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Antiracism & the CSUPERB Community

​CSUPERB Antiracism Statement and Response to Theory of Racial Intelligence from CSU East Bay Professor

 

Anti-racist: someone who has made a conscious decision to dismantle and fight against racism at the structural, institutional and personal levels.​

The California State University, East Bay campus recently found itself in controversy when complaints of an emeritus faculty member teaching a theory that race influences intelligence surfaced. In his theory, he asserts that certain Black and Hispanic ethnic groups are not as intelligent as white Europeans and Northern Asians (Hurd). Faculty on the CSU East Bay campus responded to these claims noting the methods, findings and framework that support this theory have been debunked* (Hurd).

Promoting baseless claims is not in keeping with any faculty member's charge of communicating correct, fact-based information in the classroom. Universities historically protect free discourse surrounding uncomfortable and unpopular topics (the chief purpose of faculty tenure), but teaching theories in our classrooms that advance discrimination is harmful to students, especially to members of Black and Hispanic ethnic groups, and should not be tolerated. It is equally harmful when faculty with these values serve on committees that recruit and evaluate faculty as they are likely to show bias to a candidate or faculty of Black and Hispanic ethnic groups. This also should not be tolerated. CSUPERB condemns the promulgation of gross inaccuracies about race in the strongest possible terms.

The East Bay situation may represent a recent high-profile case of racism on a CSU campus, and forces all of us to acknowledge that racism has not been eradicated in the CSU. Only by confronting incidents such as this one (and the many smaller, lower profile incidents that happen each day) will we end racism. This is an especially important goal in University system as large and diverse as the CSU. 

As an affinity group within the CSU system, CSUPERB has a history of engaging diverse students and faculty of all races, genders and creeds in biotechnology education and research efforts. We stand behind the belief and science that diversity and inclusion benefits everyone. When students from underrepresented backgrounds persist in STEM degrees, graduate and enter the biotechnology workforce, it diminishes the equity gaps that are one of the chief consequences of racism and oppression. CSUPERB also supports faculty with programs that equip them to successfully work with our diverse population of CSU students, but we all can and must do more. 

At CSUPERB, we support our faculty and students in their antiracist journeys whether in learning or action. We encourage CSUPERB faculty and students who observe and document systemic racism in their own contexts to actively work to dismantle these systems. We urge the following:​ 

  • Actively respond to open or covert racist comments or actions. These include timely written and spoken responses that can be shared widely. Silence implies complicity.
  • Encourage your department and college to develop antiracist statements and policies. These should be incorporated into official documents and policies, such as hiring policies and retention, tenure and promotion guidelines.
  • Actively engage in training around diversity and inclusion. This includes joining already developed training as well as taking the steps to develop new steps to support the education of others.

We also recognize that some members of our community may be experiencing a range of emotions in relation to this situation. We encourage students, faculty and staff to seek support at their campus counseling or psychological services office. 

As a support to our CSUPERB community, we will use our November CSUPERB Safe Space as a place to openly discuss anti-racism within the CSU and in society at large. We invite you to attend the November CSUPERB Safe Space on Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 2:30 pm. Please register at https://forms.gle/dt3unWtLURH53wum6

“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist."
― Angela Y. Davis


CSUPERB Anti-racism website:
https://www2.calstate.edu/impact-of-the-csu/research/csuperb/Pages/Antiracism.aspx 

*References that debunk claims made at CSU EB:
https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/22888 
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hast.493 

Media source regarding CSU EB:
Hurd, Cheryl “Outcry Over CSUEB Professor Who Teaches Theory of Race Influencing Intelligence." NBC Bay Area, 31 October, 2020, https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/east-bay/outcry-over-csueb-professor-who-teaches-theory-of-race-influencing-intelligence/2389193/. Accessed 6 November 2020.




In light of the recent killings of Black Americans and the protests that erupted after, it is clear the time to eradicate racism is now. The webinar will consist of a short introduction on some of the data surrounding the unequal treatment of Black Americans at the hands of police to contextualize the recent violence and its relevance to those in STEM. After, there will be a breakout session for students, faculty, staff and administrators to provide a space for discussion, individual responses and the sharing of personal experiences, with the intention of nucleating the next steps our community should take in addressing the diverse needs of biotechnologically-oriented students and faculty on this topic across the CSU system.

This webinar is a response to the current events in America. After the videos and images of the deaths of black Americans, the country has erupted in non-stop protests calling for ending racism. This call has been heard in the STEM community and has prompted CSUPERB to reflect on our commitment to eradicate racism. We have decided to create formalized programming to support this commitment. This webinar is our first step and will be moderated by Christine Montgomery, the CSUPERB Student Programs Specialist. She received her M.S. in Criminal Justice/Criminology from SDSU and has conducted research on implicit bias in San Diego police officers. 

Please look out for more programming over this next academic year. We will provide educational programming through webinars, and other means throughout the year, using scientific data to provide context to the racial inequality in America. In addition, we will provide resources to equip PI’s, mentors and students to better navigate this topic. We will be a place of safety where those affected by racism can speak openly and heal. The biotechnology community is not immune from racism; we have much work to do.


Please view our July 15th webinar below.


Webinar: 

The full webinar can be viewed on our Youtube channel:  Click Here (https://youtu.be/WkU-d7yG0Ac)

Webinar transcript is available, linked here

To read the questions asked by participants, you can read the webinar chat log by clicking here


A message from Christine Montgomery, CSUPERB Student Programs Specialist, MS in Criminal Justice/Criminology from SDSU.
Friday, June 26, 2020

Over the past month, we have been flooded with images of the deaths of fellow black Americans at the hands of the police. No doubt, we are living in two major crises - the COVID-19 pandemic and racism. We witnessed history as millions of Americans united across all 50 states to protest the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. The world has been united in its response with countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Britain and Canada all showing their solidarity in support of black lives. In addition, 54 African countries signed a letter asking the United Nations to inquire about police brutality in America. Numerous corporations have put out statements and contributed millions to non-profit, anti-racist organizations to show their commitment to making black lives matter. In our own backyard, STEM researchers organized a strike for black lives on June 10 using #ShutDownStem and #ShutDownAcademia to take time to amplify black voices and call for STEM organizations to create plans to eradicate racism. This is truly history in the making. 

Where does CSUPERB fit in? As an affinity group within the CSU system, CSUPERB has a history of engaging students of all races, genders and creeds in biotechnology research and workforce preparation. When students from underrepresented backgrounds persist in STEM degrees, graduate and enter the biotechnology workforce, it diminishes the equity gaps that are one of the chief consequences of racism and oppression. CSUPERB also supports numerous faculty with programs that help them work more successfully with our diverse population of CSU students, but we can do more. 
 
As we reflect on our commitment to eradicate racism, we have decided to create formalized programming to support this commitment. For the first step, CSUPERB will host a webinar titled, “How to be an Anti-Racist Scientist” with myself as the moderator. I received my M.S. in Criminal Justice/Criminology from SDSU and have conducted research on implicit bias in San Diego police officers. As we plan out the next academic year, we will provide educational programming through webinars, and other means throughout the year, using scientific data to provide context to the racial inequality in America. In addition, we will provide resources to equip PI’s, mentors and students to better navigate this topic. We will be a place of safety where those affected by racism can speak openly and heal. The biotechnology community is not immune from racism; we have much work to do.

As we look forward to the 4th of July and enjoy our country’s celebration of independence, there is another celebration of freedom in America that recently passed – Juneteenth. Although slavery was outlawed in 1863 by the Emancipation Proclamation, there was great resistance to freeing enslaved people. It wasn’t until two years later on June 19th, 1865 in Galveston, Texas that General Granger and his regiment arrived to bring the news of freedom. With the surrender of General Lee earlier in April, General Granger and his troops were strong enough to enforce the Executive Order. As a result, many African-Americans celebrate Juneteenth as American’s second Independence Day! Let’s remember both holidays in our hearts as we celebrate our country’s independence. Happy belated Juneteenth and Happy 4th of July!

What we are reading and watching:
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
13th Documentary – Available on Netflix and Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krfcq5pF8u8
Being Antiracist - Smithsonian - National Museum of African American History & Culture 



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