Commitment to dismantle systems of oppression

The University of Nevada, Reno Department of Political Science recognizes the importance of responding to the urgent calls for action during these difficult times. Some members of our University and community are, and have long been, living in a hostile and dangerous environment due to the inequities and racism that persist in our society. Recently, the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and the violence against protestors that occurred in many places have underscored that racism remains a very serious problem and a pernicious daily threat to Black Americans in particular. We affirm our commitment to and support for affected members of our campus community — graduate and undergraduate students, staff and faculty. We urge everyone to listen to the voices of our Black student leaders and other members of the Black community.

The murder of George Floyd should make everyone determined to stamp out once and for all the long history of state and societal violence against Black Americans and other people of color in the U.S. This history represents a long-standing pattern of repression and human rights violations against Black Americans, Native Americans and other people of color in the long-standing experiment that is our republic. Human rights are based on the unqualified dignity and respect to which all people are entitled; for far too long, people of color in our country have been denied these fundamental principles of human rights. To become a nation that takes seriously its avowed principles of equality and justice, it is essential that everyone respect the dignity and humanity of all people of color. As the recent killings of Black Americans terribly underscore, equality and justice cannot be achieved when it is denied to so many. We condemn racism in all its forms and call for policies and actions to rid the country and our communities of the structural inequalities that have plagued it for much too long.

At the same time, we condemn state violence directed at peaceful demonstrators. The roots of peaceful civil political and social discourse are in views being freely expressed, while recognizing that the voices of dissent and opposition hold a special place as the major drivers of change in our country and around the world. Those peaceful voices must never be met with state violence and repression that strips people of their rights and dignity for expressing dissent in the face of force and intimidation. The University of Nevada, Reno Department of Political Science recognizes and values the importance of voice and dissent to the vitality of our democratic experiment.

The faculty, staff and students of our department have had a long-standing commitment to the goals of diversity, equity and inclusiveness. Working with the administration, we can do better. We will continue to examine our curriculum, pedagogy, hiring practices and mentoring protocols in light of this commitment and to undertake further work toward achieving these goals. Prior to the state hiring freeze, we had proposed and received tentative approval for a position in Race and Ethnic Politics in America that we will pursue as soon as the administration can authorize it; we also had planned a full curriculum review in the Fall 2020; we are developing a diversity, equity and inclusion committee. We are also planning a series of public events in Fall 2020 bringing our scholarship to bear on linkages between race, power, governance, social injustice and oppression. We recognize our responsibility to help dismantle systems of oppression and work towards the realization of a more informed and just society.