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College Conversations

Special police forces on duty during demonstrationAs a college and institution of higher learning, it is our mission to promote intellectual inquiry and effective civic engagement within the context of respect for diversity. Our ability to educate is one tool for making change in the world. We can demand change in our community, but first, we have to educate our community on why that change is necessary.

One way we can educate our community is through the College Conversations: Allyship & Antiracism series, which features faculty members in the college whose research focuses on identifying racism, how to become an antiracist, and other topics related to allyship and antiracism.

The first speaker is our series is Tyler Wall, assistant professor of sociology, who will present “Police Power, Racial Terror, and the Violence of Reform” Thursday, July 16 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. Please register here in advance of the presentation. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Ongoing protests against racist police violence amid a global pandemic are leading to important debates about the role and function of the police in our society. Many protestors are calling for policy changes that demand the defunding of the police in favor of more robust social programs and wider access to public goods.

In his presentation, Wall places police power within a wider context of historical cycles of violence and reform and the current legitimacy crisis of US policing. He examines how police power is inseparable from the structures that govern and reproduce racial capitalist society. What emerges from this discussion is an argument about how typical liberal reforms are not only destined to fail but further entrench and normalize racist state violence. Reform, then, becomes the “pie in the sky” while abolition and its related demand to defund police becomes the most logical, practical, and necessary response to the contemporary police crisis.

Learn more about the College Conversations series.

Interested in presenting? Please submit a proposal for consideration.