The members of the Graduate Program of the Department of Political Science are deeply saddened and appalled by the racist killings of African-American citizens. We condemn in the strongest terms the deaths of Elijah McClain (in nearby Aurora), George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others at the hands of current or former police officers. Unfortunately, these names are just a few examples of a much broader problem: Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police officers than White men in the U.S. These Black lives matter, and these racist killings must end.

The tragedies are part of a broader pattern and history of systemic racism in the U.S. African Americans face disadvantages in schooling opportunities, in health outcomes, in employment, and so on. As experts on politics and policy, we urge our university administrators, our local and state governments, and our federal government to enact evidence-based improvements to policing in America, including measures that would reverse the militarization of police forces and hold police offenders more accountable.

We also commit ourselves to bringing awareness of the history and challenges of racism to our hiring, teaching, recruitment, and research practices. Finally, we commit to taking steps in our teaching, our research and in our roles as members of the university community to work towards addressing racial injustice.