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June 5, 2020

Message of solidarity, commitment to equity from department leadership

Dear ATS and CIRA community,

Several months into being isolated in our homes due to the global pandemic, we are processing the devastating events happening across the country including the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others, and the resulting protests against the pattern of police violence against black people and people of color.

These events continue to highlight the fact that racism in our country is a long-standing systemic issue. The Department of Atmospheric Science and CIRA stand in solidarity with the black members of our community. Our departments’ success in research and outreach is very much a result of collaboration with diverse teams across the nation and world. While not all of us may have felt the direct result of systemic racism and discrimination, we see those who have and we stand with you. We are here for you.

AMS released a statement on racism and inequity with a call to action worth repeating: “We are all called to stand up when we see racial injustice and to understand our own implicit biases and how those impact our colleagues. Only in this way can we break down the structure of systemic racism and inequities and best serve society with our science.”

Now is the time to educate ourselves on racism and bias, take action on what we can do as individuals and as departments, and stand together to fight for equity.

ATS and CIRA are aware of the importance of action and have already taken several steps. Just this spring, ATS was one of 14 departments accepted into the AGU Bridge program. This program is focused on inclusive practices for recruiting, admitting and retaining women and underrepresented minorities in STEM graduate programs. Through this partnership, the department hopes to produce better science by having a more diverse student body.

The formation of the ATS/CIRA Diversity and Inclusion Committee has been another important step. The committee is exploring means of conducting a survey by a third party on the experiences and perceptions of diversity and inclusivity within ATS and CIRA. This assessment will be used to identify and prioritize areas of need so that appropriate workshops, seminars and trainings can be offered to the ATS/CIRA community. The committee also has started putting together a diversity and inclusion resource library as well as organizing student international lunch hours. There is much more that can be done. If you have ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out to members of the committee.

If you have not yet read AMS’s statement on racism and inequity, we strongly encourage you to do so. Please also read Dean McLean’s message, as it includes links to other resources, such as the CSU Office of the Vice President for Diversity’s note of solidarity.

Jeff and Chris

ATS/CIRA Diversity Committee Members:
Libby Barnes
Julieta Juncosa Calahorrano
Emily Fischer
Leah Grant
Alex Naegele
Dave Randall
Sagar Rathod
Matt Rogers
Sarah Tisdale