CORE Lecture will use math to explore racial bias in policing

The second CORE Lecture of the Fall semester will be held virtually on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. and will be given by Dr. Lily Khadjavi, professor of mathematics at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Titled “Social Justice Mathematics: Policing and the Issue of Racial Profiling,” this upcoming lecture will use data from traffic stops to discuss the prevalence of racial profiling in policing.

Although racial profiling is not legal, many Americans believe it to be a regular police practice when stopping drivers. While routine traffic stops have not received the same media attention as incidents of police violence, the majority of public-police interactions occur during such stops. Data collected during traffic stops can help mathematicians like Dr. Khadjavi shine a bright light on policing and the law by analyzing trends. Who is searched and under what basis? Which drivers are asked to consent to searches, effectively waiving their Fourth Amendment rights? Racial and ethnic disparities in stops and searches raise important concerns about fairness.

Dr Lily Khadjavi, Professor of Mathematics at Loyola Marymount University

Dr Lily Khadjavi, Professor of Mathematics at Loyola Marymount University

Dr. Khadjavi’s focus as a mathematician lies in the intersections of mathematics and social justice and in broadening participation in the mathematical sciences. In 2020, she was appointed by the California State Attorney General to the Racial and Identity Profiling Act Board which works with the California Department of Justice. She has co-chaired the Infinite Possibilities Conference, a national research and mentoring conference aimed at supporting women of color in the mathematical sciences, and is the Principal Investigator for the Association for Women in Math’s NSF-funded travel and mentoring grant program.

Dr. Khadjavi also is co-editor of the book Mathematics for Social Justice: Resources for the College Classroom as well as the forthcoming volume Mathematics for Social Justice: Focusing on Quantitative Reasoning and Statistics. She serves on advisory boards for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley and Spectra, an association to support LGBTQ+ mathematicians.

Prior to attending Dr. Khadjavi’s lecture, it is recommended that you listen to her episode of the Relatively Prime podcast titled “You Have the Right.” This podcast episode will prepare you for her more in-depth analysis.

Join Dr. Khadjavi’s lecture for the CORE series here.

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