Biology is the study of life and inherently recognizes the intrinsic value of diversity - all lives are unique, valuable, and contribute to the richness of our planet. The community that forms the Department of Biology at the University of Oklahoma (OU Biology) is repulsed by the 400-year legacy of social injustices, discrimination, and oppression and the present-day manifestations of racism that continue to profoundly impact our community every day. The recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many other Black and brown people, often at the hands of law enforcement, have been a horrendous reminder of the cost of our complacency and how much work is necessary to have a society in which diversity is nurtured and flourishes. OU Biology condemns all discriminatory institutions, policies, practices, and behaviors that marginalize any member of our community. We stand in support of the Black Emergency Response Team at OU, Black Lives Matter, and Black Visions Collective in their battle against the oppression of Black and other marginalized populations. We not only stand with Black, indigenous, and people of color in the quest for inclusion and equity, but we are also resolute in our mission to provide leadership and promote a diverse and inclusive campus environment through action. We are currently working on a set of concrete actions to improve our department culture, accountability, and transparency, which will be approved and released prior to the fall semester 2020.
OU Biology appreciates, studies, and works to preserve the diversity of life and we will no longer be passive in the movement towards social equality. To make the Department of Biology at the University of Oklahoma a paragon of justice and inclusivity will require our community to work collectively and continuously. We urge those interested in taking action to please contact the department’s Diversity Inclusion and Equity Committee.