June 12, 2020
The faculty and staff in the Department of Political Science at Lehigh University stand with the Movement for Black Lives, and we affirm that Black Lives Matter. We are participating in this moment with sorrow for the lives taken--Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and too many others. We also envision hope in the multiracial coalition of people out in the streets across the world who are speaking out and demanding change.
In this moment of mobilization, we remember that the work of the university is not separate from the world in which we inhabit. What we study and learn together directly shapes our politics. In this moment, we recommit to bringing all our knowledge and resources to center anti-racist practices. As political scientists we conduct research that:
● Examines the role of Black political incorporation and public oversight of police in reducing lethal force;
● Identifies successful strategies to desegregate schools;
● Studies how protest politics1 emerge and shape public policy;
● Analyzes the racial solidarity in the Global South;
● Documents the experiences of racialized migrants;
● Examines class conflict and economic inequality;
● Studies right wing parties, populism, and related ideologies;
● Considers intersectionality and its challenge to progressive politics; and
● Proposes environmental policymaking that won’t disproportionately burden racial minorities.
In our classes we are learning how to deploy more inclusive pedagogies and offer courses that engage with vital topics such as: Residential Segregation, Social Movements, Inequality, Race in America, Environmental Justice, Intersectionality, Propaganda, Ideology, Imperialism, Global Race Relations, and more. In the discussions we have with students in our courses, we learn from and with them, and we are committed to cultivating an intellectual community that centers our shared humanity. We acknowledge gaps in our course offerings and are in discussions about offering new course(s) related to human rights and resistance movements by historically oppressed groups. Our department supports students working with local nonprofit organizations and government agencies as a way to create a more democratic and just world. These are opportunities to learn about constructive, ethical approaches to community engagement, and we encourage our students and faculty members to view partnerships with community residents through a lens of mutuality and respect. We work to empower all students on campus to make their voices heard at the ballot box, by providing information on federal, state, and local candidates, as well as on how to register to vote, obtain mail-in or absentee ballots, and find the appropriate polling place on election day.
1Routledge plans to make Rebellion in America free to the public to promote civic literacy regarding racism and mass movements.
We have been inspired by the important perspectives offered by #BlackInTheIvory and continue to gain insights from #WhiteKeepingTheIvory. It is clear that we have a lot of work to do. As a department we can do more to amplify the voices of our colleagues who have been marginalized, reassess how we determine the quality of scholarship, improve hiring and promotion practices, and support our BIPOC faculty, staff, and students. We support the creation of Lehigh’s Institute for Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (ICRES) to give meaning to the Principles of Our Equitable Community. Moving forward, we will dedicate time during department meetings and gatherings to learn more about actions we can collectively take to dismantle white supremacy. We commit to continuing to learn how we can do more to support Black lives in our department, our campus, and our communities. We are listening, learning, and we are speaking out. We also understand that we need to work with each other and take action against white supremacy, fight for educational equity, and pursue health equity.