We, the undersigned science faculty at Occidental College in Los Angeles, write out of concern for the future of science in the United States of America. President-elect Trump has denied the widespread scientific consensus on climate change and, regionally, the California drought, has propagated scientifically debunked beliefs regarding vaccines, has expressed a willingness to sharply limit free expression as a constitutional guarantee, and has displayed a penchant for disregarding facts in favor of rumor and hearsay. Vice President-elect Pence has denied the widespread scientific consensus on evolution. Moreover, the President-elect and some of his appointees have endorsed racism, misogyny, ableism, anti-LGBTQIA rhetoric, and religious bigotry. Regardless of political views, such positions and conduct violate our collective work as scientists and core principles as science educators in a liberal arts context where innovation, free expression, and diversity are valued. At this time, we reaffirm and share the values and aspirations we hold in common.
We affirm the following principles:
- We unconditionally reject every form of bigotry, discrimination, hateful rhetoric, and hateful action, whether directed towards one’s race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, citizenship, political views, socioeconomic status, veteran status, or immigration status.
- We aspire, in our roles as scientists, mentors, and instructors, to eliminate barriers to the participation in science of talented people from groups that currently are underrepresented in science, in order to ensure that tomorrow’s scientific community is more diverse, vibrant, and effective.
- We endorse Occidental’s values of open, respectful discourse and exchange of ideas from the widest variety of intellectual, religious, class, cultural, and political perspectives.
- We uphold the principles of the scientific method, of evidence- and reason-based inquiry. Science is not a special interest; it is not optional. Science is a vital ingredient in how we as a society analyze, understand, and solve the most difficult challenges that we face.
For any member of our community who may feel fear, oppression, or discouragement, our doors are open and we are ready to help. We pledge to work with all members of our community – students, faculty, staff, and administrators – to defend these principles today and in the times ahead.
We urge the Trump Administration to:
- select only well qualified scientists and others who respect the vital role of scientific knowledge in decision-making for positions of authority in agencies that fund and regulate science;
- provide adequate resources to enable scientists to conduct first rate research in the Nation’s interest, including with international collaborators domestically and abroad; and
- preserve public policies, including immigration, welfare, and educational policies, that make available to the widest possible cross-section of tomorrow’s scientists an excellent , affordable, and safe education from preschool through post-doctoral studies, because talent exists everywhere.
* This statement draws, with permission, on the text of a statement by MIT faculty at mitvalues.org.
Signatories [endorsements collected through January 17 were mailed to Trump, Pence, McConnell, Schumer, Ryan, and Pelosi; some others are included below]
The undersigned endorse this statement as individuals, not as representatives of the institution or department.
Renee Baran, PhD Department of Biology
Gretchen North, PhD Department of Biology
Elizabeth Braker, PhD Department of Biology
Cheryl Okumura, PhD Department of Biology
Clinton D. Chapman, PhD Department of Psychology
Marcella Raney, PhD Department of Kinesiology
Nancy K. Dess, PhD Department of Psychology
Margaret Rusmore, PhD Department of Geology
Shana Goffredi, PhD Department of Biology
Anne Schell, PhD Department of Psychology
Andrea Hopmeyer, PhD Department of Psychology
Aleksandra Sherman, PhD Department of Cognitive Science
Brian Kim, PhD Department of Psychology
George Schmiedeshoff, PhD Department of Physics
Alan Knoerr, PhD Department of Mathematics & Cognitive Science
Andrew Shtulman, PhD Department of Psychology
Carmel Levitan, PhD Department of Cognitive Science
Daniel Snowden-Ifft, PhD Department of Physics
Justin Li, PhD Department of Cognitive Science
Whitney Tsai Department of Biology
John McCormack, PhD Department of Biology
Chelsea Muñoz Williams Department of Biology
Lynn Mehl, PhD Department of Kinesiology
Jonathan Williams, PhD Department of Biology
Karen Molinder, PhD Department of Biology
Amanda Zellmer, PhD Department of Biology
Jeffrey Cannon, PhD Department of Chemistry
Derek J. Ross, MS Department of Chemistry
Contact: Nancy K. Dess, PhD, at email@example.com