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Recent events have highlighted the racial inequalities that continue to exist in the United States and around the world. The Department of Geological Sciences at the University of North Carolina recognizes the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), in the geosciences that is born out of this environment. Consequently, we are making a commitment to expand our efforts to enhance DEI, especially in support of groups underrepresented in the geosciences (Bernard and Cooperdock, 2018) –and at this moment in history, with an emphasis on Black and Native American communities. We echo the statements that have been made by UNC leadership, as well as our colleagues at peer institutions and professional organizations like the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Geological Society of America (GSA), Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) and many others. We recognize the need to do more.

We vow to advocate for change at Carolina, other higher education institutions, and within our professional organizations. We are also actively taking concrete steps to address issues of DEI in our department, as well as the history of endemic racism in the geosciences at-large. As such, we have compiled a DEI Action Plan outlining 28 items designed to achieve our DEI goals; some are already underway, others will be implemented on a timescale indicated, and several more are continual or longer-term initiatives that we will work toward in the coming months and years. In addition, we will establish a baseline relative to which we will measure progress, incorporate feedback regularly received during action item implementation, and conduct an annual assessment of progress that will be made available to everyone in the department.

We acknowledge that some individuals feel the departmental response has been slow moving; we are committed to moving more swiftly going forward.  Though our external response was not immediate, we worked to compile this suite of achievable action items built on internal feedback and external research. We are eager to do as much as we can, and are open to productive suggestions or feedback that will assist us in affecting real and lasting change. With this in mind, please consider sharing your ideas anonymously with department leadership here.

These values are articulated in the University’s non-discrimination policy and by the office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

For more information and opportunities offered by the The Graduate School’s Diversity and Student Success, click here.