People drawing
Illustration of three women

Racial Justice and Equity

We are in the midst of an important national reckoning on race and injustice in America. Whether this historic moment proves to be a turning point for our nation or merely another episode in the painful chronicles of violence and apology will depend on what we decide to do together and how hard we are willing to work. At the Batten School, we are committed to developing the kind of people and ideas that will solve humanity’s toughest challenges. We are called not just to observe, but to participate in the change we wish to see. In confronting issues of racial justice and equity, we have an opportunity to bring forward the very best thinking of our social psychology and leadership colleagues, our economists, our political scientists, our public administration and democracy scholars, and our policy and action practitioners. With the commitment of our faculty, and our students and alumni, we are eager to contribute meaningfully to this national dialogue, with courage, ambition, humility, and hope.

Below is a collection of recent activities on this issue by the Batten community. These are neither the beginning nor the end of our efforts. Please continue to visit this page as new work is posted, but more importantly, please get involved. Join us in a spirit of common purpose to spur, enact, and sustain foundational change.

Dean Ian H. Solomon

Research and Commentary


Aug 26, 2020

Learning from Tragedy

In 2017, a group of UVA deans and other members of the University community offered recommendations in the wake of the Unite the Right rally. Three years later, Risa Goluboff, dean of the law school, spoke with Dean Ian Solomon about what the group learned and how our nation has evolved.

Aug 20, 2020

Remembering August 11th and 12th

Last week, on the third anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, three witnesses spoke on a panel moderated by Batten’s dean, Ian Solomon. Now famous around the world, the rally spanned two days and brought white supremacists and counter-protestors together in a violent clash that killed one demonstrator and injured many others.

Jun 18, 2020

'It’s Never Been Uncomplicated for Me:' a Black-Jewish Voice for Hope

“It was a huge wake-up call for me,” Ian Solomon told me. “It’s too easy to put the blame on individuals and not recognize what’s below the surface. We put all the blame on a person’s failings, and they do have failings. But my brother did not fail to be a human being, right? It’s easy to dehumanize people for their errors, for their mistakes, for their addictions, for their pasts.”


At a moment when our country’s inequalities have come into sharp focus, many colleges and universities are looking to make their institutions more inclusive. But what does a meaningful commitment to diversity actually look like? In this week’s installment of Batten Expert Chats, Dana Laurens (COL ’09, MPP ’10), senior associate for policy and advocacy at Education Reform Now, and her colleague, Michael Dannenberg, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Policy, will speak and take questions on the types of policies needed to hold institutions, including the University of Virginia, accountable for following through on pledges and statements about racial equity and inclusivity.


Black Americans are systematically under-treated for pain relative to White Americans. For the next edition of Batten’s Expert Chats Series, Batten professor Sophie Trawalter will discuss research indicating that people--including individuals with medical training--believe that Blacks (vs. Whites) feel less pain. Join the conversation on Zoom.


In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, protests demanding justice and respect for Black lives have swept the country and the world. For this week’s installment of Batten’s Expert Chat Series, Dean Ian Solomon will moderate a panel of trustees from the University of Virginia’s IDEA Fund for inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA).