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Department of Psychology Diversity Council Issues Statement Against Racism and Hate

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff of the Department of Psychology,

The Department of Psychology is dedicated to diversity and social justice in our research, teaching, clinical work, and advocacy. As psychologists, we are aware of the toxic effects of racism and other forms of oppression, both on the targets[1] of racism and oppression, as well as on those from dominant groups.[2] This is why recent events reflecting racism and hatred, and the pending event by a white nationalist hate group,[3] are extremely troubling. 

The Department of Psychology Diversity Council would like to send a clear message that we condemn racism and all forms of oppression. Hate groups and the messages they spread are dangerous and have no place in our department or on our campus. Messages of hate create a hostile campus climate for individuals who are the targets of those messages and their allies. Racism and oppression run counter to our commitment to social justice, which includes equity and physical and psychological safety and well-being for all. 

We encourage university leadership to continue to condemn racism and the hateful messages that continue to appear on campus swiftly and explicitly. We also encourage them to acknowledge that systemic and institutional racism must be addressed and to continue to find ways to do so through direct action.  

We also call on members of our psychology community to do their part to condemn racism. We encourage members of our community to educate themselves about historical, systemic, and institutional injustices and their impacts on the lived experiences of our research participants, students, clients, and communities. Our department and many others on campus offer courses that provide critical multicultural and social justice education aimed not just at celebrating diversity, but also developing an awareness of the structural forces that perpetuate inequity. We also encourage members of our community to find ways to engage in dialogue with each other across differences and to find ways to work toward social justice together. Finally, we encourage all members of our community to take care of themselves and use the resources available on campus (e.g., the Counseling Center; 865-974-HELP). 


The Department of Psychology Diversity Council

[1] E.g., American Psychological Association (n.d.). Health disparities and stress fact sheet. Retrieved from:

[2] E.g., Spanierman, L. B., & Heppner, M. J. (2004). Psychosocial Costs of Racism to Whites Scale (PCRW): Construction and initial validation. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 51, 249-262. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.51.2.249

[3] Southern Poverty Law Center (n.d.). Traditionalist Worker Party. Retrieved from:


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