Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

The Department of Physics' Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiative is a department-wide call to action to combat racism, discrimination, and implicit bias in academia and our daily lives.

Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Action

The Princeton University Department of Physics stands in solidarity with local, national, and global movements against systemic racism, which have been highlighted by the issue of police violence against Black people in the United States. We affirm that Black and Brown lives matter, and commit to ensuring that all members of our community feel valued and empowered to achieve their potential. We further commit to listening and learning from Black and Brown communities, and addressing how individuals, departments, and institutions systemically maintain and reify the oppression and exclusion of Black people and other people of color.

On June 10th, 2020, members of the Physics Department joined physicists and academics across the country for a Strike for Black Lives; a day for non-Black scientists “to engage in academia’s core mission to build a better society for everyone” by educating themselves and advocating for change in their communities. Discussions at a Department Town Hall held on June 10 illuminated the need for deliberate and consistent action to combat racism in our community.

To implement the concrete actions discussed at the Town Hall on Strike for Black Lives, we created the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Initiative. This Initiative has created six different working groups and tasked each one with immediately creating and implementing programs and policy changes that support and address the needs of marginalized physicists and students.

As the American public confronts the institutional racism of our nation, we recommit ourselves to listening to and supporting Black and Brown scholars and creating a department environment where they can thrive. We must work to support individuals with multiple identities who are discriminated against and excluded in our society, including race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, nationality, indigenous identity, and immigration status. We hope that our scholarship and daily actions will be part of a larger movement that forges an alliance to unite people around human dignity. 

Signed by,
Herman Verlinde, Chair and Class of 1909 Professor of Physics
James D. Olsen, Associate Chair and Professor of Physics
William C. Jones, Associate Chair and Associate Professor of Physics
Lisa M. Scalice, Senior Department Manager

 

EDI working groups

Advisory Board (coordinators: Mariangela Lisanti and Marianne Bauer)

Activities and Speakers (coordinator: Sabrina Pasterski)
This group aims to organize department events centered on the topic of diversity and inclusion, to curate speakers to meet the needs of other working groups and, most importantly, to ensure a departmental commitment to diversity for non-EDI events with respect to invited speakers and public engagement.

Broader Outreach (coordinator: Jason Puchalla)
This group facilitates and helps organize bridging activities within our department and the broader community. The group maintains outreach and in-reach connections and advocates for building pathways between the physics department and the public.

Communication and Social Media (coordinator: Stephanie Kwan)
The group publicizes and promotes EDI projects, events, findings, and initiatives, both internally to the department and externally.

Data Gathering (coordinator: Grace C. MacKenzie Smith)
This group focuses on collecting and and presenting statistics relevant for the department. We are a resource to the other working groups in the EDI initiative and maintain ties to similar organizations in other departments.

Graduate Student Recruitment (coordinator: Ben Weiner)
This group aims to make the graduate program more diverse and inclusive. With a program of outreach and professional development tailored to undergraduates, we hope to make the next cohort of graduate students our most diverse ever.

Undergraduate Recruitment (coordinator: Aurelien Fraisee)
We strive to foster a welcoming and engaging undergraduate Physics experience that promotes diversity, provides all students, regardless of their ultimate majors, with the support and structure most conducive to academic success, and offers meaningful research opportunities across class years

Join us!

The EDI working groups welcome all members of the Department of Physics (students, faculty and staff). We currently have ~50 members! Please contact us at physicsedi@princeton.edu.

 

Resources:

Cultural and Affinity Groups at Princeton(link is external)

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) National Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy (TEAM-UP(link is external)) has spent the last two years investigating the reasons for the persistent underrepresentation of African Americans in physics and has released a report with its findings. In this report, TEAM-UP has uncovered long-term systemic issues within the physics and astronomy communities that contribute to the underrepresentation of African Americans in these fields and makes important, actionable recommendations for community wide efforts to reverse this trend.

The American Physics Society (APS) Board Statement on Racial Violence(link is external)Physics flourishes best when physicists can work in an environment of safety, justice, and equity. Therefore, all of us must work vigorously against systemic racism and to overcome implicit biases. The Board of the American Physical Society believes that it is timely to reaffirm the importance of building a diverse and inclusive physics community, as expressed in the APS Joint Diversity Statement(link is external) (Human Rights 08.2). The Board expresses deep concern over incidents of racially biased violence and threats of violence against people of color.