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Statement Condemning Racism and Embracing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

To the Psychology Community at IUPUI

For too long now we have witnessed senseless, tragic consequences of systemic, pandemic racism, which harms Black and Brown individuals in our department, campus, communities, and nation. Vestiges and perpetuation of systemic oppression, such as racial profiling, police brutality, mass incarceration, racial disparities in employment, wages, and drivers of wealth, inadequate access to healthcare, and every day racism are unabated. We unequivocally denounce and condemn these actions and the social and institutional structures that sustain them.

At our core, Psychology at IUPUI is a place where diversity of lived experience, equality in opportunity, and inclusion of our whole selves are essential to our research, teaching, service, and practice. We must be a place where these values are lived every day and embraced by every member of our community. We recognize our imperfection and accept with humility our mandate to grow and learn together with constant reflection and willingness to be bold and proactive.

Chalkboard with names of black individuals who lost their lives to police brutality

Not only do we have intellectual leaders in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), we have an amazing community of passionate students, compassionate staff and faculty, and a broad network of alumni and former faculty who live these values every day. We have instituted two important structures in the Department to help ensure that we be the change that we seek from our leaders.

The Graduate Diversity Committee (GDC) and the Faculty/Staff Diversity Committee (FSDC) work collaboratively to raise awareness of actions and resources needed to fully live up to our values. The GDC will be convening soon to discuss their role in advocating for systemic structures, processes, and programs that significantly impact our graduate students. Among their goals are to conduct bi-annual surveys of the climate for diversity, equity, and inclusion among graduate students; to create a graduate student diversity award; to develop a website with links to contact information for addressing DEI concerns and opportunities, community/campus activities, mental health resources, and a departmental grievance policy, which is under development; and to help organize workshops and other DEI events on campus.

The FSDC is drafting a comprehensive departmental grievance policy for all members of our community; creating a platform, such as Google Calendar, to consolidate and coordinate DEI events and messages department wide; planning events each year for students, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and faculty to learn together on such topics as inclusive teaching, difficult conversations, equitable educational opportunities, and police reform. The FSDC and GDC will work collaboratively on these and other initiatives. We seek the voices of our undergraduate community as well in these efforts.

But there is more work we must consider, such as challenging the use of standardized testing (e.g., GREs) that disproportionately select out people of color and compound the stress of their performance potentially being judged through the lens of ability stereotypes. There are many hard questions that we cannot ignore.

Our values and our commitment to our diversity, equity, and inclusion mission is not relegated to these committees, however. Department leaders, including the Chair, Area Heads, and Directors of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies, must be accountable for driving change. In addition, we must all make a personal commitment to follow through with these values every day. There are many resources from which we can draw, and I encourage us to share new ideas.

Here are some useful links

Finally, a note about the full umbrella of injustices and prejudices affecting the human race including all forms of racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, heterosexism, xenophobia, anti-immigrant hatred, religious and cultural intolerance, and biases concerning combinations of these identities: we hear you and are here for you.

The current and soon-to-be department chair, the co-chairs of the FSDC, and the GDC have collaborated on this statement. It is merely a draft that we will continue to update as we learn and hear from more and more voices.

Sincerely,

Peggy Stockdale, Current Chair
Steve Boehm, Incoming Interim Chair
Tamika Zapolski, FSDC co-chair
Jesse Stewart, Director of Graduate Studies and FSDC co-chair

The GDC — Richelle Clifton, Tuyen Dinh, Kari Haines, Maribel Hernandez, Matthew Grabowski, and Annalee Johnson-Kwochka

The FSDC — Tina Chen, Tasha Gilson, Nick Grahame, Eva Pietri, Jesse Stewart, Cindy Williams, and Tamika Zapolski

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