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Sarah Herrman


From our Editor

Sarah Herrmann, Assistant Professor, Weber State University

As we once again approach another change in the seasons, I have been reflecting on the many persistent environmental challenges we face. I spent my summer at home in Utah, where we continue in an extreme drought and faced record high temperatures. This, in addition to smoke from the ongoing fires in Northern California and the spike in COVID cases from the delta strain of the virus, gave the summer a distinctly apocalyptic feel.  

In spite of these challenges, however, I generally remain hopeful. I watched (some of) my neighbors turn off their sprinklers for the season. In my classes, many of the students have gotten vaccinated and continue to mask, even though our state has banned mask and vaccine mandates. An Afghan refugee family is moving into the neighborhood today and members of our community banded together to ensure that they would have everything they need to make them feel at home. In the continuing strangeness of these times, I try to focus on the ways that people choose to preserve their communities and the planet more broadly. 

In this issue, we reflect back on the summer months and the excellent work presented at our annual conference, ongoing policy initiatives by our director and fellows, and the continuing efforts of our committees. Specifically, we hear from our outgoing and incoming SPSSI presidents. Additionally, we highlight research from several presenters from our summer conference, investigating issues that span SPSSI’s emphases in criminal justice, prejudice, education, and environmental issues. And we celebrate the life and works of the late Jim Sidanius, who died this June.  

We also hear about policy initiatives from our director, Taylor Fellow, and UN Committee: 

  • Sarah Mancoll (SPSSI Policy Director) explores the SPSSI partnership with Scholars at Risk and their current focus on helping colleagues in Afghanistan to leave the country and pursue work at foreign institutions 
  • Mikaela Spruill (Taylor Fellow) discusses her time as the Dalmas A. Taylor Memorial Summer Minority Policy Fellow, including the training she received and the issues she advocated for. 
  • Yasmin Hussein (SPSSI-UN) writes about a High Level Political Forum moderated by incoming president Linda Silka to integrate the elimination of systemic racism and racial and ethnic discrimination into the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

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