We are heartbroken and outraged by the recent killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, and the numerous deaths and acts of violence repeatedly endured by the Black community. These horrific events, along with the inequalities brought to light through the pandemic, highlight just how unacceptably far we are from achieving a society in which each of us has the opportunity to fully and safely reach our aspirations.  

In the College of Natural Sciences, we echo the sentiments of our Chancellor, in vehemently rejecting hate, racism and prejudice. We acknowledge the pain, anger, and exhaustion that our Black staff, students, postdocs, and faculty are experiencing and recognize the need for space to grieve with family and community. At this same time, we urgently call on the rest of us to educate ourselves around issues of racism and white privilege in order to learn how to be effective allies. 

We recognize that our Black staff, students, postdocs, and faculty have been carrying a heavy load in advocating for change and in educating our society.  We must listen to them and not expect them to shoulder the responsibility for this change.  Instead, this important work must be shared by us all if we are to be successful in creating environments in our classrooms, research programs, and community engagements that are equitable, kind, and inclusive.  To accomplish this goal, we commit to:

  • Increasing awareness of white privilege and racism and converting that knowledge into effective allyship through guided discussions, trainings, and workshops within CNS 
  • Seeking guidance and feedback from our African American faculty, staff, postdocs, and students through advisory groups to ensure that our efforts respond to their needs and experiences 

We must stand together to end racism. We will not do this perfectly. We will make mistakes; it will not happen overnight, but we reaffirm our commitment to creating change. In our university setting, where debate, knowledge, discussion, and growth are critical to all that we do, we must continue to take meaningful steps and do the hard work that is needed to eradicate racism and advance equity and inclusion across CNS and the campus. 

Our first opportunities for engagement will be announced on the college Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website by June 22, 2020, which will complement the programs offered by the Office of Equity and Inclusion.  We will also continue to post updates on this site for CNS plans and opportunities for you to engage as we continue this crucial work.Please contact us with your concerns, thoughts and ideas at CNS-Together [at] umass [dot] edu (CNS-Together[at]umass[dot]edu).


Tricia R. Serio, Dean of the College of Natural Sciences

Elizabeth Connor, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Development

Peter Holden, Associate Dean for Finance, Administration and Operations

Maureen Perry-Jenkins, Interim Associate Dean for Faculty, Graduate and Postdoctoral Development

Mark Tuominen, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation

Jody Jellison, Director for the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Agricultural Research and Engagement

Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta, Director of Faculty Equity and Inclusion

Jennifer McDermott, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Karen Whelan-Berry, Director of Faculty Development and Programs