The University of California, Irvine, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) strongly believes that Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with Black communities, and we condemn acts of racially motivated police murder and brutality. We support widespread reform of law enforcement and criminal justice, which is necessary to combat anti-Black racism.
We acknowledge that anti-Black racism permeates many aspects of society, and only substantive structural and cultural change will lead to racial justice. Furthermore, aspects of our society and scientific institutions have perpetuated anti-Blackness at UCI and in the communities we serve. We recognize that previous attempts to build equity in academia and within our department and communities, while motivated by sincere and dedicated individuals, have not been widely supported or adopted. Moreover, lasting change will require focus and active engagement from the entire university community. As scientists, we reject the notion that science is separate from societal issues and inherently non-racist. Countering anti-Black racism requires that we recognize the social context for science and adopt anti-racist practices.
- To actively engage in issues relating to anti-Black racism, police brutality, and state-sanctioned violence in our local communities.
- To advocate on behalf of those with less privilege.
- To remove and/or amend any departmental policies that perpetuate anti-Black ideas.
- To build an inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist climate school wide, beginning in our laboratories, classrooms, and the department in order to support and promote the work of Black scholars.
- To create a sense of belonging for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in our department and communities.
- To identify and remove barriers to inclusion in our recruitment and mentoring practices.
- To implement long-term and recurring anti-racism education in an effort to continue learning about anti-Black racism and develop evolving strategies to eliminate it from our departmental practices.
- To constructively receive feedback and critiques of departmental operations in order to give every member of our community a voice.
- To admit and be transparent when we fail to uphold anti-racist values or to reject systems of white supremacy.
In keeping with our pledges, we have established an anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ARDEI) working group. The ARDEI working group includes undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff in the EEB department and affiliated Centers, Programs, and Initiatives. One key aim of the ARDEI working group is to help the EEB department develop plans of action for improving policies, recruitment and outreach efforts, research, and teaching practices related to supporting BIPOC. This working group is dedicated to facilitating long-term changes with the intention of creating a culture of anti-racism where BIPOC members of our community feel welcomed and thrive. By the start of Fall 2020, the ARDEI working group will submit a detailed plan for departmental actions and resource needs that address our pledges.
As previously mentioned, we acknowledge the deep history of systemic racism that plagues academic institutions, and we acknowledge that our efforts to eliminate anti-Black racism both within the EEB department and the School of Biological Sciences can be vastly improved. We are committed to fulfilling our pledges and will do better as a department to build a culture that is anti-racist, safe, and supportive for BIPOC at UCI and in the communities we serve.