Diversity and Inclusion Statement
The Department of Biology at Baylor is committed to providing a positive learning and working environment free from discrimination and harassment. Despite our current commitments to diversity, equity and access, it is incumbent on us to acknowledge our history and the collective role our institution has played. In light of the extraordinary and unprecedented events of the Summer of 2020, the Department of Biology commissioned a Diversity Task Force to examine concrete actions that we can take to support our students and faculty and focus on shaping a future free from past discrimination. Any action taken by our Department needs to sow the basis for long-term commitment and not just be something done once and checked. We need both symbolic action and long-term commitment. To sort out what is needed, we want to embody the message of 1 John 4:11. We are uniquely able to lean into our Christian tradition of honest confession and repentance as a model for moving forward. The following statement put forward by a group of faculty, staff, and students was approved by the majority of Department in Spring 2021.
Baylor, as a Christian institution of higher learning, recognizes that God has created all of humanity without division. All humans are to be respected and celebrated regardless of race, color, age, sex, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, disability, genetics, or veteran status. We acknowledge discrimination has been used to marginalize people for political, social, religious, and economic purposes. From our past deficiencies in addressing systemic boundaries that limited opportunities for students, staff, and faculty, we are firmly committed to developing and promoting a departmental culture of equality, inclusion, and diversity that wholeheartedly rejects prejudice of any form in our classroom, research, and academic communities. We dedicate ourselves to this important work through ongoing self-reflection, bias training, engagement, and vigilance. Diversity aims to broaden and deepen both the educational experience and the scholarly environment, as students and faculty learn to interact effectively with each other, preparing them to participate in an increasingly complex and pluralistic society. Ideas, and practices based on those ideas, can be made richer by the process of being born and nurtured in a diverse community. As science, particularly biology, is inherently a non-discriminatory process of reason and conscience, we will continue to welcome, encourage, and support all persons.