Statement of Support & Action from the Division of Science

Statement of support and action from the Division of Science (incorporating the departments of biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics and psychology, and the programs of biological physics, genetic counseling, linguistics, neuroscience and quantitative biology).

#ConcernedStudents2015 calls on the University to fulfill its mission and commitment to social justice and inclusion especially as it relates to the conditions surrounding our black and other underrepresented minority students. The Division of Science declares solidarity with the vision expressed by the students that occupied the Bernstein-Marcus Building. The issues to which they call our attention are serious and urgent. Increasing the diversity and inclusiveness throughout the University are goals that we share.

We are acutely aware of the lack of diversity in the Division, at all levels. This reflects, in part, the small number of black and minority students entering the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics), and the problem reaches back into the K-12 education system. For some years, we have been actively taking steps to try and change this. These outreach efforts include those listed below, and we continue to actively seek additional avenues to increase diversity throughout the Division.

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows teaching in the Transitional Year Program
Science Posse (75% underrepresented minorities)
National Science Foundation funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU):
Materials Research Science and Engineering Center REU (goal for this year is 100% underrepresented minority students)
Molecular and Cell Biology REU (> 50% underrepresented minority students)
Recruiting graduate students through SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science), and at ABRCMS (Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students), U Mass Boston, U Mass Lowell, and other local colleges with large minority populations.
Host six research fellows from Hampton University, an Historically Black University, in Brandeis laboratories for one year each, with the aim to transition them to tenure-track faculty positions.
Working with students and faculty in Waltham High School (50% minority students)
Recruiting minority undergraduates in the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, for fully paid summer research internships at Brandeis.

We endorse the actions and goals set out in the letter from interim President Lisa Lynch on December 1. We commit to working as partners with all constituents of the University to realize these goals. While we recognize that many of our shared aspirations cannot be accomplished in a short time frame, we appreciate and support the efforts of our colleagues to move forward with policies and programs to increase diversity and inclusion on campus. The issues raised by #ConcernedStudents2015 are important to us as scientists, teachers, and members of this community. We look forward to participating in ongoing education, dialogue, policy formulation and action to make Brandeis University the inclusive and diverse community that it aspires to be.

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