Ecology Faculty Statement Against Racism

Ecologists know that nature functions better with increased diversity. Similarly, research groups and institutions function better with more diverse students, faculty, and staff. However, these goals are compromised by systemic racism against people of color. The recent horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others have highlighted that systemic racism persists. Discrimination and racial bias have been, and continue to be, barriers in ecology for Black scientists and other people of color. This discrimination affects students everywhere, including our students in San Diego, Davis, and wherever they conduct research. As noted by our professional societies like the Ecology Society of America and the Western Society of Naturalists, we have an obligation to speak out against racial injustice. We, the Ecology Faculty at SDSU, wholeheartedly reject racism and commit to working to eliminate inequities and bias in our labs, classrooms, and the field to create anti-racist environments in which undergraduate, MS students, PhD students, and staff feel safe and supported. To improve diversity and equity in the SDSU Ecology Program, we support 1) eliminating barriers to successfully recruiting black students (e.g. reducing the financial burden of grad school, removing GRE requirements), 2) increasing the representation of Black scientists in our course reading lists and seminar speaker list, 3) improving the recruitment and retention of Black faculty/staff and other Underrepresented minority faculty/staff, 4) changing Ecology curricula (e.g. increased consideration of environmental justice, development of new courses), 5) developing and supporting K-12 outreach efforts in underrepresented communities, 6) improving the dialogue between students, faculty, and staff, and 7) listening to and supporting key campus groups (e.g. Student Affairs and Diversity, Afrikan Student Union, Marine Ecology and Biology Student Association, Biology Graduate Student Association, Biology Diversity Committee). To help hold us accountable, we will make sure all students, faculty, and staff understand they can use the Inclusive SDSU system to report any instances of bias that they may experience.

The Ecology Program Area (EPA) of the Biology Department is a successful, dynamic program area with a long history of excellence. The EPA is one of the strongest research and teaching units in the California State University system as measured by grant activity, faculty accomplishments, advanced degrees awarded, and success of its students.

The mission and vision of the EPA is to provide excellence in research and education in ecology and environmental biology. Our goal is to provide the best possible education to the next generation of scientists through research, teaching, mentoring, and service.

To continue our tradition of excellence, we are committed to development and innovation by: