MCB's Commitment to Diversity and Equity

Dear Students,

The School of Molecular and Cellular Biology would like to follow up on the statement sent out by the University of Illinois on Saturday. As noted by UI President Timothy Killeen, “The horrifying image of George Floyd dying as a police officer knelt on his neck is one that will be forever burned into our national consciousness.” This senseless act of violence has triggered widespread protests across the country, and around the world. Rightfully, many of you are feeling tremendous anger, frustration, anxiety and pain. We are all grappling in our own way with the violent death of George Floyd, and before him shooting deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor earlier this year and the anti-Asian sentiments that have been found written on campus property recently.

We condemn such violence and all racism in the strongest possible way. As a school, our students come from a variety of backgrounds across the globe. We know that our strength lies in our diversity, that this diversity leads to greater innovation and creativity in our research, and that we all do our best work when we feel safe and supported. MCB is committed to being equitable, and we strive to create that safe and supportive environment for all of our students. For assistance reporting racist incidents that you have experienced or witnessed, you can reach out to any faculty or staff member, or contact the Office for Access and Equity at accessandequity@illinois.edu.

Many MCB students did not grow up in the US, and may have some questions about the deep emotions fueling the protests around the country. For historical context, there are easily accessible resources such as:

The 1619 Project, a collaboration of historians that was published by the New York Times last year.

and

Ava DuVernay’s film 13th, which can be streamed on Netflix, as well as her miniseries When They See Us (also streaming on Netflix).

Sincerely,

Rachel Smith-Bolton, Ph.D.
Chair, School of MCB Diversity Committee
Associate Professor and Associate Head
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Milan K. Bagchi, Ph.D.
Deborah Paul Endowed Professor
Director, School of Molecular and Cellular Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

June 03, 2020 All News