The Department of Geography & Planning acknowledges that systemic forms of inequity and injustice shape institutional and department life, and strives to build a more just academic community. In recent years, students within the department and wider social movements, locally and around the world, have called for the long overdue reckonings with anti-Blackness, coloniality, and white supremacy. Our department is taking steps to recognize the direct connections between our work as geographers and planners and our responsibilities to make change in these areas. We strive to eradicate racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and to decolonize our practices, relations, and pedagogies.
Our efforts are built on a longstanding commitment to addressing issues of equity and diversity in department life. The Equity & Diversity Committee (EDC) has existed for at least twenty years and emerged out of collective desires for a more just and diverse department. Over the last two decades, the EDC has worked to convene conversations and make positive change in a range of areas including graduate admissions, curriculum planning, faculty recruitment and retention, department culture, and mental health and wellbeing. Graduate students, staff, and faculty have long played a critical role in shaping the direction of the EDC, and in carrying forward its work. In recent years, the department has made public commitments to support Indigenous peoples’ efforts to protect their lands, waters, and peoples, and to address anti-blackness and racism in all its forms, in particular in our classrooms, research, and shared spaces. We acknowledge the challenges ahead but strive to eradicate racism in all its forms.