University of Oregon


META Center’s commitment to combatting systemic racism

Dear META Center colleagues,
We, the leadership of the META Center, write you to express our commitment to combatting systemic racism that is pervasive in our society. We realize that this statement comes on the heels of many others you will have received over the past weeks. We were initially reluctant to add our voices to this chorus and chose to focus our efforts on anti-racist activities within our own immediate communities, but we now realize that our silence could be misconstrued. We want you to know that each of us in the META leadership is personally committed to working harder to make META, our university, and our community a more just and inclusive environment.
Recent events have illustrated how deadly systemic racism is, especially for Black people. We are horrified by the cruel injustices of the recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, and too many others. We witness with heartbreak the uneven toll of the COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities, starkly illustrating the many social disparities that underly these health inequities. At the same time, we are deeply inspired by the outpouring of activism across our country and here in our own community to fight racial injustices. As faculty of the UO, we are committed to working with our colleagues through our Institute, Department, and College channels to make substantive changes aimed at alleviating the burdens and inequities of racism.
We recognize that racial discrimination permeates many aspects of the scientific enterprise, from access to training and research funds, to the prioritization of research questions, the interpretation of data, and the scientific narratives that become accepted knowledge. The META Center is a space for exploring scientific ideas and generating new insights into our world, and these efforts are impoverished by systemic structures that exclude individuals based on their identity. As members of the scientific community, we are committed to educating ourselves about the origins and histories of racism, engaging in honest self-reflection on our own actions and choices, and developing activities that will make positive changes that increase access to science for diverse groups of people. We propose to hold a series of discussions over the summer to explore this topic. We suggest that sharing experiences on means to effect positive change, for example outreach or education activities, or suggestions for future action, are especially valuable. We know that many of you have been actively exploring this topic and we welcome your suggestions and involvement in planning these upcoming discussions.

Karen Guillemin, META Center Director
Brendan Bohannan, META Center Executive Committee Member
Judith Eisen, META Center Executive Committee Member
Raghuveer Parthasarathy, META Center Executive Committee Member


June 15, 2020





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