Truman School Statement on Racial Injustice

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During the last several weeks, the injustice toward the Black community has once again come into sharp relief.  The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are only some of the most recent examples of the injustice experienced by Black people in the United States.  We affirm the statement by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration on behalf of its member accredited Schools. We stand against systematic racism and systemic injustice against Black people in the United States.  We stand for human dignity and social justice for all, and we affirm that Black lives matter.

As a school devoted to promoting the values of public service and good governance, we will do more through our teaching and research to eradicate racial injustice not only in criminal law enforcement, but in wealth, educational opportunity, access to healthcare and housing, community investment, employment, and all other aspects of our society.  Not only has the marginalization and mistreatment of members of the Black community persisted nationally, but here in our own university, as we learned through the students giving voice to these problems through #BlackatMizzou. As we read through these poignant and disturbing instances of bias and discrimination happening in our midst, we are reminded of the need for continual diligence in the fight against racism at Mizzou.  We will do better. 

It is clear these issues need to be at the top of the public policy agenda. It is incumbent on the Truman School to remain vigilant in ensuring all of our students can learn in an open, inclusive, and safe environment. In educating future public servants, the Truman School also has a role to play in ensuring our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to dismantle structural racism and promote inclusion, diversity, and equality in our institutions and policies.

In order to ensure we do our part to effect sorely needed positive change, the Truman School faculty and staff pledge to do the following:

  • Better educate ourselves about racism and discrimination in the classroom and how we can improve by participating in programming and workshops offered by our professional associations and the MU Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Office. We will also seek input from our Black students and alumni.
  • Redouble our efforts to ensure discussion of these important issues is incorporated into our syllabi through assignments and woven into classroom discussions. This year, faculty will work to add into our courses more topics and readings that focus on diversity, equity, and injustice within public policy and administration.
  • Raise awareness of these issues among students by incorporating additional training and activities into our professional development programming, for students, faculty, and staff.  For example, this fall we are including in our professional development activities guided discussions with faculty, staff, and students of readings that provide insight into the role of race/ethnicity in society that help us to develop an understanding of diverse perspectives.
  • Continue to conduct research that enhances equality in public management and public policy. For example, faculty in the Truman School have recently published research on topics such as the cumulative effects of public and private fees on wealth inequality; on food insecurity among immigrant populations; on Black people’s attitudes toward automation in law enforcement, and on equality in health and education policy.[i]
  • Continue to work toward a more inclusive environment that is welcoming to diverse faculty.

The intergenerational effects of racial discrimination have created systemic, interconnected, and complex problems. A concentrated and holistic effort by government, and society as a whole, is necessary to build a more just nation and create true equal opportunity for all. The Truman School is eager to be a part of moving our nation forward in these efforts.

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[i] Arteaga, Irma, Stephanie Potochnick, and Sarah Parsons. “Decomposing the Household Food Insecurity Gap for Children of U.S.-Born and Foreign-Born Hispanics: Evidence from 1998 and 2011.” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health (2017): 1-9; Fergus, DevinLand of the Fee. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2019); Goodman, J., Gurantz, Oded., Smith J. “Take Two! SAT Retaking and College Enrollment Gaps.” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, (2020): 12(2). Miller, Susan and Lael Keiser.  "Representative Bureaucracy and Attitudes Toward Automated Decision-Making." Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. (2020) https://doi.org/10.1093/jopart/muaa019; Monarrez, Tomas.  Kisida, Brian., & Chingos, Mathew. (2019). “Do Charter Schools Increase Segregation?” Education Next (2019); Parsons, Eric, Cory Koedel, and Li Tan “Accounting for Student Disadvantage in Value-Added Models.” Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics. (forthcoming); Thorsen M, McGarvey RG, Thorsen A, “Diabetes management at community health centers: Examining associations with patient and regional characteristics, efficiency, and staffing patterns.”, Social Science & Medicine (2020) 255, 113017.