Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The original version of this statement was developed jointly by the Quantitative Conservation Lab – headed by Sarah Converse – and the Quantitative Ecology Lab – headed by Beth Gardner.

We — the members of the Quantitative Conservation and Quantitative Ecology lab groups — recognize that we must continue to examine our own implicit biases and the larger forces of structural bias in our society that work against diversity, equity, and inclusion. We also recognize that we must listen and learn from underrepresented voices. We welcome feedback on this living document. If you have comments on anything here or elsewhere on our websites, please reach out to Sarah Converse (sconver@uw.edu) or Beth Gardner (bg43@uw.edu).

Our Motivation  

  1. We acknowledge that we learn, live, reflect, and teach on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Coast Salish people, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Duwamish, Puyallup, Suquamish, Tulalip, and Muckleshoot nations. We have a responsibility to fully acknowledge our Indigenous connections, as well as critically reflect on the histories of dispossession and forced removal that have allowed for the growth and survival of The University of Washington.  
  2. There are systemic inequities in fish and wildlife science. Our field is not representative of society in terms of race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, or socioeconomic background. This includes our lab group.  
  3. This lack of representation is indicative of larger societal forces — rooted in racism, sexism, homophobia, and other widespread prejudices — that reinforce systemic inequities by favoring historically privileged groups above others. We recognize that these forces have advantaged or disadvantaged members of our lab in differing ways. 
  4. This lack of representation matters for many reasons, including that it reduces the diversity of people who seek out careers in fish and wildlife science. This prohibits us from fully understanding and addressing issues in conservation and management and reduces our ability to solve critical problems. 
  5. In addition, this lack of representation helps to maintain structural inequities throughout society by barring underrepresented people from leadership roles.
  6. Systemic inequities in our society have manifold consequences. One consequence is that environmental injustices have fallen disproportionately on communities of color. Other consequences are as extreme as, while not limited to, the violence disproportionately directed towards BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people.

Our Values 

  1. We value all people equally and stand in solidarity with those who suffer from oppression. 
  2. We value diversity in race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability, socioeconomic background, culture, national origin, immigration status, educational level, age, physical appearance, family status, academic discipline, and political views. We also recognize the importance of intersectionality in identity.
  3. We believe that all of us are responsible to continually work at combating racism, sexism, and society’s inherent biases, and we do not believe we will ever be “done” with this work. 
  4. We believe that all people should benefit from healthy ecosystems and the services they provide, such as clean air and water. We believe that all people should be able to safely and affordably access the great outdoors and feel welcome in nature.
  5. We value the contributions of a diverse community to our field of study, and recognize that those from underrepresented groups have faced and continue to face substantial barriers to their full participation in scholarship. 
  6. We value the full identities of all members of our community, and believe that we are most successful when we are able to bring our full selves to work, rather than feeling that we have to leave part of ourselves at home to “fit” in with our community.
  7. We believe statements are not enough, and that action is needed from all members of our community to combat systemic inequities and change our field.

Our Code of Conduct 

  1. We expect lab members to support each other’s professional growth and personal fulfillment. 
  2. We expect lab members to take responsibility for educating themselves about systemic inequities in their personal and professional lives and the importance of inclusion. We expect lab members to take responsibility for their own education, and to ask for help respectfully when needed. 
  3. We expect lab members to educate themselves about microaggressions, including what they are and how to avoid them. Microaggressions are subtle verbal, behavioral and environmental indignities, intentional or unintentional, that direct hostile or derogatory messages toward marginalized groups. 
  4. We expect lab members to educate themselves about implicit bias. Implicit biases are attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.
  5. When carrying out academic work (including teaching and research), we expect lab members to strive to increase representation of underrepresented groups in the works that they reference.
  6. We expect lab members to learn about inclusive teaching practices and culturally responsive pedagogy to make classrooms welcoming to all. 
  7. We expect lab members to speak up in defense of others with restricted power or privilege. Privilege is the power to be heard and have an impact based on a person’s belonging to a specific group. We expect lab members to both recognize and leverage their privilege in support of those who are marginalized.  
  8. We expect lab members to recognize both intent and impact in their interactions with others. Intent matters (you may not intend to hurt someone with your words or actions), but so does impact (the hurt is the same whether you intended it or not). We expect lab members to be mindful of both intent and impact in how they respond to each other. 
  9. We expect lab members to practice respect. Disagreements are okay, personal attacks are not.
  10. We expect lab members to own their mistakes and acknowledge their lack of understanding, while recognizing the courage required to say “I’m sorry” and “I don’t know.”   
  11. We encourage lab members to engage in often uncomfortable conversations as we recognize their importance in challenging structural biases and creating change.

Our Actions

  1. We will devote time individually and in lab group meetings to learning about structural inequities and their societal effects, and devising ways to dismantle them.
  2. We will be active in departmental diversity, equity, and inclusion committees or other initiatives.
  3. In our lab group meetings, we will engage in regular dialogue about the intersection between science and society, underrepresentation in STEM, and inclusive learning. We will seek opportunities to center conversations on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  4. As current and future educators, we will work to develop courses that reflect diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we will deliver our courses in recognition of the many ways people have of knowing and interacting with the natural world.
  5. In order to combat a lack of representation in our field, unequal access to STEM education, and unequal access to safe, affordable, and inclusive experiences with nature, we will devote time to public engagement with local schools in a way that is meaningful and self-sustaining, ensuring that we are working with collaborators to meet their needs rather than dictating what we think their needs should be. 
  6. We will welcome critiques of our words and actions, and be ready and willing to improve our allyship.

We are part of a larger community that is dedicated to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in fish and wildlife science. Learn more about efforts in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.