Statement in solidarity with underrepresented groups in STEM from the University of California, Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Our department has been moved by ongoing violence against the Black community, and the Black Lives Matter movement, to act in solidarity with all underrepresented groups in STEM. Although systemic racism, sexism, and ableism are not new, national protests and the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on already marginalized people have catalyzed the development of a departmental action plan to promote equity and inclusion. We recognize our responsibility to identify and correct institutional biases experienced by our students, staff, and faculty.
As a department, we pledge to act in solidarity with all underrepresented groups who wish to engage with our research, teaching and outreach programs. We welcome to our department people of all races, ethnicities, identities, and spiritual or religious beliefs. In particular, we recognize the unique struggles of Black and Indigenous scientists, and seek to be a platform for their voices. In STEM fields, countless identities have been marginalized--including women, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities--and all deserve to be recognized, acknowledged, respected, and included. We are working to build a department in which discriminatory behavior will not be tolerated, condoned or brushed aside. We acknowledge that the very land on which UC Davis stands, has, for thousands of years, been the home of Patwin people, committed to the stewardship of the land. We are honored and grateful to engage in our work on their traditional lands.
We also acknowledge that given the history of disadvantages experienced by underrepresented groups, the path to equality in STEM will require persistence and a commitment to science-based approaches to course-correct effectively. Toward this end, we recently created a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee to guide our department toward eliminating discrimination and maximizing inclusiveness. The faculty committee has drafted a set of goals and action items and, in collaboration with graduate students and staff, has begun addressing these action items. Our overarching goals include:
- Foster an inclusive culture through continued education, training, and department-wide community building events.
- Develop clear channels that allow students, faculty, and staff to report discriminatory behavior without fear of retribution.
- Promote the diversity of our community by recruiting, supporting, and retaining members from backgrounds underrepresented in entomology and nematology.
- Revise our curriculum to promote awareness of the contributions and value of underrepresented and marginalized people and perspectives in entomology and nematology.
- Hold ourselves accountable by creating an action plan toward a departmental climate wherein our community feels that diversity is valued.
To ensure that these goals remain at the forefront the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee will be a permanent element of our department.