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Integrative Biology Diversity & Inclusivity Committee’s statement in response to racial violence

The Integrative Biology Department at UT is deeply saddened and disturbed by the recent killings of George Floyd, Michael Ramos, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor, who like countless others before them have lost their lives to acts of racial violence. Their deaths highlight the realities of systemic discrimination against the Black community and the deep inequities that persist in our society as a whole and in the city of Austin.

As educators and scientists, we are committed to building an inclusive and equitable environment, which begins with educating ourselves on the historical legacies of anti-Black racism in science and society, listening to one another, and reflecting on ways we can actively engage to create a path forward. The burden of educating and calling people to action has often been placed on the shoulders of Black communities, and we recognize the disparity in this burden on minority communities within our own department. We call for an end to this. We are committed to addressing systemic inequities and building a stronger and more inclusive community.

We recognize that we have a long way to go until Black scientists feel supported and safe on campus and in our community, and that these issues are intersectional and also affect other minority communities. We ask everyone to take action and make our department a more inclusive and welcoming environment for students, faculty, and staff: https://cns.utexas.edu/diversity/monthly-actions. In particular, we ask faculty to be strong in their support of each individual lab member, checking in with all members, opening discussions about race and privilege in academia, and prioritizing mental health and well-being above anything else. We ask that faculty recognize their position of power and privilege and take action. For all our colleagues, we suggest these actions to start: listen to and amplify the voices of Black peers, learn about the history of anti-Black racism in science and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, attend anti-racism symposia at conferences, request Black scientists as invited speakers and nominate them for awards (see, e.g. https://diversifyeeb.com/), and acknowledge the history of racist scientific practices in teaching and research. For information about ongoing efforts in our department, please speak with a member of our D&I Committee or check out our website: https://integrativebio.utexas.edu/about/diversity-inclusivity-mission-statement.

  • Integrative Biology Diversity & Inclusivity Committee and Integrative Biology Chair, Claus Wilke

 

We are also proud to support the statements made by our colleagues at UT and beyond:

CNS - Dean Goldbart’s statement:

https://cns.utexas.edu/news/message-from-the-college-of-natural-sciences

Grad School - Dean Mark Smith’s statement:

https://gradschool.utexas.edu/news/message-dean-mark-j-t-smith-protests-and-unrest

UT Coalition of Diversity and Inclusion Officer’s statement:

https://provost.utexas.edu/news/statement-coalition-diversity-and-inclusion-officers-ut-austin

Resources at UT:

UT Support Services: https://cns.utexas.edu/students/support

UT Counseling and Mental Health Services: https://cmhc.utexas.edu/

Student Emergency Services: https://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/emergency/

Black Voices: A Supportive Group For Black Students: https://cmhc.utexas.edu/groups.html

Campus Climate Response Team: https://diversity.utexas.edu/ccrt/

Relevant society statements:

American Society for Naturalists statement:

https://www.amnat.org/announcements/BLM.h

Ecological Society of America - ESA Public Affairs statement:

https://www.esa.org/esablog/ecology-in-the-news/news-events/letter-to-the-community/

Genetics Society of America - President Denise Montell’s statement:

http://genestogenomes.org/racism-is-everyones-problem/

Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science - President Sonia I. Zárate’s statement:

https://www.sacnas.org/2020/06/01/sacnas-stands-in-solidarity-with-black-communities-condemns-racial-injustice/

Society for the Study of Evolution - President Ruth Shaw’s statement:

http://www.evolutionsociety.org/news/display/2020/6/2/statement-against-racism-and-racial-injustice/

Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology - President Barney Schlinger’s statement:

https://sbn.org/news/news/message-from-the-president.aspx

Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles statement:
http://ssar.wildapricot.org/resources/Message%20to%20SSAR%20membership_2%20June%202020_racism.pdf

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biologists - President Beth Brainerd’s statement:

https://mailchi.mp/66565f4edee2/discussionresource-sharing-site-for-online-teaching-of-invertebrate-zoology-388418?e=1b67ea7a25