A Message to the CPF Community

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Statements from the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future
Statements from the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future

CPF Action Plan for Greater Diversity, Inclusivity, and the Respectful Exchange of Ideas

  1. Hold Listen In sessions monthly (Sep. 30; Oct. 28); open and casual Zoom discussion with students to hear what’s on their minds; listening is the primary agenda; if no one has things they wish to share, that’s okay; we will watch a recommended video or speech and discuss as a group. Take the nonpartisan Listen First Project pledge "I will listen first to understand."
  2. We respond to emails and phone calls within one business day.
  3. Open feedback policies on all social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn – plus phone, email, Google form (for anonymous comments), mail, and in person.
  4. Hold interactive talks with diversity trainers at USC (invite staff and students); learn what their offices do, how to engage with them, and what advice they have for USC students, staff, and faculty. One Zoom meeting in September, October, and November. USC departments: USC Dornsife Office of Diversity, USC Race and Equity Center, and USC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion resources.
  5. Ask students at our Open House events each semester for their ideas regarding programs and guests. Students and the public may continue to suggest - at any time – events and panelists to CPF. Work with diverse campus and community groups to help advance our vital mission in increasingly inclusive ways.
  6. Continue to use USC HR guidelines for Equity, Inclusivity, Diversity (EID) hiring as our base standards.
  7. Highlight the diverse students, staff, and Fellows who participate in CPF programs.
  8. Expand outreach efforts for our Political Science 395 internship programs to as many USC students, student groups, departments, and campus centers as possible; continue to offer student scholarships for unpaid internships in the summer via Political Science 395 and continue to seek additional funds to expand those internship scholarships.
  9. Continue to bring in staff, student staff, Fellows, and panelists who champion our vital mission while reflecting the diversity, prominence, and nonpartisanship of CPF. We seek diversity in political ideology, race, age, sexual orientation, geography, industry, gender, national origin, religion, and more.
  10. Participate in the Braver Angels workshop “Skills for Bridging the Divide” [to complete by end of August].
  11. Engage with the Urban Rural Action “Uniting for Action: America” project, which already works with Georgetown, Penn State, HBCUs, and Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security (WCAPS) [$20/participant; students are free; three phases starting September 10]. The goal is: “This is a NON-PARTISAN initiative with four goals: 1. Build new connections and find commonalities across political, geographic, economic, and social (racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, etc.) divides; 2. Increase understanding of different perspectives on key issues; 3. Strengthen skills for collaborating across divides; 4. Implement projects to strengthen our communities and our country.”
  12. Participate in the Stronger Than Hate coalition operated by the USC Shoah Foundation. Participate in “Justice in June” readings/viewings [a program innovated by two USC students and celebrated by Dornsife and others].
  13. Ongoing professional development via Trojan Learn and LinkedIn Learning – 1 hour minimum monthly trainings on diversity, inclusion, listening, and countering bias and polarization.
  14. Create a diverse and inclusive CPF Advisory Committee; include former Fellows, student presidents from VoteSC and Unruh Associates, and select prominent outsiders to provide external insight into our programs and help us grow CPF; quarterly Zoom meetings and periodic check-ins run by CPF Executive Director.
  15. Vote and Fight On!

Statement Against Anti-Semitism

To the CPF and USC communities,

In her August 6 email, the President of USC condemned anti-Semitism and reaffirmed the university’s commitment to inclusivity. We share Dr. Carol Folt’s view: “We must condemn any bias or prejudice that is based on a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristic… It is more important now than ever for our university to serve as a global beacon of belonging… We all have a shared responsibility to build a truly inclusive campus culture so that all students feel empowered to lead in student government and student organizations, and that means that we all must denounce and dismantle prejudice and hatred whenever and wherever we encounter it and be a force for good.” The Center for the Political Future has made participation in the USC Shoah Foundation’s Stronger Than Hate campaign a part of its ongoing action plan for diversity, inclusivity, and respectful dialogue on campus. It's listed above in the "CPF Action Plan for Greater Diversity, Inclusivity, and the Respectful Exchange of Ideas."

The CPF Team

Response to the @Blackatusc Instagram

We fully recognize that this is a time of pain for many in our community, especially for Black people and Black students at USC. If any student, including the student who came forward @blackatusc, has felt unfairly treated at CPF, we sincerely apologize.

We are determined to foster a diverse and inclusive political space on campus and at the Center for the Political Future, where building a better future is a fundamental part of our reason for existence. We work every day for a future where people will no longer be discriminated against or silenced based on their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political identity, or other personal characteristics.

To that end, and for full transparency, we are sharing our forward-looking internal document titled “CPF Action Plan for Greater Diversity, Inclusivity, and the Respectful Exchange of Ideas” available above. We encourage other university centers, political organizations, student groups, and individuals to join us in these actions. Together we can all help build John Lewis’s “beloved community.”

The CPF Team

Statement on CPF Mission and Inclusivity

To the CPF and USC communities,

We fully recognize that this is a time of pain for many in our community, especially for Black people. We hear you, and we will listen. In this fraught time, we are determined to maintain a diverse and inclusive political space on campus and at the Center for the Political Future – and to learn from what we are hearing. And if any student has felt unfairly treated at CPF, we sincerely apologize; we are about lifting people up, not putting them down.

The Center has a defining commitment to civility and hearing views from across the political spectrum. We believe it should be a space where progressives, moderates and conservatives from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities can engage in civil dialogue and where we respect each other and we respect the truth. That truth includes pointing out that our events, fellows and staff represent diverse views, backgrounds, and ethnicities.

We have made and will continue to make every effort to ensure political balance and community representation among the CPF Fellows. Our fellows have included Symone Sanders (D), Ron Christie (R), John Chiang (D), and Mike Madrid (R). The CPF staff’s diversity of race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and political ideology is also a matter of principle for us and a major source of strength.

Our political programs will continue to reflect our resolve to host compelling educational experiences that feature prominent and diverse guests from across the political spectrum. Guests in 2020 have included USC alum and CA State Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager (D), Hispanic media consultant Cesar Martinez (R), Director of the Center for American Progress Neera Tanden (D), and U.S. Congressman Will Hurd (R), among dozens of others.

We do not and will not tolerate seeing someone mistreated, silenced, or excluded. If anyone has a bad experience with someone at CPF, please contact or Executive Director Kamy Akhavan at You can also communicate anonymously at and you can contact the Office of Professional Ethics to report abusive behavior.

The CPF Team

Statement Regarding Next Steps and Resources

To the CPF and USC communities,

The USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future (CPF) condemns systemic racism and police brutality against people of color. We mourn all those whose lives have been taken, and we deplore the violation in so many cases of fundamental human rights. Racism must be rooted out wherever it exists and debases the professed ideals of our country.

There is power in every voice. Americans, including those of us at CPF, are listening and participating in events that confront racial injustice. We will soon be holding a round table discussion entitled, “The George Floyd Tragedy: Is There a Path to Positive Change?” Details will be posted on the website shortly.

One indispensable action is voting. Black Americans have historically been at the forefront of the fight for voting rights and today is no different. You can register to vote in minutes by using the USC TurboVote portal at

We also want to point you towards many resources here at USC for students and our entire community. The USC Black Student Assembly, USC Undergraduate Student Government, and USC Graduate Student Government have compiled a list of those resources, which range from ways to be engaged to ways in which students who need help or counseling can receive it.

USC Dornsife Dean Amber Miller and USC President Carol Folt have eloquently addressed the crisis we as a nation now face.

USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future

Letter to the CPF Community

To our community members and friends,

Our nation has been shocked and wounded by the abhorrent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Protestors across America are rightfully demanding action. The right to protest is a fundamental American right that we strongly support.

At the Center for the Political Future, we are dedicated to strengthening our civic institutions to turn outrage into dialogue, consensus, and meaningful progress. We reject violence and those who would loot and destroy neighborhoods, businesses, and livelihoods. “There can be no successful appeal,” said Abraham Lincoln, “from the ballot to the bullet.” George Floyd's brother passionately insisted at a memorial service that the answer to these violations of fundamental American ideals was voting, not violence.

In the words of our Dean Amber Miller, “We are confronted once again with the ugly reality that racial injustice remains a pernicious and deeply rooted problem in America." She said about USC Dornsife, "We are a family that represents the shifting demographics of our city, state, and nation. We are a family that has your back." In that spirit, our virtual programming throughout this summer will continue to advance honest and civil dialogue and help move us towards a genuinely inclusive and democratic society.

Please contact the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future at or 213-740-5596 with your questions.


Robert M. Shrum, Director
Mike Murphy, Co-Director

Additional Resources

  • USC Dornsife Office of Diversity Resources
  • USC Campus Support and Advocacy (part of Campus Wellbeing and Crisis Intervention) at 213-821-4710 in TCC 421 or assists faculty, staff, and students in resolving complex personal, academic, and financial issues, providing useful information and referring to the proper campus resources.
  • Student Counseling and Mental Health Services at 213-740-9355 in ESH 303, or, for free and confidential professional counseling for students.
  • Center for Work and Family Life at 213- 821-0800 or for free and confidential professional counseling for faculty and staff.
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