Addressing Racism Together

Addressing Racism Together

We reject hateful and completely unacceptable attempts to isolate and harm Black members of our campus community

October 1, 2021

In September, racist emails were sent to Black members of our campus community. As leaders of the College of Natural Sciences, we reject these hateful and completely unacceptable attempts to isolate and harm Black members of our campus community. We fully support the campus efforts to identify those responsible and will not tolerate racism within our college. To our Black students, faculty, and staff, we want to be clear: You belong in CNS and on our campus, and we must do more to champion your place as valued members of our community.

In CNS, diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our mission to foster scientific discovery, provide a rigorous and innovative scientific education for all, and transform these contributions into benefit for the world around us. The events of last week should make it clear to all that significant challenges to the realization of this vision exist on our own campus and in our own college. We must also acknowledge that these overt acts of racism are just the tip of an iceberg of ongoing words, deeds, and lack of action that convey to Black members of our community that they do not belong. We reject these acts and behaviors, which impact the Black members of our community, in the strongest possible terms.

To the non-Black members of our community, we ask you to reflect on what you can do personally to make our college more inclusive and to follow through on your reflections with action. Please consider participating in ongoing initiatives in CNS, through the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and the UMass Center for Racial Justice, to expand your perspectives and to identify new opportunities to make our college a more welcoming place.
As a leadership team, we will continue to identify and dismantle structural barriers to belonging and to engage experts, both on campus and off, to support our work. We welcome your input on this goal through the existing advisory committees for each of our areas, the network of climate advisory committees throughout the college, and direct emails to any of us. We commit to keeping you informed of our on-going efforts by direct email, and you can also find additional information on the CNS DEI website.
Change begins with a single act. You can make a difference, and together we can create the welcoming community that every faculty, staff, and student in CNS deserves.
Thank you, in advance, for your commitment to this important process.
Tricia Serio, Dean of the College of Natural Sciences
Elizabeth Connor, CNS Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education
Mark Tuominen, CNS Associate Dean of Research and Innovation
Jody Jellison, Director, Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment
Karen Whelan-Berry, CNS Director for Faculty Development and Programs
Melishia I. Santiago, CNS Director of Student Success and Diversity
Jennifer McDermott, Interim Director of DEI for Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies
Leo Hwang, CNS Assistant Academic Dean
Linda Ziegenbein, Academic and Diversity Advisor
Samantha Weaver, CNS Director of Human Resources
Peter L. Holden, Associate Dean for Administration, Finance & Operations
For anyone in need of support, we share the following resources:
For support:
Dean of Students Office
CNS Advising
The CNS Office of Student Success and Diversity
The Graduate School Office of Inclusion and Engagement
Center for Counseling and Psychological Health
To report an incident:
Office of Equity and Inclusion

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