Statement of Values

The Sociology Department at USC values diversity and aims to foster an environment that promotes equity and inclusion in all settings. We define diversity broadly as differences by race, ethnicity, nationality, immigration status, religion, gender, sexuality, class, first-generation status, ability, age, as well as other dimensions of difference. We strive to facilitate diversity, equity and inclusion through research, teaching, professional service, and in our everyday practices.

Our faculty include renowned scholars whose research focuses on social inequality based on racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual identity, and who seek to identify the structural and interpersonal forces that generate a range of disparities in order to dismantle them. This scientific expertise is central to our scholarly community’s identity and efforts to build an inclusive community and society.

In our teaching, we seek to facilitate inclusive spaces where students can exchange diverse viewpoints and value differences. In providing students with the analytic and theoretical tools to identify, describe, interpret, and dismantle structural inequalities, we aim to cultivate students’ sociological understanding of the forces–such as white supremacy, heteronormativity, patriarchy, and intersecting forms of oppression–that act as barriers to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.

In our professional service, we aim to build more diverse, equitable and inclusive spaces through public sociology and through service to our professional community, our academic institution, and the local community.

Realizing these values requires that we acknowledge that the very institution that we are embedded within is built on the traditional homeland of the Tongva/Gabrielino People, who continue to reside in and around what we now call Los Angeles County—the county that is currently home to the largest population of Native People in the United States. We pay our respects to them, and to all Indigenous communities that reside on occupied land within the greater Los Angeles region, including many Chumash, Tataviam, Serrano, Cahuilla, Acjachemem (Juaneño), and Payómkawichum (Luiseño) People. We recognize the numerous impacts—past and present— of colonization, genocide, slavery, violence, displacement, migration, and settlement that shape our past and present conditions.

Statement of Practices

The Department of Sociology’s commitment to promoting inclusion, diversity, and equity, takes many forms, including:

  • Protecting against harassment. It is expected that community members respect one another and do not engage in behaviors that are harmful, exclusive, sabotaging, or abusive. USC’s policy on prohibited discrimination, harassment, and retaliation can be found here.
  • Graduate student recruitment and support. The department is committed to recruiting, admitting, and retaining students from diverse communities. The department supports a number of initiatives that aim to facilitate the equitable distribution of knowledge by unveiling academia’s “hidden curriculum” in an effort to increase knowledge and skills that can lead to success. For example:
    • The department has dedicated funding for students from underrepresented groups. Developed by the Graduate Student Race and Gender Equity Committee, the W.E.B Du Bois and Ida B. Wells-Barnett Graduate Student Scholars Award provides additional funding and support structures for students.
    • The department further supports graduate students by funding a fellowship coordinator each academic year. The coordinator maintains a database of fellowship and grant opportunities, reminds students of upcoming deadlines, coordinates peer review of proposals, and schedules informational sessions for major fellowships.
    • The department also facilitates students’ participation in USC’s annual fellowship bootcamp, designed for early career PhD students who are applying for the NSF GRFP and Ford predoctoral fellowships. It is a 10-day intensive writing workshop in which participants learn about these fellowships and complete a personal statement.
    • Graduate students coordinate a Graduate Mentorship Program that pairs incoming graduate students with more advanced students to ease the academic, professional, and social transition to a PhD program.
  • Community events and training. The department sponsors events to facilitate our core intentions of creating a more diverse, inclusive, and supportive environment. These events range from hosting external colloquia of speakers that increase diversity both in terms of the representation of the speaker and area of study, hosting internal colloquia and workshops that allow graduate students to present and obtain feedback on their research, and professionalization workshops on academic and non-ac careers.
  • External resources. USC is an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD), which means that the Sociology community can access resources and training for free.
  • Reflection and communication. Through committees, working groups, and other mechanisms the department’s Executive and Racial and Gender Equity Committees will seek feedback from students, faculty and staff about the needs of the department to reflect on and strengthen our commitment to promoting inclusion, diversity, and equity.
  • Involvement with research centers and working groups. The department collaborates with research centers (e.g., USC Equity Research Institute) focused on social change and sponsors departmental working groups that investigate social inequality.

Statement on Campus Sexual Assaults

Like many of you, the staff and faculty of the USC Department of Sociology are deeply concerned about the recent sexual assaults on campus. We in the Department of Sociology stand in solidarity with survivors of sexual assault, and with the student activists who are protesting the systemic sexual assault within our campus community. As sociologists, we are aware of the impact a campus culture of gender- and power-based harm can have on individuals, and how this systemic harm perpetuates broader structures of inequality. We encourage the President and Provost to work democratically with the broader community to create practices and policies that ensure everyone’s safety and dignity within and outside the Trojan community.