EAPS statement of solidarity with Black Lives Matter movement & anti-racist actions
The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University renews our commitment to supporting racial justice and to standing with members of the Black community. Black lives matter. Here we aim to inform the community of current and future departmental actions to combat systemic racism and to hold ourselves accountable for completing the work that needs to be done. We recommit to effecting change in our community, both within the state of Indiana and in the sciences, by ensuring our programming, courses, and research opportunities create equity, inclusion, and justice for people of color.
We recognize that broader issues of systemic racism in society carry over to our work in the department and impact our academic community. We recognize that our country and its institutions are built on over 400 years of racist ideology. This systemic racism has only recently been exposed on video in the form of police brutality and the murder of Black citizens. The witnessing of these murders brought deserved attention to racist police practices and institutionalized anti-Blackness. We acknowledge that systemic racism also affects health disparities, income inequality, and environmental injustices that affect us all. We recognize that these issues disproportionately impact current and future people of color in EAPS.
Scientific progress has been accompanied by a long history of implicit and explicit racism, and the geosciences are not immune. For example, colonialism was partly motivated by natural resource extraction, which was enabled by geologists working for Western natural resource extraction companies or governments. The pursuit of mineral resources has also frequently resulted in the displacement of Indigenous peoples and destruction of land. This historical legacy of colonialism and racial injustice seeps into our field even today: geoscience remains one of the least diverse STEM fields at all levels, a statistic that has not improved in the past 40 years. At Purdue, <11% of domestic undergraduate students and <15% of graduate students are identified as underrepresented minorities.
As a department, we are actively developing and implementing a range of actions to dismantle systemic racism in pursuit of equity within EAPS. We seek to enhance inclusion and increase the participation of people of color in the following directions:
- Promote racial literacy,
- Make anti-racism a core value of our department,
- Amplify existing voices of people of color within our field, and
- Open as many doors to our field as possible for people of color at all levels, from undergraduate to faculty. Our current and future actions are provided here.