Statement in Response to the killing of George Floyd

June 2, 2020

Statement in Response to the killing of George Floyd

Ohio State Oval at dawn

Dear Members of the Sociology Community,

I’d like to take this opportunity to endorse and follow up on President Drake’s message that condemns the horrific killing of George Floyd.  We condemn in the strongest possible terms any and all excessive and lethal force perpetrated by the state.  This condemnation goes beyond the most recent case; it includes each and every instance of state and vigilante violence against racial minorities, such as the violence perpetrated against Ahmaud Arbery.

President Drake rightly asked us to reflect on what we can do to make things better as we move forward.  One thing that became apparent during the past week, and for that matter since the COVID-19 outbreak began, is that I (and perhaps we) must do a better job of proactively checking in with students during times of crisis and helping to identify and connect students with resources on campus.  I must also ensure that Black faculty and Black students not carry the full burden of communicating and educating during these moments.  Many of you are in pain and feeling angry.  I acknowledge this suffering, and I am committed to making improvements on this front and to be proactive, not reactive, as we move forward.  This is particularly important for our students of color in the wake of racial violence.

I very much appreciated the emails and resources that have been shared by our graduate students this weekend.  Reading these materials has been instructive for me, and led me to reflect on our mission, part of which is to educate our students (and be educated by them) about racism.  As a Department of Sociology, our core missions are research, teaching, and service to the university. Anti-racism is central to these missions. Our educational mission must include a commitment to addressing the individual needs of all of our students and the specific needs of Black students and other students of color. Moving forward, we commit to examining and improving our own practices.

As we move forward, and as expressions of grief and passion are increasingly accompanied by dialogue and action, I’ll ask that we continue to communicate.  DGS Sarah Hayford will begin by reaching out to SGSA to set up a separate list serve or other avenue through which we can maintain a dialogue and discuss actions in response to these injustices.  We will use the department list serves for faculty, staff, and lecturers to communicate updates about the pandemic and plans for the fall semester (graduate students may of course use the Soc Grads list serve as they deem appropriate). 

I have to believe that sociologists play a crucial role in improving society and confronting injustice. I hope that we can work together in that mission.


Ryan D. King
Professor and Chair
Department of Sociology

Please instruct students, faculty, and staff to report any and all acts of discrimination to the Office of Institutional Equity at

For Students
The Office of Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) remains available to our students. If students need to speak with a counselor urgently or need other resources, please call 614-292-5766 at any time. After hours, press 2 to be connected to a counselor. 

Students may also access the Buckeye Peer Access Line (PAL), which operates Monday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to midnight, and Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. The Wilce Student Life Health Services Center remains open and students may access their services by appointment here.

The Collegiate Recovery Community will continue serving any Ohio State student in or seeking recovery. In an effort to support social distancing efforts, all support services will be provided virtually. If you are interested in learning more about the services being provided and how to access the different services, please email

Students may access the Ohio State: Wellness app via download for iOS or Androiddevices.

For Faculty & Staff
The Ohio State Employee Assistance Program (EAP), in partnership with ImpactSolutions, provides resources for employees and their families in times of need. All services are confidential, complimentary and provided by experienced, licensed mental health professionals. EAP services are available to benefits-eligible faculty and staff, members of their household, parents and parents-in-law, even if you did not enroll in an Ohio State medical plan. Learn more about EAP at

The tips, guides and wellness resources related to COVID-19 are also excellent resources for addressing anxiety in general and can be found through the Office of Human Resources’ new Keep Well website, the Health and Wellness page and Your Plan For Health.

For Everyone
The Franklin County Suicide Prevention Services and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They can help anyone who is concerned about suicide – either for yourself or on behalf of another.
Franklin County Suicide Prevention Line: 614-221-5445 
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
Crisis Text Line: Text 4hope to 741741
A list of Ohio State suicide prevention resources can be found at