Faculty Experts Share Comments on the Transition to a Biden Presidency

Miguel Diaz-Barriga

Anthropology professor Miguel Diaz-Barriga has more than a decade of experience studying the impact of the U.S. Mexico border wall alongside UR anthropology professor Margaret Dorsey. The two are the authors of “Fencing in Democracy: Border Walls, Necrocitizenship, and the Security Stateand can speak to Biden's stance on border wall security and immigration.

"Looking ahead to this next presidency, we should support Biden's agenda to address the root causes of migration from Central America and to provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented migrants in the United States. Additionally, we must also reverse the legislation that allows the Department of Homeland Security to construct the border wall by waiving all laws."

Crystal Hoyt

Leadership studies professor and social psychologist Crystal Hoyt, is an expert on the stereotypes and barriers women and minorities face in leadership. Hoyt is available to comment on Kamala Harris's historic leadership role as Vice President as well as other members of Biden's diverse administration

"When people choose their leaders, they often prefer those who 'fit' their intuitive notions of a leader. Americans’ lay beliefs about leaders are predominantly masculine and white. Not only do women and people of color experience barriers to leadership, but women of color also can experience what social scientists term “double jeopardy” — suffering a heightened disadvantage due to the effects of both gender and racial animus, as Chisholm described."

Jenny Pribble

Jenny Pribble, a political science professor and leading expert on Latin American politics, can discuss how a Biden presidency might influence U.S. relations with Latin America.

“Biden has signaled a desire to move away from Donald Trump’s approach, emphasizing partnership, development, and the promotion of democracy in Latin America. His rhetoric, however, is not likely to be fully enacted due to a tension that has always characterized U.S. policy in the region: how to balance goals of democratic strengthening versus U.S. economic interests and security concerns. Historically, the U.S. has tended to favor the latter at the expense of democracy and the protection of human rights. Importantly, if Biden wishes to collaborate with the region, he will need partners in Latin America who find it in their own political interest to work with him and it’s not clear who those leaders might be."

Tracy Roof

Political science professor Tracy Roof researches the impact of American political institutions on policy development and organized labor's influence on American politics and policy.  An expert on the SNAP program and the history of food stamps, she is currently working on a book project titled, Nutrition, Welfare, or Work Support? A Political History of the Food Stamp Program. Roof can speak to the Biden administration's approach to tackling poverty and food insecurity.

"Biden's agenda for combatting food insecurity does suggest that it will have a much greater prominence under his administration than it has under the Trump administration, which consistently tried to cut back access to food assistance for many groups. The Trump administration has been motivated by a belief that recipients of government benefits become dependent on them and that the safety net reduces incentives to work.  Whereas the Biden administration will be motivated by the desire to reduce hunger and make benefits widely accessible as a way to protect people without work or in poorly paid work in a faltering economy.  This is part of a much broader agenda to confront poverty, which remained high even as the economy recovered from the last recession."

Bob Spires

Education professor Bob Spires, can provide insight on public education issues that the Biden administration will need to address and what needs to be prioritized by the new Secretary of Education.

"We need leaders like the new Secretary of Education to be pro-education, not just pro-charter school management companies. Betsy Devos did a significant amount of damage to public education and had the explicit intent to undermine the public education system throughout her tenure. We need to not only do some damage control on all of the profit-driven initiatives she led but fully commit to real investment and improvement in the public schools in all settings and at all levels if we are to turn the tide of this teacher shortage crisis tsunami that is already at the shore."

David Wilkins headshot

Leadership studies professor David Wilkins is a citizen of the Lumbee Nation of North Carolina and his research concentrates on Native politics and governance. He has focused much of his work on the political and legal relationships between Native nations and the intergovernmental affairs between Native peoples and states and Native peoples and the federal government and can discuss Deb Haaland's historic appointment to lead the Department of Interior.

"Biden’s decision to nominate Deb Haaland, a citizen of the Laguna Pueblo and a congressional representative from New Mexico, suggests that he is serious about not only according Indigenous peoples a major policy presence in his administration on a level never seen before, but more importantly that he is open to learning about and hopefully implementing elements of the traditional environmental knowledge that Rep. Haaland brings to the policy table, knowledge that might help to reverse many of the destructive environmental decisions of the Trump administration."