Solidarity Statement

We, the faculty and staff of the Neuroscience Program at Bowdoin College, affirm our belief that Black lives matter.

We mourn the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Atatiana Jefferson. We share in the grief and outrage over their deaths and the loss of so many other Black lives, as well as the persistent criminalization of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.

We recognize that structural inequities persist in STEM education and academia, that Black students and faculty face oppression within their daily lives, and that these two forces intersect to impact recruitment and persistence within STEM. We stand ready to support students and faculty of color and have identified the following goals to do so: 

  1. We will integrate best practices into our curriculum and our teaching methods that foster community, belonging, and retention
  2. We will increase inclusion, equity, and representation, especially with regards to race, gender, sexuality, class, nationality, and power inequities, within the research laboratory, classroom, and department-supported activities (seminars, study group leader positions, laboratory assistant, etc.)
  3. We will increase inclusion, equity, representation, and support, especially with regards to race, gender, sexuality, class, nationality, and power inequities, of faculty and staff
  4. We will work with our professional societies to raise up the voices of Black, Indigenous, and other scientists of color
  5. We will analyze institutional policies and actively work to change policies that propagate systemic racism   

We affirm that Black lives matter. As members of the Neuroscience Program, we are committed to using our positional authority to challenge all forms of racial injustice, oppression, and white supremacy globally. The list above mentions small but concrete actions that we will implement in our ongoing efforts to create and sustain equitable, collective, and just communities at Bowdoin and beyond. We commit to being accountable to these goals by reporting annually, via the Chair’s departmental reports, on our actions toward achieving these goals within and across departments.

We, the faculty and staff of the Neuroscience Program at Bowdoin, wholeheartedly agree with and support the sentiments conveyed by the statement below, which was written by a recent Bowdoin graduate (class of 2014), who conducted neuroscience-related research at Bowdoin and is now pursuing graduate studies in Neuroscience. 

Over the past year,
My facial hair has started to appear.
As the stubble increases,
The call of ‘hey miss’ decreases,
And the tightness in my chest releases.
As I embrace this new face,
I see the world from a different place,
The experiences I once took for commonplace,
I now recognize as a subspace,
Seen through the tint of gender. 

I can’t offer The Solution,
There is no quick elution,
We can’t just wash history away.
But we can make some headway,
And start to reconfigure.
We need to listen, to learn, and to figure,
Figure how to include more people as we progress.
I hold so much privilege, even with my trans-ness,
I cannot in good conscience,
Slide my-male-passing-self into complacency.
Apathy spreads so contagiously.
So I work to deepen my well of empathy,
To speak when I can do so credibly,
And if not, then hold space respectfully. 

The irony in our culture of higher education:
The burden of diversity-education falls in disproportion,
Not to the majority in a privileged place,"
But to those with the label of ‘diversity-case’.
Let me share an example with you:
‘Time is money’ is a cliché, but slightly true.
I lost over a weekend in wages
Scouring university webpages,
On a program-by-program review,
Screening through-and-through,
Every document of health insurance,
Just to find some assurance,
That my health would be respected,
I wouldn’t be vulnerable and unprotected,
Trans folks wouldn’t be neglected,
Instead we’d be fully accepted.
The list I found was small,
And disheartening overall.
How can we as scientists achieve something great,
When we penalize those who menstruate,
Or those who aren’t straight?

But the fact that I’m writing this,
Says you aren’t here to dismiss.
Asking for this statement is rare,
It’s an indicator that you care.