Astrophysics


Requested Action Items from #ShutDownSTEM


Undergraduates, Graduates, and Postdocs

The letter requests the astrophysics department to address racial diversity and equity through changes in recruitment of faculty, students, and postdocs, changes to admissions and hiring processes, and changes to make the department environment more supportive and inclusive. It also calls on the department to publicly release its own priorities and goals.

The letter makes the following demands:

  1. Recruitment of Underrepresented Minority (URM) Students, Postdocs, and Faculty
    • Increase outreach to URM candidates through attending URM-focused conferences, recruitment trips to HBCUs, participating in the Access Diversity and Inclusion team’s recruitment campaign, expanding participation in the Prospective PhD Preview program, having faculty reach out to URM undergraduates.
    • Collect and publicly release anonymized department demographic data.
    • Bring in Black and URM summer researchers, grad students and postdocs for seminars.
    • Waive application fees for Black and URM applicants.
    • Partner with schools and the Trenton library to support underprivileged youth.
  2. Admissions and Hiring
    • Address bias in the admissions criteria/process.
    • Remove the Physics GRE, advocate for removal of SAT/ACT for undergrads.
    • Improve equity in the hiring process for faculty and postdocs.
  3. Department Environment
    • Hire multiple Black and URM tenure-track faculty; provide a number and timeline.
    • Ensure at least 30% of colloquia are given by Black/URM speakers and provide funding to seminar speakers.
    • Require anti-racism training, facilitate education on racism,and designate an annual day of reflection/action.
    • Provide mental health support to students, faculty, and researchers.
    • Require faculty, postdocs, and grad students to conduct equity/inclusion-related service work; support ongoing efforts and initiatives.
    • Create a formalized reporting process for discrimination and harassment.
    • Collect data on the department climate, including an external review.
    • Restructure the grad program to support students from less privileged backgrounds.
    • Establish formal mentoring and an inclusive study groups for undergrads.


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