Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Dear students, colleagues, friends, and community members,

In the face of ongoing protests in Iowa City and the disgraceful actions of our local law enforcement against protesters on the night of June 3rd, we are writing in support of and in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and BLM protesters around the world. The Department of Classics stands with Iowa City protesters in demanding justice for police brutality and for all violations of Black life, including the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others.

We join our many colleagues around the University who have condemned the recent violence of local law enforcement against protesters, and we support the call for the University to reassess their relationship with the Iowa City Police Department, Coralville Police Department, and Iowa State Patrol. We recognize and commend the efforts of local protesters and organizers who are fighting to end racist policing in our community and on our campus.

Classics as an academic field is implicated in this struggle. Our field has a long history of justifying the rule of dominant power structures by perpetuating false notions of cultural superiority of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is thus our duty as scholars and educators of Classics to confront the history of our discipline and to heal the intergenerational traumas which we have helped to create and justify. Together, we can rethink and reshape what it means to study Classics.

To all of our students making their voices heard and fighting against injustice, know that we stand with you, and that we are committed to confronting and dismantling the racist and oppressive traditions of our discipline and our society. We hear your demands for justice, and we will work to honor your efforts to end structural inequality. 

Black Lives Matter.

Department of Classics
University of Iowa