As members of the Sociology Department’s executive committee (department chair and chairs of standing committees), we recognize the recent statements made at the Disarm PSU event (beginning around min 44:30) as an opportunity to clarify the department’s commitment to correcting past injustices. The Sociology Department must do better. The short- and long-term goals listed below affirm explicitly and in solidarity our intention for sociology faculty, in collaboration with students and staff, to do the work to become an anti-racist academic unit.
In the short term, the executive committee of the Sociology Department commits to the following action items:
- Creating a plan for diversifying course readings in all sociology courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels to include more scholarship by and about people of color.
- Ensuring that all full-time faculty and staff participate in anti-racism training in the fall of 2020.
- Hiring a professional mediator to work with faculty and staff on communication dynamics within the department so that we can build trust among faculty, staff, and students.
- Creating a standing departmental committee on racial justice that will review revised course syllabi, create new spaces for students and faculty to come together to think critically about inequalities, and to lead efforts toward longer and more systemic changes within the department.
In the long term, the executive committee commits to the development of a more specific an anti-racist strategic plan that attends to the needs of our students of color, includes mechanisms of accountability, and that requires changes to our policies, programs, and departmental practices so that they may move us closer to a larger commitment to dismantling racism and ethnic oppression within all aspects of our academic unit, college, university, and community.