The Department of Political Science at the University of Colorado Denver strongly condemns the racist attacks and violent threats against Dr. Shomura which occurred after the article “American Political Thought course at CU Denver removes all white men from curriculum” was published in an online publication, The College Fix, on March 22, 2019. The contents of the article were reproduced locally and nationally by other right-wing and white supremacist media outlets.
The article advanced an uninformed criticism of the reading list and syllabus for one of Dr. Shomura’s political theory courses without consideration of the learning objectives for these course readings or the racism contained in the readings that Dr. Shomura chose not to cover. The attack on Dr. Shomura was also an attack on the Political Science department as a whole. The article impugns the character and the integrity of our entire program and the degrees that we bestow. Dr. Shomura’s course, as with all department offerings, is taught with the approval and support of the department.
The University of Colorado Denver is committed to academic freedom, diversity, antiracism and civil discourse. The personal attacks and death threats against Dr. Shomura, that were incited directly by this defamatory article, are a violation of his fundamental human rights, and violated the basic principles of academic freedom for professors and for the departments in which they hold faculty appointments.
The attacks constitute another episode in a national and international campaign against educators, which is aimed at stifling public debate and curtailing academic freedom on university campuses. Individuals engaging in racist attacks, and institutions allowing them in the interest of profit or ideology, ought to be held in contempt and resisted by all persons of integrity. They put the personal safety and the intellectual freedom of all of us, at risk.
Intellectual integrity and justice require the inclusion of voices and perspectives that have been absent from or silenced in conventional academic discourse. Dr. Shomura’s course works to include those marginalized or silenced perspectives and contributes to the diversity of inquiry and analysis on our campus. For his engagement, he was recently awarded the CU Denver Rosa Parks Award for promoting diversity across the Auraria campus.
The Department of Political Science deeply values Dr. Shomura’s intellectual contributions and the important ways in which he encourages our students to see beyond the bounds of traditional paradigms of thought that reinforce dominant power structures within our society.