The STEM departments at Barnard (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Math, Neuroscience and Behavior, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology) join the millions of people around the world who are saying “enough” – enough race-based killing, enough brutality, enough systematic injustices that deprive people of life, liberty and peace. It feels long overdue to say this publicly, but we believe that “Black Lives Matter”. We reaffirm our commitment to Barnard’s Diversity Mission statement (below) and look forward to actively working with others to bring change to our communities and the United States. Chairs from each department will be reaching out to their respective majors in the next few weeks to schedule a time to actively listen and to talk. If you have questions for us before then, please reach out. Together we will develop action plans for our departments and offer suggestions for ways to work effectively in our communities. The conversation between President Beilock and Stacey Abrams on the Barnard homepage offers advice, and inspiration, as well.
Barnard’s core mission is to rigorously educate and empower women, providing them with the ability to think, discern, and move effectively in the world—a world that is different from when the College was founded. Now more than ever, the success of our mission depends on the extent to which our community is diverse, inclusive, and equitable. We know that academic excellence is impossible without the unique perspectives, ideas, approaches and contributions that come from having the broadest diversity of students, faculty and staff across the College.
Our definition of diversity encompasses structural and social differences that form the basis of inequality in our society, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic class, disability, religion, citizenship status and country of origin. Moreover, our concern is with how differences in power and possibilities align with social categories and identities, and how these differences distinguish individuals and groups in ways that privilege some and constrain others.
To become the inclusive community we aspire to be, we must treat each other equitably and with respect, creating an environment where no voices are silenced and all of us can thrive. Together, our commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity has the potential to disrupt and transform entrenched practices and thinking. And as a result, it will hold Barnard accountable to its goal of graduating students who are engaged world citizens possessed of a discerning intelligence, an understanding of inequity and power, and moral courage.
Reprinted, June 10, 2020,
Barnard Environmental Science Department