In light of current events it is incumbent on us, the School of Earth and Space Exploration community, to explicitly say: the lives of our Black students, staff, researchers, and faculty matter, as well as those of all other Black people in our communities and beyond. Though discrimination extends to many other groups, the long history of racial violence and inequity against Black people in the United States, including but not limited to the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many other victims, requires us to specifically pronounce our commitment to their health, safety, well-being and prosperity.
Dismantling the systems of inequity and discrimination in our academic environment, requires our School to take a hard look at our policies, practices, and structures. We must be prepared to admit our ignorance, our prejudices, our fears, and our mistakes. We commit to embracing new ideas and voices, changing course, reaching for higher levels of understanding, and taking action regarding racism, in the same way that we are committed to discovery and exploration in Earth and space science.
We will continue to diversify our student body, faculty and staff. We will re-examine and build anew our approach to Equity (“fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and fairness in access to information and resources”) and Inclusion (“building a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people”).
To start this process, School of Earth and Space Exploration leadership and those of us in privileged positions have some learning to do ourselves. If you are willing, we want your help and input on how to move forward. We are holding listening sessions where members of the school community can share their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions about how we can achieve these goals. We will collect and respond to these thoughts during our Community Conversations in the coming year.
As noted by President Crow in his message to the ASU community, we are part of an aspirational institution that is built on the notion of maximum social inclusion, maximum academic excellence, and maximum impact on serving our communities. However, we are not yet as capable as we need to be to reach these goals. So we join in the call to action to our community to help us be more capable of achieving our collective dream of a diverse community that is just and equitable for all its members. We also encourage everyone in our school community to use their scientific and knowledge building skills to learn about the roots of current events and find your role in changing a system that harms our friends, colleagues and family members. If you're looking for a place to start to educate yourself about the topics at hand, here is a starting list of resources: bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES.
The following are some relevant links at ASU:
Inclusion at ASU: https://inclusion.asu.edu
Office of Equity & Inclusion: https://cfo.asu.edu/DEI
Diversity & equity studies certificate program: https://newcollege.asu.edu/diversity-and-equity-studies
If you’re in need of support during these stressful times, here are some links to go to:
To end, we want to say to the Black members of our community: We see you. You have a voice in our community that we want to hear. We will do better. Insofar as you want to give us guidance, we will take it.
Meenakshi (Mini) Wadhwa, Director
Ramon Arrowsmith, Deputy Director
Chris Groppi, AD Undergraduate Studies
Hilairy Hartnett, AD Graduate Studies and Inclusive Community
Patrick Young, AD Community Outreach and Inclusive Community