Political science students call for faculty diversity 

Students of color mobilized to email over 100 Black and Latine professors across the US seeking a more diverse faculty.


Applications are under review for six new professors in the Department of Political Science and International Relations. We are willing to do whatever we can to ensure that our faculty and course offerings are more reflective of our students, our community and contemporary racial politics in America. Last week, students of color emailed over 100 potential candidates to advertise the job ourselves. 

After requests from students and staff, the department has made some effort to elicit diverse applicants and acknowledge our concerns. 

The following is an excerpt from a student statement that was co-authored by Gabriella Márquez and Jaylah Wilson and read aloud by the department chair during USC’s Department of Political Science and International Relations faculty meeting on Sept. 27, 2023: 

“To the members of the Department of Political Science and International Relations faculty: We are writing this letter in hopes that the underrepresented undergraduate voice will be heard and valued. It has been brought to our attention that at least six tenure/tenure track positions are open within the Department of Political Science and International Relations. 

As undergraduate students, this will directly impact us. We currently do not have enough opportunities in our department to take courses with professors from or invested in Black or [Latine] communities in the United States. It is noticed and felt by students of color every day, in every classroom. It is painful and discouraging to be marginalized at our institution of higher education in the same ways we have been marginalized in this country. 

The perpetuation of this cycle comes not only at the detriment of students of color, but for all students. It is a very uncomfortable and isolating thing to navigate this world without seeing your identity represented. It is even more uncomfortable and isolating to navigate a world so polarizing as politics without seeing your identity represented. It is heartbreaking to think that the next generation of Black and Brown students who look like us, and are as passionate about political science as we are, [are] entering these classrooms feeling like they do not belong. 

We walk through the doors of this institution riddled with an imposter syndrome that is confirmed when we do not see ourselves reflected in the leadership. With that being said, it is our hope that the Search Committee is not only considering diversity in their search, but are using this search for the very purpose of diversifying the faculty in this department. More specifically, we ask to see the lack of Black and [Latine] political science professors, and the lack of American race, ethnicity, and politics courses, remedied.

We understand that each of you are experts in the field of political science and that the undergraduate voice is not typically a consideration in faculty hiring decisions. However if the intention is in fact to diversify the faculty during this hiring, we implore you to consider the sentiments of the diverse undergraduate student body. 

We consider this issue an emergency because we know this hiring will shape our department and its values for years to come. We are going to do whatever we can to see a successful diversification of this faculty, and we are closely monitoring the outcome of this process. 

Thank you for your consideration. 

In unity, 

Concerned Undergraduate Students of Political Science” 

The leadership choosing to include this in the faculty meeting is a step in the right direction. We have requested and are still awaiting a direct response to this statement.

Gabriella Márquez & Jaylah Wilson

B.A. Political Science

Class of 2024

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