MSU Political Science department statement condemning racism and anti-Black violence

June 7, 2020

From: The Department of Political Science

To: Members of the Spartan Political Science community

We write at a time of historic political and social uncertainty and fear in our state and our country. The recent brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, David McAtee, and Ahmaud Aubrey have shocked the nation and our community. Those killings of Black people, police impunity in the Black community and the massive public protests that followed forced us all to acknowledge, yet again, the pervasive racism that remains a fact of life for many Americans.

We stand in support of our Black students, faculty, staff, and members of the community and join the College of Social Science and Michigan State University in condemning the racism and anti-Black violence that permeates the spaces we share.

We are inspired by those who express their rights to free speech, assembly, petition and press to fight against inequality and racism, and push for social change. They call us to better understand our own actions and inaction, and proactively address the hurdles that Black Americans face, including in our own department and university.

Racism injures many and corrupts all of us. We commit ourselves to doing the work that is required for change at MSU, in our home state of Michigan and in our nation. We aim to do this through our teaching, research, service and outreach missions. During the 2020-21 academic year, our department will fund programs to feature research and policy practitioners who are advancing our understanding of race relations, overpolicing and racial justice. We have initiated formal and informal conversations with our students and will continue to do so throughout the year. Standing department committees will also investigate best practices for proactively taking account of our own actions and inaction and make plans to address systemic racial inequities.

 However, we must do more to understand the experience of Black Americans and swiftly address racist incidents in our midst. Recognizing the long-standing consequences of systemic and institutional racism in the political and academic spheres, we will work to dismantle these structures—especially where they remain in our own institution—and we commit to undergraduate and graduate training, mentorship, and support to uplift all of our students. Finally, and most importantly, we must listen to our Black students, faculty and staff to develop further concrete plans for building an inclusive and anti-racist academic community and devote our resources and time to enacting these plans. 

 Below are campus resources for our students, faculty, staff, and community members. We will keep engaged with these campus resources and continue to update our response to unfolding events and conversations with each other.       

·       MSU Black Students’ Alliance:

·       Office of Institutional Equity:

·       MSU Multicultural student organizations:

·       Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions:

·       Counseling and Psychiatric Services: