Roundtable discussion to explore post-election state of the nation

The final installment of the “Toward Racial Equity” roundtable series will be livestreamed from 6 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 4

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- On Nov. 4, experts from across Penn State will take part in a roundtable discussion exploring the results and potential impacts of the 2020 U.S. presidential election as the final installment of the “Toward Racial Equity at Penn State: Social Difference, Social Equity and Social Change” event series.

The roundtable discussion – titled “The Day After: Assessing the Post-Election State of the Nation” -- will be livestreamed at from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4, and is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Equity, the University’s Division for Development and Alumni Relations and WPSU.

The panelists speaking during the roundtable discussion include:

  • Michael Berkman, professor of political science and director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, who will provide a high-level perspective on national politics, political participation and voting;
  • Candis Watts Smith, associate professor of African American studies and political science, who will discuss shifting demographics, recent waves of political activism and shifting racial attitudes;
  • Royel Johnson, assistant professor of education and African American studies, who will discuss access, retention, competition and placement for students of color in higher education; and,
  • Emme Devonish, Penn State’s University Ethics Officer, who will discuss how institutional values, ethics and compliance intersect with diversity, equity and inclusion.

Penn State Executive Vice President and Provost Nick Jones will provide introductory remarks. The conversation will be co-moderated by Jennifer Hamer and Keith Gilyard, who both serve as senior faculty mentors in the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity. The first half of the conversation will feature each panelist speaking to their area of expertise, while the second half will shift to a Q&A format driven by audience participation. Viewers will be able to submit questions for the panelists using a live chatroom moderated by WPSU producer Will Price.

“Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, the issues that are confronting the United States at this time, such as systemic racism and police brutality, are long-standing issues that are past time to be addressed,” Hamer said. “For many, the day after the election is going to be a hard day, but we want people to walk away from this roundtable feeling hopeful. History is always changing, and we are the agents of change. We aim to have a conversation that illuminates our current moment and provides clarity on how we can move forward together.”

The first event of the “Toward Racial Equity” series was held on June 30, and featured Black members of University leadership exploring the experiences of people of color and members of underrepresented racial and ethnic communities at Penn State. During the second event in the roundtable series held on Sept. 8, Penn Staters of color shared their experiences with racism and bias as well as their visions for an ideal Penn State. Both events can be viewed at

The Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity recognizes the interest within the University community for, and importance of, actions and movements that advance social justice and invite discussion of current events. The “Toward Racial Equity at Penn State” series reflects a broader national movement of teach-in opportunities for college students, faculty and staff to engage in reflection and discussion on contemporary issues, including police brutality and the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and how these issues impact communities, including university communities like Penn State.

Last Updated October 27, 2020