To the Earth Sciences Community at The Ohio State University:
We in the School of Earth Sciences at The Ohio State University stand against systemic racism, which disproportionately hurts Black people and people of color in our community and the field of Earth Sciences. The consequences of systemic racism range from personal to societal. Students and researchers of color are systematically discouraged—both implicitly and explicitly—from pursuing careers and discoveries in Earth Sciences, leaving our field poorer for its lack of diversity. Solutions to the most pressing scientific questions require research teams with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, which can only happen through significant and lasting efforts to support diversity in Earth Sciences and in science more broadly.
We see the great work that needs to be done in our School and academic field to create a climate of equity and inclusion, where all students, faculty, and staff have equal opportunities and treatment. This work too often falls on people of minority and underrepresented groups. We must work collectively and energetically to eliminate racism, inequality, and exclusion in Earth Sciences. Our Commitment Toward that end, we are in the process of developing actionable items to make our School of Earth Sciences a more equitable and inclusive place for students, faculty, and staff. Over the past several years, we have taken positive steps, including the formation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and establishment of a Code of Conduct, but the problem of systemic racism cannot be solved with committees or statements alone—it requires the day to day effort of individuals and groups of individuals working together. We commit to taking more transformative steps, beginning with the following 5 goals for the 2020/2021 academic year:
- Establish anti-racism and anti-bias training in an effort to foster a more inclusive environment. Training will be required annually for our faculty, staff, and graduate students. We will track participation rates and make the information available to our School.
- Consult with OSU, ODI, and professional Earth Sciences organizations on creating climate surveys that can help us understand the problems of bias and racism in our School and evaluate our progress in addressing them. Our ultimate goal is to use these surveys to review, evaluate and guide our anti-racism and DEI efforts annually.
- Incorporate anti-racism in our curricula and programs. We will seek opportunities to highlight diverse voices in Earth Sciences and teach on issues of systemic racism and environmental justice, wherever possible so that our Earth Sciences students learn the nature of structural racism and inequity in the sciences. We will also seek to equip our faculty and teaching assistants with inclusive teaching skills.
- Evaluate and amend our degree/program admissions and internal awards criteria to eliminate bias and barriers that disproportionately affect students of color and other minorities.
- Create a list of resources for our website on how to be an active bystander and combat racism on both personal levels and in our teaching, mentorship, and research.
This list of action items is only a starting point. It takes time and conscientious effort by all of us to overcome the momentum of racial injustice in our School, our campus, and our scientific field. We will continue to evaluate progress towards our existing goals and set new ones in order to cultivate an equitable and inclusive culture.
Any acts of racism or prejudice will not be tolerated at any level. We understand that those targeted by such heinous acts may not initially feel safe or comfortable with taking action against offenders. The university has established the Bias Assessment and Response Team (BART) reporting system for victims and bystanders/witnesses, located here . More options on anonymous reporting are available in our code of conduct. Retribution against those who report is not tolerated, as outlined in the university’s Whistleblower Policy.