The Neuroscience and Behavior (NSB) Graduate Program, in conjunction with the other Interdepartmental Graduate Programs (IDGP) and departments in the College of Natural Sciences, has initiated efforts to combat anti-Black racism and increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. A group of IDGP students, led by NSB student president Wayne Barnaby and colleagues, launched a petition to the Chancellor and Provost to demand structural changes to support the UMass Black and Brown Community. Neuroscience community members are urged to read and sign the petition, and share it widely throughout our networks.
Student leaders in the NSB program have been leading efforts in anti-racism advocacy, support, and education, reaching scientists both here on campus and broadly in the scientific community. NSB student Mélise Edwards founded the Mentorship for Underrepresented STEM Enthusiasts (M.U.S.E.) network, which connects Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students from all over the world to peer mentors in STEM fields. Several UMass students and alumni volunteer their time and expertise to serve as mentors for this invaluable program. NSB student, Kate Otter founded a group in 2019 called Socially Just Science, which brings together neuroscientists to work on ways to make research, teaching and outreach more diverse, inclusive, and equitable.
NSB faculty have formed an anti-racism action group composed of focused teams that are identifying goals and action items to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion, and promote social justice awareness in our program, the university, and the broader community. Teams are focused on professional development; advocacy and outreach; bias detection and elimination; instruction and pedagogy; and coordination/access/finance. Focus team meetings are being held in July and August to develop, refine, and begin enacting plans of action. Information is featured in a new website associated with the NSB program that just launched: https://blogs.umass.edu/diversitynsb/.
UMass resources and other ways to get involved:
Sign the petition to the Chancellor and Provost to demand structural changes to support the UMass Black and Brown Community.
BRIDGE is a program to increase the representation and visibility of early career scientists from underrepresented groups.
Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has a calendar of events as well as resources related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Student Government Association has pulled together a website with many opportunities to get involved.
Graduate Student Senate has posted a list of educational and donation resources
The Provost’s office has assembled faculty-specific ally and educational resources
UMass Institute for Social Science Research runs the Racial Justice Education Project, which provides research and funding opportunities.