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CEO DATELINE – Political science group apologizes for statement about Capitol attack

Jan. 12, 2021
By Kathryn Walson

Following a backlash from members, the American Political Science Association on Monday apologized for a Jan. 7 statement calling on public officials on “both sides” to do better after the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, Inside Higher Ed reported.

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“We deeply regret the use of the phrase ‘both sides.’ The term evoked deeply harmful rhetoric,” APSA said in a Jan. 11 statement signed by Executive Director Steven Rathgeb Smith, President Janet Box-Steffensmeier and other elected officers.

“To be clear: Numerous elected Republicans in the Senate, the House and the President of the United States acted dangerously and in ways that betrayed their oaths to the Constitution,” the Jan. 11 statement continues. “They bear responsibility and are accountable for the horrific and deadly actions on January 6th. We will amend the previous statement to reflect these points.”

The final paragraph of the Jan. 7 statement, which was unsigned, called for “agreement by both sides to do better and work together to dismantle the systems and structures that lead to the harm.”

Upon publication of the Jan. 7 statement, APSA members began to ask who wrote and approved it, Inside Higher Ed reported. Several members of the governing council said they were not consulted, the news outlet reported.

Smith told Inside Higher Ed via email Monday that most statements don’t go before the full council because of its size.

“What happened Wednesday (Jan. 6) was such an unforgivable tragedy on so many levels, we wanted to quickly and clearly condemn anything related to the Insurrection. Unfortunately, in our haste, we chose the wrong words for the wrong time,” Smith wrote to the news outlet.