Stand Against Racism in the STEM Community 

Dear Colleagues,

Andrew Petter recently released his Solidarity Against Racism statement in part as a response to anit-Black violence, the recent tragic events in the US, and the continued protests in the US and elsewhere. The leadership team in the Dean of Science Office would also like to acknowledge that this is an exceptionally difficult time for many of our students and fellow colleagues. Members of the Black and Indigenous communities and other racialized groups have been impacted especially hard. To those members, the Dean’s office extends our concern, support, and solidarity. The Faculty of Science is committed to making all members of the SFU Science community feel safe, respected, and valued; committed to listening to and responding to any concerns and suggestions for how we can do this more effectively; and committed to remedying the impact of obstacles created by historical or ongoing racism and colonialism affecting members of our community.

Members of racialized groups remain underrepresented in our Faculty and in Science more generally. It is important, therefore, to seek out and amplify the perspectives from underrepresented and racialized groups in science. It is also important that for those who are privileged to have not been so directly impacted by racism and by these more recent events, to listen, learn, and reflect on how we might better support our racialized students and colleagues. We will meaningfully work toward recognizing and addressing the systems that perpetuate racism within our Faculty.

The following resources provide additional context on these issues and how we can raise awareness about the impact of racism on our scientific community:

• Some thoughtful advice on how to best support your mentees during this time from Dr. Nii Addy, a Neuroscientist at Yale: https://twitter.com/DrNiiAddy/status/1267223036027187208

• The following twitter accounts are source for minority voices in STEM:

https://twitter.com/IndigeSTEAM

https://twitter.com/BlackAFinSTEM

https://twitter.com/MinoritySTEM

 

• To hear what our Black colleagues are saying, follow the #BlackintheIvory conversation on twitter.

• For the Canadian academic context, Malinda Smith – formerly a Political Science Professor at the University of Alberta and recently appointed as the Vice-Provost EDI at the University of Calgary – is an important voice to listen to: https://twitter.com/MalindaSmith

• For those wanting to read in more depth about anti-Black violence in Canada and learn other ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement in Canada and the US, SFU has compiled some excellent resources:

https://www.sfu.ca/edi/updates/news/2020/resources-and-calls-to-action-against-anti-black-racism-and-viol.html

To honour our commitment to foster a caring environment that promotes inclusion, fairness and mutual respect for every member of our Faculty, we will be actively developing an EDI strategy in the coming months. This effort will not only focus on the Faculty’s inclusion of members of equity-seeking groups, but it will also seek to engage all faculty, staff and students, including those who are members of the majority culture. This will be a major initiative for FoS and more details will be forthcoming. 

In the meantime, please be kind and listen to one another, particularly to those who are not used to being heard.

Kind regards,

Dr Paul Kench
Dean of Science

Dr Mary-Catherine Kropinski
Associate Dean Equity, Diversity, Inclusion