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Classical Studies Department Issues Statement on Racism and Police Brutality

The faculty and staff of the Department of Classical Studies at William & Mary, acting unanimously, have issued the following statement in response to recent disturbing events:

Statement on Racism and Police Brutality

The Department of Classical Studies at William & Mary condemns the killing of George Floyd and similar actions that exemplify police brutality and racial oppression.  We hope through our teaching, scholarship, and public statements to combat the racist thinking that can lead to such actions.  In concert with our national organizations (Society for Classical StudiesArchaeological Institute of America,  Classical Association of the Middle West and South,  Classical Association of New England,  American Classical League), we affirm our dedication to providing a safe and supportive environment in which everyone, regardless of race, national origin, gender, religion, identity, is treated with dignity, and encourage robust, respectful dialogue. The ancient world provides both positive and negative models for dealing with racial and other diversity, as well as for the use of socially sanctioned ​force in the public arena. We will use these models to encourage vigorous discussion in our classes about these issues as they played out in antiquity and continue to do so today.

We acknowledge the role that the field of Classical Studies has played in the creation and defense of modern racist and colonial systems, and the burden placed on modern Classicists to actively combat this legacy. To this end, as we assert in our departmental diversity statement, we strive to be a community that not only condemns acts of hate and racism when they occur, but also does whatever is within our power to help prevent these and other injustices from occurring.