EES Anti-Racism Statement

Dear Fresno State Earth & Environmental Sciences (EES) Community: 

We are writing to express our solidarity and support of our African American students and colleagues and to affirm that Black lives matter. Anti-Black violence—including the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, the murder of Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of white supremacist vigilantes, and the racialized threats made against Christian Cooper—must end. California Faculty Association-Fresno Chapter recently released a resolution condemning police brutality, which we support. We honor the work of the Fresno State NAACP Student Chapter, of which some EES students are members. These student leaders have organized demonstrations and follow up actions in our local Fresno community to address disparities in social, economic, and environmental outcomes for African American residents, which are a result of a history of discriminatory policies, practices, and attitudes.

No field of science is neutral or “colorblind.” The sciences, including geosciences, have participated in the discrimination, oppression, and erasure of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) throughout history.  Failure to acknowledge racism and oppression is one of the reasons we still have work to do to increase the representation of BIPOC in the geosciences. But we have the power to transform our society and this country when we acknowledge our history and commit to change. We as a department commit to the following actions in the 2020-2021 Academic Year: 

  1. Bring in experts to help our department assess our department climate and outcomes for BIPOC students, and develop an action plan for better recruitment, support, and outcomes for BIPOC students.

  2. Apply to become a 2021 AGU Bridge Member Institution to better recruit, support, retain, and promote BIPOC graduate students. 

  3. Continue to use our speaker seminar series to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity by setting goals for the gender, racial/ethnic, and career diversity of speakers; providing space for students to learn about different educational and career paths of our speakers; posting pictures and bios of speakers around the EES department; and providing meaningful professional development for early career speakers.

  4. Identify opportunities for students to share their experiences and contribute perspectives and concerns related to racism, exclusion, and discrimination of any kind. 

  5. Increase the racial/ethnic and gender diversity of our faculty in future hires by implementing strategic application, evaluating, and recruiting practices (timeline may vary depending on when new searches are approved for our department).

 

We encourage all faculty, students, and staff to take action that supports Black people and promotes equity and inclusion for everyone in the geosciences community (see How to be an anti-racist Ally from the Paleontological Society for more resources). We welcome your input on all of these actions, and additional suggestions missing from the above. For our department, not all these goals are new, but we know we must do better and that the commitment needs to be long term. In the words of Angela Davis, “it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” We are aware that goals and attainments are not identical—and that publicizing goals is a path to attainment.

Sincerely, 

 

Ben Andersen, Instructional Support Technician

Jeff Anglen, Lecturer

Mara Brady, Associate Professor

Robert Dundas, Professor

Aric Mine, Assistant Professor

Christopher Pluhar, Professor

Keith Putirka, Professor

Mathieu Richaud, Associate Professor

John Wakabayashi, Professor

Zhi Wang, Professor

Beth Weinman, Associate Professor

Kerry Workman Ford, Lecturer

 

 

Note: This statement does not necessarily represent the views of the University in general or all faculty in the College of Science and Math (CSM) nor does the absence of a signature above mean other faculty in CSM do not support this statement in whole or part. Some of this text was adapted from and inspired by the Paleontological Society’s call to action. We encourage you to look into other professional science and geoscience societies to find additional anti-racist resources, what actions they plan to take in the coming months and years, and how you can get involved.