Below is a message sent to The Graduate Center STEM community on June 9, 2020.
Dear Graduate Center STEM Community,
Earlier this week, Interim President Muyskens announced his intention for The Graduate Center to redouble its commitment and expand its equity and inclusion work. Today, we take an early step in this effort by asking The Graduate Center STEM community to join in the #ShutDownSTEM day of action scheduled for Wednesday, June 10th. It is designed to recognize the critical role of the STEM profession in defeating anti-Black racism.
The day aims to focus STEM communities on designing action plans for rooting out the implicit bias and other inequities that limit the careers of scientists who are Black and negatively impact Black communities, which far too often bear the brunt of bad science policy and biased research. Wednesday’s effort is focused on anti-Black bias given recent events that have highlighted a need for the country to reckon with its long history of dangerous discrimination and violence targeting Black people. We recognize that other members of our community also experience racism, gender discrimination, and forms of bias that must be eliminated from STEM academic and professional communities. Our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are committed to changing these dynamics.
Universities across the country are participating in tomorrow’s #ShutDownSTEM day of action, and we hope you can join. We all can set aside an hour or two to begin the critical work of exploring how our own unrecognized beliefs may serve to perpetuate biases and developing a personal plan for addressing them. To that end, we are sharing and strongly encouraging you to check out the following resources to help you begin this journey:
- Understand and recognize how anti-Blackness often shows up in academia
- Learn why Black and Latinx students leave STEM fields at much higher rates than their white counterparts
- Check out these resources on working to advance racial equity
- Explore NSF and NIH recommendations for eliminating bias and increasing diversity
- Learn how to stand in solidarity with STEM colleagues of color
- Understand the importance of mentoring to improve diversity in STEM by readingHow Mentoring Could Improve Diversity and Inclusion in STEM and checking out the National Research Mentoring Network
- Tap these resources for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within STEM academic and professional communities
- Share your commitment to eradicating anti-Black bias in STEM on your social channels by using the #ShutDownSTEM and #GCEquity hashtags and shareable graphics found here
- Check out the legacy of scientists who are Black
- Identify critical targets for robust recruitment of Black graduate student and postdocs into your programs by exploring top STEM historically Black colleges and professional organizations representing Blacks in STEM.
- Expand your efforts to recruit Native American scholars
- See How Graduate Center Scholars are addressing these issues in areas outside of STEM
- Check out recent findings by Graduate Center researchers that have implications for how to retain students of color in STEM majors.
All change begins with education. All education begins with self-exploration.
We look forward to working with all of you in the coming months in the spirit of Interim President Muyskens’ message to make the GC Sciences and the ASRC a welcoming and inclusive community.
Dean for the Sciences, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Associate Dean for the Sciences, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Executive Director, CUNY Advanced Science Research Center