Diversity and Inclusion
The Department of Biology believes that diversity is crucial to our pursuit of academic excellence, and is deeply committed to creating a diverse and inclusive community. We support UNC’s policy, which states that “the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to equality of opportunity and pledges that it will not practice or permit discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
STATEMENT FROM THE FACULTY AND CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES ON TENURE DECISION OF NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES
The faculty and chair in the Department of Biology at UNC-Chapel Hill urge the Board of Trustees to immediately take up and vote upon the recommendation of our University to offer Nikole Hannah-Jones a tenured position as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism in UNC’s School of Journalism. She brings exceptional qualifications in her field, including the Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur Fellowship, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Like other candidates, Ms. Hannah-Jones was evaluated through the University’s tenure process, involving consideration of her qualifications by subject area experts in her field, evaluation by the campus wide Academic Promotion and Tenure Committee, and evaluation by the Office of the Provost, and thus was forwarded to the Board for consideration and vote at the January meeting. It was returned to the Board again this month, and despite this they have not voted on this recommendation or made their views public.
Leading Universities like ours across the nation have created the process of tenure evaluation to ensure that our faculty meet the highest standards in their field, and to ensure that their scholarship is insulated from political considerations at the University level or above. We strongly believe that the faculty voice must guide the tenure process for academic integrity to have meaning. If outside bodies such as the Board of Trustees, which lack the relevant subject matter expertise, become the arbiters of faculty scholarship and do so without expressing objections, all faculty members run the risk of being punished for work that questions the status quo, threatens some outside interest, or makes people uncomfortable. We include on our faculty scientists who study climate change, the mechanisms of evolution, or the potential of embryonic stem cells, all subjects that have been used by some politicians to attempt to score political points. Creating a system where political considerations can trump scholarly excellence threatens the future of our great University—this unresolved situation has already led to the loss of some of our most distinguished faculty.
STATEMENT FROM THE CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY ON ANTI-BLACK VIOLENCE
I write to you as Chair in shock and dismay at the violence and unjustified deaths based on the color of one’s skin. The Department of Biology condemns these violent acts of ignorance and hatred. The Department remains committed to building a culture in which we value humanity in all its glorious colors.
For more resources and information on the many ways we can get involved, please visit the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Anti-Racism Resources page.
The Department of Biology considers mentoring a critical component to the development of a vibrant, diverse and inclusive community of scientists. Please visit our mentoring resource page to read more about how we foster the implementation of this concept.
GRADUATE STUDENT DIVERSITY
Diverse experiences, backgrounds, viewpoints, and contributions are key elements for the success of any enterprise. The Graduate School at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to sustaining a diverse graduate student body and fostering a climate of inclusion and acceptance. We aim to contribute to the successful degree completion of each student through targeted academic and professional development programs. For more information, please visit the Graduate School’s Diversity and Student Success Program website.