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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 Public Safety.


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 Pence.


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,” noted Nelson.


“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 Newton.


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 series.


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.



Charlene Gilbert

D. Benjamin Barros

Monita Mungo, PhD

Jeff Newton

Benjamin Davis





Copyright © 2021 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02/04/21 12:49:44 -0500.

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