Biology Department Statement Supporting Anti-Racism

Written: June 15, 2020
Last Updated: June 17, 2020

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The Biology Department at Washington & Jefferson College supports statements from the W&J Black Student Union, the W&J Student Government Association, other faculty, staff and administrators, and President Knapp in condemning the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other Black Americans at the hands of police and vigilante violence. We stand with all members of our community in acknowledging that racism exists within our own institution, and we vow to fight racism and promote anti-racism at all times.

We acknowledge that our discipline of Biology has been complicit and has acted in a racist manner, including such events as the Tuskegee syphilis experiments and the dehumanizing treatment of Henrietta Lacks. We recognize that we still have much work to do, both locally and nationally, to make our field of Biology a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive discipline.

In order to achieve this goal, we will look inward. We pledge to examine our practices to ensure that we increase our support for Black students. Visibility matters. We will develop efforts to diversify our faculty and promote the work of Black biologists. We will examine our curriculum and identify areas where we need to change to ensure support for Black students and all other students of color. Most importantly, we will listen to the voices of Black students, alumni, and colleagues to help inform our practices.

Now is a time for action, not just words. We are committed to being agents of positive change and anti-racism. As faculty, we will work to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment in our department and college. Juncta Juvant.

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