History of the OEB DIB Committee
The OEB DIB Committee formed in January 2021 following months of community-wide surveys and interactive town halls. In Fall of 2020, the FAS Division of Science asked their departments to complete a climate survey. OEB was among eight departments that requested the involvement of Harvard College Institutional Research in developing, administering, and analyzing a department-specific climate survey. In October OEB held the Climate Survey Town Hall which presented the survey’s major results followed by an open Q & A with the OEB community.
A major topic of discussion at the town hall was the creation and empowerment of a new departmental committee to be called the OEB DIB Committee. This standing committee is composed of representatives from all departmental constituencies and its goal is to help OEB create a more inclusive community. The committee held its first meeting on January 20 2021, followed by regularly held monthly meetings
The department-wide, permanent OEB Diversity, Inclusion and Belong (DIB) Committee aims to acknowledge, address, and repair systemic injustice within our community and throughout science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Through the misapplication of the theory of Darwinism to explain social phenomena, use of collections as a tool for colonialism, and promotion of discriminatory ideas such as eugenics, our field of biology has helped propagate systems of oppression against Black, Indigenous, and people of color, people with (dis)abilities, women, and LGBTQ+ communities, among others. As a community we acknowledge that we have contributed to this problem and have much to learn. We are dedicated to the work that is necessary to create meaningful and lasting change in our department and beyond.
We commit to: 1) Researching and documenting areas of discrimination and inequity within our community; 2) Educating ourselves and our departmental community about the value of diversity and best practices to reduce prejudices; 3) Cultivating and actively fostering a more inclusive environment. These commitments will be applied to areas such as recruitment and retention, inclusive excellence, mentorship, departmental values, accountability, and outreach. Our committee members include students, staff, and faculty associated with OEB and affiliated institutions, including museums. With input from all constituencies, we aim to identify, develop, and implement resources, trainings, and initiatives focused on promoting diversity, inclusion, and belonging. With significant effort, we envision a future community where everyone feels welcome, heard, and supported within our department.