thought to build community and educate for citizenship. 

 

  • We are working on revising our syllabi for all of our courses to ensure that we provide students with knowledge about the importance of equality in political thought; how government, politics and public policy have decreased, as well as increased, equality for all underrepresented groups; and how people without traditional access to political power have made the world a more just place through their political activism.

 

  • We will continue to conduct research that contributes to a political system that enhances equality. To highlight this work, we will soon add a link on the department website to relevant research and publications.

 

Finally, we want all students to know that we are listening to your concerns and to encourage you to reach out to us when we fall short of your expectations for creating an inclusive experience for students at Mizzou (politicialscience@missouri.edu).