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Statement from the Department

Photo by Alec Torres

The Department of Political Science adds our collective voice in expressing grief and outrage over the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the countless other Black people in this country. We stand with Black students, staff, and faculty in this moment of mourning and of action. Ongoing acts of police violence and murder demonstrate a fundamental challenge to the realization of democracy in the United States. This nation, which was built on Black slavery, native genocide, and imperial expansion has that legacy deeply embedded in its institutions, practices, and political culture. That state violence by police has proven persistently impervious to attempts at reform should be of grave concern to anyone interested in the study of politics.

We also want to express our full support of the mass protest movement involving hundreds of thousands of people across the United States right now. As political scientists we know, passionate and often disruptive social movements have played a fundamental role in producing durable political changes in the United States, from the American Revolution itself through the struggle to abolish slavery, from militant suffragists to the strikers who gave us basic labor protections, from the Greensboro lunch-counter sit-ins to the Stonewall Riot. We also know that protest movements themselves provide a civic education to those involved. We condemn further police assaults on those mostly young people fighting for a world free of racist state violence and violation.

As educators and political scientists, we also recognize the role that disciplines and institutions play in perpetuating anti-blackness, and we commit to the ongoing work of creating spaces that decenter and dismantle white privilege and white supremacy in our classrooms and within our discipline as a whole. Our Equity and Inclusion Committee is working on specific action items to recommend to the department in the coming days.

Below are some resources for students.


Movement for Black Lives

Black Lives Matters

African American Policy forum

Western States Center


Readings on this moment:

Deva Woodley, “An American Reckoning.”

Keeanga-Yahmatta Taylor, “Of Course There are Protests. The State is Failing Black People.”

Kihana Miraya Ross, “Call it What it is: Anti-Blackness.”

Marshall Project collection of links on Police Abolition

Free downloadable books on police violence

Free ‘Readings for Racial Justice’ by University of Minnesota Press



The Black Cultural Center offers resources and support.

The UO Counseling Center offers teletherapy for students in Oregon, Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, and Texas (as well as in-person appointments).

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