University of Toledo Hosts Dialogue on Diversity
By Tricia Hall
Sojourner’s Truth Reporter
The University of Toledo’s faculty and staff served as
discussion panelists for the January 26 dialogue on
diversity session that was held virtually. The discussion
focused on the events surrounding the January 6 riot at the
Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
“We are quite fortunate to have such distinguished scholars
here at the University who are able to help us better
understand the constitutional questions and concerns raised
by the events of January 6. Higher education has an
important role to play in defending our institutions and our
modern democracy,” explained Charlene Gilbert.
Gilbert, dean of College of Arts and Letters, served as
discussion facilitator. The session was titled The Path
Forward -The Constitution and the Fragility of Democracy.
The session included the following panelists: D. Benjamin
Barros, dean of the College of Law; Benjamin Davis, law
professor; Monita Mungo, PhD, sociology assistant professor;
Sam Nelson, PhD, Department of Political Science and Public
Administration chair and associate professor and Jeff
Newton, University of Toledo Chief of Police and Director of
According to various media sources on January 6, the United
States Congress gathered inside the Capitol to certify the
electoral votes from the November 2020 election. That
session of Congress was chaired by Vice President Mike
Simultaneously a rally was held, where speakers including
former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and then President
Donald Trump engaged rally attendees. The rally turned into
a march to the Capitol that eventually led to individuals
causing property damage to the Capitol grounds and building,
while members of Congress were evacuated from their chambers
and secured in safer locales within the building.
At least five individuals have died in connection to that
event and Federal Bureau of Investigation offices around the
country are investigating and charging individuals with
connection to crimes connected on January 6th.
“We need to pay attention to the dramatic parts that
happened on January 6, but political scientists have been
waving the red flags since Trump first ran for office,”
“January 6 was years in the making. It’s easy to denounce
racism. We need to understand what were the social
conditions that led to competent people being influenced by
conspiracy theories,” added Mungo.
“It’s already been a difficult day. The funeral of [Toledo]
Officer [Brandon] Stalker was this morning. It’s been a dark
and emotional day, but I still wanted to engage this
conversation. It’s also been a dark year for law
enforcement. It’s awful what the officers on January 6 went
through, they faced violence and did the best that they
could to protect the legislatures and the building,” said
The conversation shifted as the panelists commented on
community healing and the upcoming impeachment proceedings
which will continue with the Senate trial in February.
“The race to heal is unfortunate. This rapid race to heal
without accountability for those involved in unimaginable.
It’s a false sense of healing,” shared Davis.
“Impeachment is just a political act and courts don’t
intervene with the process. What will be the political
consequences and how will the Senate vote? Trump is already
out of office. Truth is our great challenge and what does
that even mean. This isn’t about politics but about the
attack on our government and baseless election fraud
claims,” said Barros.
“We must have our finger on the pulse of our departments and
officers. It’s a sad state of affairs, I’ve heard from
officers in other cities that members of their departments
had to conduct an inquiry. I hope there is are aggressive
investigations, we have a responsibility to our
communities,” shared Newton.
The University of Toledo launched the dialogue on diversity
series following the death of George Floyd, and the January
26 panel discussion marked the 10th event in the
The University of Toledo was formed in 1872 and has nearly
20,000 students in 230 academic programs. The campus also
has more than 400 student organizations.