Violence and injustice against the Black communities persist in the 21st century. It is clear that we as Americans have much work to do to dismantle structural racism; which, after 400 years still permeates American social structures and continues to oppress and destroy the lives of peoples of color in the United States. As a great nation in a great land, we must do more in the cause of racial and social justice.
We affirm that Black Lives Matter.
The College of Sciences & Technology (CST) stands in solidarity with our fellow Americans in their call for racial justice, exercising their First Amendment right guaranteeing freedom of expression and freedom of assembly to hold our government power accountable. Bringing about racial and social justice will require acknowledging our direct and indirect complicity.
We recognize that
Greater Houston is conquered land previously inhabited by Indigenous Peoples of the Gulf Coast, notably Karankawas, Akokisas, Lipan Apache, Carrizo Comecrudo, Coahuiltecan, Alabama Coushatta; and is still home to over 70,000 Native Americans representing several Indigenous nationalities. Over 6.7 million immigrants now inhabit this land.
Institutional racism has shaped our culture in which People of Color, marginalized people of non-binary sex and gender identity, sensory & physically impaired people, and women have been historically denied the opportunities for education, employment, advancement, and "the pursuit of Happiness" via the policies, laws, and practices of America's institutions, including higher education and the "sciences."
Institutional racism is the combination of social and institutional power plus racial prejudice in the form of unconscious or unintentional bias, and drives marginalization of Black Americans, Indigenous Americans, Latinx, other people of color, LBGTQ+, and sensory & physically impaired people.
Institutional racism embedded in STEM research and education has abused and marginalized Black Americans, Indigenous Americans, Latinx, other people of color, LBGTQ+, and sensory & physically impaired people.
In this context and looking ahead,
the College of Sciences & Technology community is committed to Inclusive Excellence.
We understand that
Inclusive Excellence in STEM demands actions and outcomes that are grounded in the inclusion of all individuals from all backgrounds and identities, and is indistinguishable from excellence in scholarship, discovery, and innovation (American Association of Colleges & Universities, HHMI).
Inclusive Excellence requires a continuous, self-reflective anti-racist stance in all educational practices and policies. Thus, we dedicate ourselves to the education we need to understand the pervasiveness of institutional racism, White Supremacy, and White Privilege, and how to become anti-racist in daily practice as educators in STEM.
Faculty, staff, and students enter anti-racist work at different points and perspectives, and the work may never be complete; however, we all share a common goal in the academic and future success of all members of the CST community: students, faculty, and staff.
With this recognition, we in the CST community commit to developing an anti-racist stance wherein we interrogate, challenge, and change our educational and operational practices & policies that marginalize students, staff, and faculty, and thereby develop practices and policies that promote Inclusive Excellence.
Specific actions that the college will take to begin our work towards Inclusive Excellence* include but are not limited to
- Providing access to anti-racism training and workshops;
- Providing access to inclusive pedagogy workshops and literature to enhance the student learning experience;
- Working with faculty and staff to develop procedures and policies that better reduce institutional bias towards Black Americans, Indigenous Americans, Latinx, other People of Color, people of non-binary sex and gender identity, and sensory & physically impaired people in all college educational and professional practices; and
- Working with faculty and staff develop plans to formally engage in continuous self-reflection, individually and collectively, to build and nurture Inclusive Excellence in STEM.
*Supported in part by funding through the UHD SynergIE Program, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Initiative program.