Thompson Hall with the sun

UNH Land, Water and Life Acknowledgement

As we all journey on the trail of life, we wish to acknowledge the spiritual and physical connection the Pennacook, Abenaki and Wabanaki Peoples have maintained to N’dakinna (homeland) and the aki (land), nebi (water), olakwika (flora) and awaasak (fauna) that the University of New Hampshire community is honored to steward today. We also acknowledge the hardships they continue to endure after the loss of unceded homelands and champion the university’s responsibility to foster relationships and opportunities that strengthen the well-being of the Indigenous People who carry forward the traditions of their ancestors.

A Message from Dean Anthony S. Davis

Inclusion, diversity, equity and access are core values of our COLSA community. Together, we are all strengthening the college’s commitment to being an inclusive place of work and study. Our efforts are a key part of a broader movement to dismantle the societal practices, policies and unconscious biases that have reinforced centuries of white privilege and systemic racism.

I write this with acknowledgment of my privilege: I am white, male and college-educated. I have had the privilege to go to well-funded schools, shop in well-stocked stores, hike, bike, run, travel, go out day or night and do almost anything else without fear of being targeted because of my skin color. I also acknowledge that the scientific community and the academy as a whole have benefited from and reinforced a system that rewards white people more readily than Black people and other people of color.

In recognition of these indelible truths and building from a belief that with privilege comes the responsibility to create opportunity, I am excited to launch three initiatives aimed at empowering change and sustaining the commitment shown by so many of our students, staff, and faculty:

  1. The COLSA Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) Committee: The IDEA committee will serve as a thought generator and promotor, sounding board, and liaison between me and all reaches of our COLSA community. The committee will be represented at our Executive Committee, first as an ad hoc committee, and then I will ask for your support in changing our bylaws to include it as a formal committee and institutionalized in COLSA. I will follow up in the coming weeks with the committee structure and process for electing members, with the intention of holding elections before the end of the semester.
  2. The Dean’s office and the IDEA committee will continue to support the COLSA anti-racist book share. The book share is part of the recognition that self-education and growth are core elements of the cultural change that we seek, and it is intended to provide us with more tools to embrace an anti-racist culture and deconstruct bias in academia and science.
  3. Monthly chats called Open IDEA Hour to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion ideas and concepts that emerge in our teaching, work-life and research. This is a chance for faculty and staff to share ideas and best practices and seek advice from peers in response to situations that emerge. We will begin this virtually and reevaluate in the coming months to find the most effective format. 

These three things are just the start of institutionalizing a commitment to social justice and equity in our operations.

I am deeply committed to leading a college that is recognized for its commitment to being an equitable and inclusive place of work and study and its celebration of the diversity of our students, staff, and faculty. Through the uniqueness of our people and our shared passion for science, education, and humanity we can achieve greatness.

  • Program Encourages Conversations about Bias, Privilege and Equity
    As part of a broad effort to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the college, Dean Anthony S. Davis launched the anti-racist book share program in fall 2020.
    Program Encourages Conversations about Bias, Privilege and Equity
    As part of a broad effort to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the college, Dean Anthony S. Davis launched the anti-racist book share program in fall 2020.

Dear COLSA Community Members,

The COLSA Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Committee stands in solidarity with those across the country who are rising up in support of Black lives. We, too, condemn the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. We join the Black community in calling for justice, accountability, and real change.

Our committee recognizes the need to take meaningful and sustained action against racism and to support Black colleagues and students in COLSA, and at UNH more broadly. There is urgent need to take concrete steps to promote an inclusive and equitable environment in COLSA that distributes support and resources to all its community members regardless of background and identity. In the near-term, we are working to implement the following:

  • Collect baseline demographic and climate data specific to the COLSA community (underway).

  • Host a Listening and Learning Exchange on Race and Equity for COLSA students, staff, and faculty (this was scheduled for March 2020, but was postponed to fall semester due to COVID-19).

  • Amplify the voices of underrepresented members of COLSA through Diversity Spotlights on our webpage (under development).

  • Work with COLSA instructors to develop student learning outcomes that address diversity, inclusivity, and equity as a way for the College to track its success at improving the College climate.

  • Organize a STEM Diversity Summit to build awareness about diversity and inclusion programs and initiatives within STEM disciplines of relevance to COLSA.

It is all of our responsibility, regardless of race, to work together as catalysts for change. We all need to participate. We look forward to our continued efforts in collaboration with you, the COLSA community, in achieving an inclusive College environment.

In community,
COLSA Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
(Sherman Bigornia, Serita Frey, David Plachetzki, Mindy Prieur, Adriana Romero-Olivares, and Athena Ryan)

  • Sherman Bigornia, Assistant Professor, Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems
  • Serita Frey, Committee Chair and Professor, Natural Resources and the Environment
  • Lori Gula, NHAES Communications Manager, College of Life Sciences and Agriculture
  • David Plachetzki, Assistant Professor, Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences
  • Adam Wymore, Research Assistant Professor, Natural Resources and the Environment
  • Athena Ryan, COLSA Graduate Student Representative
  • Mindy Prieur, COLSA Undergraduate Student Representative

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