About News Corrective Action as Collective Action Nov 20, 2020 Corrective Action as Collective Action On UVA’s Lifetime Learning podcast, Batten professor Brian Williams argues that we should let diverse groups drive police reform. Williams teaches in Garrett Hall's Great Hall.Since George Floyd’s killing this spring, the way many Americans see policing has shifted. A recent poll showed that 74% of people in the U.S. believe Floyd’s death reflects a larger problem. Only 43% expressed that view after Trayvon Martin’s killing in 2014, Batten professor Brian Williams noted on UVA’s Lifetime Learning podcast last week. Williams, who studies relations between police officers and the communities they serve, spoke about the fraught history of policing in America—including ties between the present system and the slave patrols of the past—and how we might work together to build a more equitable police force. He indicated that the recent shift in public opinion suggests Americans are moving toward an important first step: recognizing that there’s a problem. But he also argued that we still have a long way to go. “It’s a reconciliation process,” Williams said. “It will go from awareness of these issues, understanding these issues, and acknowledging that these issues are real, into what I describe as corrective action as collective action.” That looks like assembling groups of people with a range of life experiences, Williams explained. In his own classes, he has invited many different guests to share their views on policing, from attorneys and advocates to people re-entering society after more than 20 years in prison. The University of Virginia and other academic institutions can do their part by fostering conversations that welcome those varied perspectives, Williams noted, in addition to supporting relevant research and serving local nonprofits that have insight into the viewpoints of both community members and police officers. “We all have different lived experiences,” Williams said. “Our truths happen to be our truths, but we have to begin the process of appreciating the truths of others.” Listen on SoundCloud Brian N. Williams I am an Associate Professor of Public Policy in the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, after previous faculty appointments at Florida State University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Georgia (UGA), as well as administrative appointments at UGA and Vanderbilt. My research centers on issues related to demographic diversity, local law enforcement, and public governance, with special attention devoted to the co-production of public safety and public order. Read full bio Related Content Brian N. Williams Batten Students Examine the Relationship between Police and Community News Through the Central Virginia Listening & Learning Exchange, Batten professor Brian Williams and his students are examining the problems of police and community relations and what can be done to resolve them. Brian Williams on the Past and Present of Racism in the Administrative State News Historic harms—discriminatory laws, policies, and practices, affect public perception of governmental institutions and their public administrators. Batten's Brian N. Williams speaks to how we could change American institutions and their public servants in the face of these harms.