The University of Washington, College of the Environment, and the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) are committed to promoting respect for the rights and privileges of all, understanding and appreciating human differences and the constructive expression of ideas.
SEFS has adopted a statement of commitment:
Respect for difference and equity is a core value in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. We acknowledge and embrace difference (including race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, age, citizenship status, and ability) as we strive to create learning environments, scholarship, mentoring relationships, and working environments that foster inclusivity and belonging in our community. To do so, we strive to promote equity and inclusion by eliminating individual and institutional discrimination.
See the full SEFS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion statement here and the SEFS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan here.
The SEFS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is a committee in which faculty, staff, and students come together to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of SEFS’ programs and culture.
Track diversity efforts within SEFS
Find new ways of recruiting diverse, especially underrepresented minority faculty, staff and students
Seek to find and remove barriers to diversity at SEFS
Create partnerships with and learn best practices from other diversity efforts, both on and off campus
Involve the diverse membership of SEFS in leadership and mentorship
Students who anticipate or experience barriers to learning or full participation in a course based on a physical, learning or mental health disability should immediately contact the instructor to discuss possible accommodation(s). If a student has, or thinks they have, a temporary or permanent disability that impacts participation in any course, please contact Disability Resources for Students (DRS) at: 206-543-8924 V / 206-543-8925 TDD or email@example.com. Please also feel free to contact SEFS Student and Academic Services with any questions or concerns.
Resources Supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The School of Environmental and Forest Sciences is committed to creating a truly diverse, equitable and inclusive community for all. On this page, you’ll find resources designed to support development of a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community, and to help those who are dealing with the effects of systemic inequities.
If you have questions, comments or suggestions about and for this page, please contact SEFS at firstname.lastname@example.org or the SEFS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee chairs, Sarah Converse, email@example.com and Brian Harvey, firstname.lastname@example.org.
CareLink has mental-health resources for UW employees.
Words of Black Americans on the Intersection of Race and Nature
For more on #BirdingWhileBlack, read some perspectives from Professor Drew Lanham (@1blackbirder) at Clemson University, such as this article from last week and follow Black birders and sci comm luminaries such as Jason Ward (@JasonWardNY) and Corinna Newsome (@hood_naturalist) on Twitter.
Supporting Black-owned businesses can help to combat economic inequities. If you are looking for a way to directly support businesses in Seattle, here is a list of restaurants that are open for take-out during COVID-19. If you are not currently living in Seattle, we encourage you to find and support Black-owned businesses in your community.
In addition, there are so many ways to learn more about racial injustice, whether through books, podcasts, essays, op-eds, and more. It can feel overwhelming to know where to start. Here is an anti-racist reading list created by Ibram X. Kendi (author of How to be an Anti-racist). Here is a list of some minority owned bookstores which specialize in anti-racist literature: Blackstone Books, Uncle Bobbies, The Key, The Semicolon, and Ashay by the Bay.
Professional Organizations Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Below is a list of professional organizations striving to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in science and natural resource management whom you may want to support and collaborate with in the future.
Center for Diversity & the Environment:The Center for Diversity & the Environment harnesses the power of racial and ethnic diversity to transform the U.S. environmental movement by developing leaders, catalyzing change within institutions & building alliances.
Front and Centered:Front and Centered is a statewide coalition of more than 60 organizations and groups rooted in communities of color and people with lower incomes.
Got Green:Got Green organizes for environmental, racial, and economic justice as a South Seattle-based grassroots organization led by people of color and low income people.
Doris Duke Conservation Scholars:The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Washington is a multi-summer, undergraduate experiential learning experience that explores conservation across food, water, climate, and ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle MESA (Hosted by UW College of the Environment):Seattle MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) provides middle and high school students — as well as their teachers and parents — innovative, hands-on opportunities in mathematics, basic and applied science, and engineering in both formal and informal settings.
The Ecological Society of Americadiversity community includes a Black Ecologists group, an Environmental Justice section, an Inclusive Ecology section, and a Traditional Ecological Knowledge section.
Engineers Without Bordersprovides essential infrastructure to the world’s most vulnerable people. Both a Seattle professional chapter and a UW student chapter are established.
The Community Engineering Corps.focuses on providing engineering services to underserved communities in the U.S. Both a Seattle professional chapter and a UW student chapter are established.
Questioning the Answer
As one UW slogan says, “Question the Answer.” We all need to consider doing this more, especially around our institutional and social structures that oppress, marginalize–and worst of all, murder–people of color.
Here is a great article by the Harvard Business Review about how we all can use our everyday privilege to support others. If you are white, it can be hard to understand the impact of privilege, and it is well said: “White privilege does not mean your life has not been hard; it just means that race is not one of the things making it harder” (Equity House, Topeka, KS). Another great place to start is by reading this piece by Peggy McIntosh, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. We encourage you to keep going by exploring the Antiracist Reading List Ibram X. Kendi posted on The New York Times a year ago (and see also Kendi’s article The American Nightmare), you will find useful readings here on decolonizing conservation.
Think you know what you think about others and you are not biased? Test your implicit bias. This is also good to do before you evaluate others, making the implicit explicit helps to combat bias–we all have them, and battling them takes effort.
Want to take a small, easy action? You can sign a currently circulating UW petition, which states: We have seen that the University of Minnesota has cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department, so we know it is possible for UW to divest from SPD and disarm UWPD. You can see the petition, signed by over 4,000 people & dozens of student organizations here.
Ask yourself what you can do next. How will you commit to action and change? If you are an educator, you will want to integrate your new perspectives into your classroom, and here is a great opportunity to learn how to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into teaching. Keep questioning the answer, challenging the status quo, holding leadership accountable to make changes, and making changes that make your everyday actions more equitable and inclusive.
UW Diversity Page provides a general UW diversity portal to the programs and efforts on and off campus, as well as resources for students, faculty and staff.
UW Tribal Relations centralizes Native American resources on the Seattle campus. There are pages for the Intellectual Houseand Tribal Leadership Summit. The Summit includes a Memorandum of Understanding between the Intertribal Timber Council and SEFS, which helps to provide scholarship support for qualified Tribal students.
ADVANCE The National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program strives to increase the participation of women in academic science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers with funding opportunities for individuals and organizations to help pursue these goals.
Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center has a wealth of resources and opportunities available to students including student advising, organizational development, personal growth and referrals to different departments and programs.
UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity has a mission of ensuring the access and academic success of diverse populations through the advancement of knowledge, academic excellence, diversity and the promotion of values, principles and a climate that enriches the campus experience for all.
Intertribal Timber Council Established in 1976, the ITC is a nonprofit nation-wide consortium of Indian Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations and individuals dedicated to improving the management of natural resources of importance to Native American communities. Also provides student scholarships.
ESA SEEDS is an education program of the Ecological Society of America. Its mission is to diversify and advance the ecology profession through opportunities that stimulate and nurture the interest of underrepresented students to not only participate in ecology, but to lead.
Seattle Milk Fund empowers parents toward higher education opportunities by funding child care grants and providing family support.
Reporting Concerns and Grievances
In our efforts to support the academic and professional success of all members of the SEFS community, we encourage members of the community to identify incidents or events that affect their sense of safety in the community. We take reports of these incidents and events, large or small, very seriously. In doing so, we are careful to respect privacy, confidentiality, and due process in recording and responding to such reports. Given the trauma associated with some of these incidents, we also recognize the value of services provided by the university to support the mental and physical health and safety of those who experience these incidents. We will track reports made by any of the reporting pathways, so we can observe and act on patterns that emerge. Read more about the processes in place for reporting grievances and concerns here.