School of Communication Director Mike Slater, PhD, in collaboration with the School’s Diversity Committee and Executive Committee, released the following statement in response to protests in Columbus, Ohio, and nationwide following the most recent police killing of an unarmed Black citizen, George Floyd:
Many communities in America and around the world, including Columbus, Ohio, are the scenes of continued protest and outrage in response to the most recent police killing of an unarmed Black citizen, George Floyd. We recognize that this tragedy adds to the long history of racial injustice and violence against persons of color in this country. Faculty, staff and students in the School of Communication share in outrage at this cold-blooded killing. It is a painful reminder that racism remains pervasive throughout our society.
The School of Communication, as our diversity statement underscores, regards diversity as a positive asset within the School and society. We are committed to the principles of equal opportunity and personal respect, and doing what is in our power to ensure the School itself remains a welcoming and inclusive community. At this difficult time, we as a School must reaffirm these commitments, and recognize and correct the ways in which we may fall short of our own values.
We must also commit to working as scholars, teachers, and practitioners of communication and journalism to address the continuing scourge of racism. Among our School's community are scholars who examine representations of race in media, and how we might combat misinformation. We have instructors who help students understand the power of the media to stereotype and divide, or to educate and heal; classes that study communication practices between people and within organizations that respect and bridge differences.
We appreciate and value the perspectives and experiences that our students of color bring to the classroom, to student associations and to other School activities. We stand with our student journalists and other media professionals—including journalists of color—around this country and the world who risk and have suffered assault, pepper spray and unjust arrest to report on protests, police misconduct and other controversial matters of policy, politics, justice and equality.
These are extraordinarily challenging and difficult times, in which we are confronting a heritage of racism in the midst of a pandemic, an economic crisis and a deeply polarizing election. It is up to us to rise to these challenges, and do what is in our power to make the School and our society more inclusive, just and responsive.
View a printer-friendly copy of the School of Communication statement