Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Chancellor Perman released a powerful statement, co-signed by all the USM Presidents, on the University System of Maryland's position on the rising racism, bigotry, and violence against minorities. The statement is posted here.
These disturbing times challenge us to reflect on our values to ensure that there is no place for any form of racism or discrimination in our institution and to reaffirm our commitment to ensuring diversity of all kinds within all facets of our enterprise. We must be the change we wish to see in the world (Mahatma Gandhi).
During the development of the UMCES Strategic Initiatives, the most pervasive issue in the institutional deliberations focused on the lack of diversity in the Earth and Ocean Sciences. This is particularly striking as minority groups are often most heavily impacted by their environments. We learned from our students, staff, and faculty that social justice and environmental justice is the universal concern and cross-cutting theme. We heard that the desire to provide opportunity is a common thread across all our units. The insights from our community included the fundamental values of fairness and ensuring that the U.S. strives toward equal opportunity under shifting demographics—but this national imperative has many other facets.
The face of the U.S. workforce must reflect the face of America to ensure a talented workforce is available and continues economic growth which sustains global leadership. America is the global leader—for good or for bad—and our actions have a global impact. This has been evidenced by the rapid spread of demonstrations for positive change motivated by the killing of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, not only across the U.S in cities both big and small, but also in many major cities around the world.
UMCES garners international recognition for our research and our alumni's influence on the environment. We also take pride in our understanding of how our research serves society. This is bolstered by our commitment to contribute to break down structural racism and oppose all forms of bigotry.
UMCES is committed to cultivating inclusivity, equity, and diversity in a supportive environment. We are committed to be an exemplar of environmental science professionals reflecting the face of the communities served by its work. Societal relevance of scientific research improves when supported by a diverse workforce. (UMCES Strategic Initiatives, 2019)
We will continue dialogue across UMCES, be cognizant of the mental health stress arising from both the pandemic and injustice crises, and that ensure we are reaching out to all our community for support.
Please continue to take care of your families, colleagues, and communities as we overcome these turbulent times.