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E. Lab Plan for Anti-Racism


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Dantzer Lab Anti-Racism Plan and Resources -------------------------------- **Preamble:** Below is what I (Ben Dantzer) as the leader of the lab plan to do to address racism in science and academia. It is NOT meant to congratulate myself for what I am going to do but more to signal to lab members that we all need to make sincere efforts in these areas and put in the work, myself included. **What am I doing now?** - Acknowledging that the following list is meaningless unless it is backed up with real action. - Explicitly stating that I personally find any type of discrimination (racist, sexist, ableist, ageist, colonialist, heterosexist, classist) to be abhorrent and I have not and will not tolerate any type of racism, injustice, or bias, while acknowledging that I could have always done more to live these beliefs. - Embracing the ideology that excellence and diversity in academia do not compete with one another but diversity is required for excellence. - Acknowledging that institutionalized and systemic racism in academia and science exists and that non-white scientists often "can't just focus on research" given that they often experience unseen emotional, physical, and mental labor associated with pervasive racism and bias that they experience in their personal and professional lives all the while being expected to put the work in to fix the unjust system. - Acknowledge that students or members from underrepresented groups that DO speak up about their situation or their unjust experiences can experience retribution. I need to create a more open and welcoming environment in my own lab and more broadly. - Acknowledging that many of the scientists that we venerate today also discriminated against others (either explicitly and implicitly) and that these historical roots still pollute science and academia today in addition to their veneration being hurtful to human-kind. - Acknowledging that it's not enough to just recruit students or faculty from diverse backgrounds but that I need to learn how to sufficiently and appropriately mentor and support them and this requires me to educate myself in how to do so. - Commit to dismantling racism by stating this explicitly as one of the goals of the Dantzer Lab to signal to lab members that I highly value your investments and service in these areas. - Acknowledging that this commitment is not going to cause overnight change but needs to be lifelong as the following actions will take time, endurance, and continued efforts. - Acknowledge my own limitations in being an anti-racist and that this isn’t “about me” or about a celebration of my efforts. - Admit to anyone that is listening that I am not comfortable with advertising my efforts in this area as I feel it can be seen as disingenuous. I would rather do the work quietly on my own. However, it is important to signal to all current, past, or prospective students in my lab that I am committed to these issues and that they should too. **What I am working towards over the next year?** ***Reducing barriers to enhance representation at all levels (Area, Department, University, Professional Societies)*** - Work with a committee of other faculty, staff, post-docs, and students to develop an anti-racist statement for the Biopsychology Area. - Given that GRE scores can merely reflect socioeconomic status and discriminate against non-white participants or those from a lower socioeconomic status, I will advocate that the GRE be dropped from all Rackham Graduate Programs and, if not, I will request that all Biopsych faculty ignore the GRE scores for applicants to Biopsychology. This is the approach I have always taken personally or as the Chair of the Admissions Committee but will now include emails to Rackham, Department, and the Biopsych Admissions Committee. - To reduce the financial burden of graduate school applications, I will advocate that all applicants to the Biopsychology program be made aware that they can apply for a fee waiver. I will advocate that faculty can use discretionary funds to pay for the fee waivers. If they do not receive a fee waiver, I will personally cover the cost of application for any student from an underrepresented group that applies to my lab. - Acknowledge the bias against prospective graduate students who do not have undergraduate research experiences and that this may be due to prejudice and inequity in access. I will ensure that the Graduate Admissions Committee in the Biopsychology Area and all faculty are made aware of this bias and provide them with resources on this topic. - Advocate that the Biopsychology Area use funds for colloquium speakers to invite and host members from underrepresented groups. If the list of colloquium speakers lacks diversity, I will contact the organizer and boycott the colloquium. - Work with Biopsychology graduate students to apply for funds from the Departmental Diversity Committee to invite at least one speaker per year who will focus on their research but also give a talk on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The invitation would come with honoraria for both talks. - Advocate that any future faculty search in Biopsychology include a Biopsychology graduate student to promote representation at all levels/career stages. - During faculty searches in Biopsychology, the review of materials (for all applicants) and at the interview stage must include an explicit discussion of their commitment to DEI initiatives and discuss their past commitments in those areas. - Ensuring that at least one Biopsychology faculty member is on the Departmental Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee - this is important as faculty in Biopsychology need to be educated and participate in this process. - Promoting a more diverse academia by nominating speakers from diverse backgrounds for seminar invitations or symposia, inviting them to do reviews for journals, publications in invited collections of papers and co-author grants or papers. - Advocate that the Annual Review Committee in Psychology includes explicit discussion of the efforts of faculty towards DEI activities and that we reward/incentivize contributions to those areas rather than just research and teaching contributions. - Provide a list of local resources for each new graduate student that contains a list of support groups, organizations that promote anti-racism, contact info for local, state, and federal representatives, a list of minority-owned businesses, etc. This list of resources is made to reduce the burden that comes along with moving to a new place without a support group and provides them with a tool-kit for how to become engaged and feel supported in a new area/university ***Dantzer Lab specific*** - Alter our Dantzer Lab onboarding paperwork (such as safety paperwork and safety courses) and require new members to educate themselves on pervasive racism in academia/science with a living list of resources that I will put together. - Make discussions of discrimination and bias in science/academia a regular part of our lab meetings. - At least twice a semester, the lab will identify and attend two seminars offered by UM regarding diversity, equity, inclusion in academia. - Support (in all ways possible) the social justice initiatives of lab members that promote equality, anti-racism, and diversity in academia/science by all lab members. - Promote a culture of sharing of important reads, social media posts, or papers on the presence of racism in science/academia and how we can be better allies or anti-racists. - Identify a local social justice issue we can become involved in as a lab group ***Teaching*** - Change the curriculum of PSYCH 631 (Biopsychology Pro-seminar for first-year students) to integrate readings on how to be an anti-racist in science/academia and provide context for pervasive racism, bias, and unjust practices in science/academia through readings. - Revise curriculum of undergraduate courses I teach to explicitly acknowledge the role of discrimination, bias, and colonialism in science/academia. - Revise curriculum of undergraduate courses to better highlight and discuss the contributions from diverse scholars. - Advocate that the Biopsychology Journal Club discuss anti-racism in science/academia or other issues in diversity, equity, and inclusion every other week ***Professional Societies and Organizations*** - Support efforts to decolonize and promote anti-racist ideals in professional societies/organizations (e.g., supporting efforts to rename awards named for racist scientists). - If professional societies hold in-person meetings where one symposium is focused on DEI issues, request that the symposium not compete with other symposia. - Point out the uniformity of symposia if they are composed exclusively of all white men ("manels") and boycott attendance at those events while contacting conference organizers to highlight this issue. - Advocate that any professional organization that gives out graduate student grants require the panel of reviewers to 1) be diverse and 2) take mandatory training on bias and discrimination that can seep in and affect funding decisions. - Seek out volunteer opportunities at professional organizations to provide constructive feedback/review for students from underrepresented groups ***Personal*** - Admit that I have benefited and have been enormously privileged in my career merely because of the color of my skin, my gender, and my sexuality. - Not depend upon others to burden themselves to educate me on what I "should do", how I can be an ally, or to define systemic racism and instead do it by educating myself by reading, listening, and attending workshops. - Concrete steps for these self-education activities to deepen my understanding of the history and contemporary nature of discrimination and bias include reading books, podcasts, and staying updated on these topics through social media. - Put money into minority-owned businesses (or other businesses that provide their workers with a decent wage and healthcare: to purchase books and any other work-related books instead of relying upon Amazon. - Offer genuine empathy and compassion for personnel when it comes to deadlines, experiments, paperwork when racist (or other discriminatory) events happen locally or globally. - Never be a bystander to discrimination or bias by others, whether is in person or on social media with a friend or in a meeting with other faculty. - Continue to participate in protests and other forms of solidarity against the violation of human rights and continue to advocate for anti-racism among my white friends, family, and colleagues. - Learn how people of color prefer to identify themselves. - Connect with organizations that will help me learn how to be an anti-racist (e.g., following them on social media) – such as this list here. - Continue to volunteer with Ann Arbor Public Schools to interact with diverse groups of K-12 students and talk about topics in science/academia **Resources** List of resources I am consulting over the next 6 months so that I can better educate myself on these topics (Note this will be a living list that grows as I learn more and I am simply compiling this list for my own resources): *Books:* - White Fragility - How to be Anti-racist - So you want to talk about race - Me and White Supremacy - The New Jim Crow - Black Faces, White Spaces - Between the World and me - White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America - Raising White Kids - Real Life *Videos:* - [][1] - 13th (Netflix) *Articles:* - [][2] - [][3] - [][4] *Podcasts:* - [][5] - [][6] *Other lists of resources I will refer to:* - [][7] - [][8] [1]: [2]: [3]: [4]: [5]: [6]: [7]: [8]:
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