Diversity and Anti-Oppression
Statement on Diversity and Inclusion
People pass through our doors because of mathematics. At its best the place they find on the other side can
be one that offers growth in the experience of mathematics
to all of those who are curious and wonder. It can be
an invitation to join the community of mathematicians,
and to participate in the extraordinary intellectual
range of the subject.
In reality we don't achieve this ideal, and there are those among us who do not feel welcome. To these people, to ourselves, and to everyone passing through our doors we offer this. We are committed to fostering a community that is welcoming, inclusive and safe, and to which anyone with a connection to mathematics can feel they belong. We are committed to challenging ourselves to learn of the ways we fall short of this aspiration, and to work creatively and hard to do better. We are committed to increasing the representation of underrepresented minorities in all parts of our community.
George Putnam Professor and Chair
Department of Mathematics
After reflecting on the results of the Math Department Climate Survey and the notes from our previous town hall, we have extracted the following list of proposed departmental goals. We have also collected a list of proposed strategies for reaching these goals, which we hope to refine, organize, and from there turn to action. The formulation of these goals and adoption of specific strategies is an ever-evolving process which we hope you will be involved in! Please reach out via the feedback form or attend a town hall if you have any thoughts at all about these topics.
Increase the representation of those with marginalized identities in all areas of our department. In particular hire, admit, and make space for more people of color, black and indigenous people, those who identify as LGBTQIA+, women, non-binary people, people with disabilities, people from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds, first-generation students, and any other identities underrepresented in mathematics.
Anti-Oppression and Equity
Identify and remove structural and cultural mechanisms that perpetuate systemic oppression in our department. Build support systems and resources to ensure opportunities, well-being, and success are available to all.
Create a welcoming and collaborative mathematical community in which all can feel they belong. Ensure that all members of our community have people they can socialize, work, and learn with, in addition to trusted mentors who can provide support and advice.
Recognition and Value
Identify and push back against the ways in which a discriminatory evaluation of mathematical ability is created and reinforced. Work toward building a community predicated on the recognition that mathematics harbors a diverse ecosystem of experiences and interests, all of which are valuable.
Transparency and Accountability
Find ways in which the department can be more transparent in decision-making, measure progress towards realizing the goals expressed here, and seek feedback from all members of the community.
Resources and Readings*
*This list is an expanded and adapted version of a list supplied by Florencia Orosz Hunziker, to whom we are very grateful!
- Mathematically Gifted and Black
- “Featuring the Accomplishments of Black Scholars in the Mathematical Sciences.”
- The National Association of Mathematicians (NAM)
- “The National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) is a non-profit professional organization in the mathematical sciences with membership open to all persons interested in the mission and purpose of NAM which are: promoting excellence in the mathematical sciences and promoting the mathematical development of all underrepresented minorities.”
- Axioms proposed by Federico Ardila
- Axiom 1. Mathematical potential is distributed equally among different groups, irrespective of geographic, demographic, and economic boundaries.
- Axiom 2. Everyone can have joyful, meaningful, and empowering mathematical experiences.
- Axiom 3. Mathematics is a powerful, malleable tool that can be shaped and used differently by various communities to serve their needs.
- Axiom 4. Every student deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
- Data4blacklives videos
- D4BL Movement Roundtable + Pulse Check: COVID-19
- “The seas are rising but so are the people”: Data, Disaster & Collective Power
- We are the Leaders We Have Been Looking For: Organizing for Algorithmic Accountability
- We Will Be Counted: the 2020 Census
- Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Education Justice and Mathematics
- Pain, Place, and Race
- Best practices for undergraduate programs
- Findings from an NSF INCLUDES grant titled Women
Achieving Through Community Hubs in the United States
(WATCH US) lead to the following recommendations (explained further
in the link) for helping women and others succeed:
- Create a community among your students and faculty.
- Create a sense of belonging.
- Provide a safe and welcoming environment.
- Advocate for a Growth Mindset
- Work towards buy-in from all faculty for an inclusive and diverse department.
- Math Corps Program
- “Combined academic and mentoring program for Detroit public school students in grades 6-12. It features a summer camp, year-round Saturday programs, and enrichment courses for elementary school children.”
- Meet a Mathematician
- “A collection of video interviews with mathematicians. Our mission is to introduce students from underrepresented groups to role models through our video series.”
- Latinxs and Hispanics in the Mathematical Sciences
- Research Scholar Initiative
- “The GSAS Research Scholar Initiative is a non-degree granting post-baccalaureate program that provides mentored research and training for individuals interested in pursuing doctoral studies.”
- Being human in STEM
- “Currently offered at Amherst College, Yale University, University of Utah, Williams, Mt. Holyoke and Davidson this project-based course model can be adapted to empower students to investigate issues of diversity in STEM through combining academic inquiry with lasting community engagement on any campus.”
- Mathematics for Social Justice: Resources for the College Classroom
- Essays by Jamelle Watson-Daniels
- Jamelle Watson-Daniels is a PhD candidate in Applied Math/Computer Science at Harvard and acting Director of Research at Data for Black Lives. Two especially relevant essays of hers are:
- #Shutdownmath Inclusion/Exclusion AMS blog post
- Written by Adriana Salerno.
- “Disentangling Anti-Blackness from physics”
- Article by Charles Brown, postdoctoral researcher in the Ultracold Atomic Physics Group at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Graduate Student Mentorship Initiative (GSMI)
- By Cientifico Latino. All STEM professionals, including PhD students, PhD candidates, post-doctoral fellows, Faculty, post-PhDs in industry and other non-academic positions can be mentors in the program and help underrepresented graduate school applicants in their respective STEM disciplines.
- Boycott collaboration with police
- A form to sign on to a letter to AMS Notices.
- “Mathematicians urge colleagues to boycott police work in wake of killings”
- Nature news article.
- "Math in pandemic and precarity"
- Inclusion/Exclusion Blog entry by Tian An.
- Norm setting in different contexts
- Slides for class discussion, by Emily Braley. Slides can only be accessed with a Harvard email account.