John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a college of the City University of New York, has announced grants totaling $2.5 million from the Ford Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies to establish a professorship in policing equity.
Grants of $1.5 million from Ford and $1 million from Atlantic will endow a professorship named for Franklin A. Thomas, who served as president of the Ford Foundation from 1979 to 1996 and also has served as an assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, as founding president of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, as chair of the September 11th Fund, and on the board of the TFF Study Group, a nonprofit institution working to advance development in South Africa. Social psychologist Phillip Atiba Goff, a leading scholar on the phenomenon of implicit bias, has been named as the inaugural Franklin A. Thomas Professor in Policing Equity.
Goff is co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity at the University of California, Los Angeles, a "research and action think tank" that brings together law enforcement agencies and researchers to study issues of race and implicit bias and provide a scientific basis for reforms in police departments. Goff will relocate the Center for Policing Equity to John Jay and continue his research there. In support of the center, the newly launched Thurgood Marshall Institute at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund has named Goff one of its inaugural senior fellows; in that role, Goff will develop an undergraduate fellowship program for John Jay students that prepares them for careers in civil rights work related to issues of race and policing.
"We need to do more to understand and fight bias in our criminal justice system," said Ford Foundation president Darren Walker. "Every day, we see how inequality affects the policing of communities of color. Frank Thomas has dedicated his life to building bridges and advancing fairness and justice. This professorship at John Jay is a meaningful way to pay tribute to his legacy — and to contribute to real progress."