June 9, 2020

We are disappointed in the administration’s tepid response to the Black Lives Matter movement and a lack of commitment to institutional changes to make the University a more diverse AND inclusive place. We demand that the administration immediately design, circulate, and implement an action plan to make Rockefeller University a supportive environment for all our members of Black and underrepresented minority communities, among our students, postdocs, faculty, and staff.

This is our opportunity as a community to communicate that issues of diversity and inclusion are fundamentally important and need to be addressed by Rockefeller University’s administration.

We ask that you stand with us in our efforts to make Rockefeller University more inclusive by becoming a model for these efforts across academia, and sign this petition by the end of the day on Wednesday.

IN ADDITION to the action items requested in the alumni petition, we demand that the University commit to:

1. Administrative position dedicated to diversity and inclusion: Hire a diversity/inclusion officer or similar position that reports to the president. We wholeheartedly agree that promoting diversity and inclusion should be in everyone’s job description, and we will continue championing that goal, but coordinating these long-term efforts takes a significant time commitment. We strongly feel that having a professional solely dedicated to the administrative side of these efforts will shift some of the burden from trainees.

2. Public statement on recruiting underrepresented faculty and trainees: Publicly make a commitment to recruit trainees and faculty from communities underrepresented in science on the university website (appropriate locations would be in the Faculty Recruitment and Graduate Program in Biosciences pages).

3. Town hall: Organize a town hall (or series of town halls) for community members to discuss incidents of institutional racism experienced at Rockefeller, to brainstorm ways to address these inequities, and for the administration to be transparent with details on how they are enacting institutional change. Recent examples have occurred at other institutions including Weill Cornell, UCSD, Caltech, and an upcoming vigil hosted by Columbia University Medical Center (this Wednesday at 6:30pm over Zoom).

4. Climate survey: Administer and publicly disseminate the results of a new, anonymous campus-wide climate survey that specifically addresses issues of racial inclusivity, discrimination, and bias on campus.

5. Inviting speakers from diverse backgrounds: Commit to increase the number of invited speakers for lectures and seminars who are from underrepresented backgrounds. Here, we propose to also create an annual Friday lecture that is centered on the issues surrounding diversity and inclusion in science.

6. Annual reporting on HOL mentorship: Require HOLs to complete an annual report on mentorship practices and undergo additional training if they do not actively work toward creating a diverse and inclusive work environment.

7. Research relationships with minority-serving institutions: Develop a research training relationship with medical schools, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and other minority-serving institutions (as defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965) across the country. We aim to provide research experiences at Rockefeller laboratories to Black and Native American MD and MD/PhD students, and additionally, retain at least one spot in the SURF program for undergraduate students from HBCUs or other minority-serving institutions.

8. Anti-racism, anti-bias in science training: Require a module or class on the implications of race, gender, sexuality, gender identity, and disability on the history and future of bioscience. This could be incorporated as an extension of the Responsible Conduct of Research course.

9. Diversity statements from faculty candidates: Require faculty candidates to provide statements on their past, present, and future contributions to promoting equity, inclusion, and diversity in their professional career.

10. Increased diversity in executive team: Development of an institutional plan (with milestones) to increase diversity within Rockefeller’s executive leadership and board of trustees. Increasing diversity amongst the administration will push for decisions to be more inclusive on campus. Current executive leadership and board of trustees are listed here.

Scroll down below the petition form to see comments from our community retelling personal experiences of institutional racism at Rockefeller University and testimonials on diversity and inclusion.

Signed by

Rockefeller Inclusive Science Initiative (RiSI)
Post-doctoral Association (PDA)
Student Representative Committee (SRC)
Science Communication and Media Group (SciCommMedia)
PRISM (People at Rockefeller Identifying as Sexual/Gender Minorities)
WISeR (Women in Science at Rockefeller)
SEPA (The Science and Education Policy Association)

Donovan Phua, Graduate Fellow
Sarah Cai, Graduate Fellow
Olivia Goldman, Graduate Fellow
Gabrielle Paniccia, Graduate Fellow
Adriana Rosas, Graduate Fellow
Audrey Goldfarb, Graduate Fellow
Douglas Barrows, Postdoctoral Fellow
Sandra Nakandakari Higa, Graduate Fellow
Priyanka Lakhiani, Graduate Fellow
Nneoma Adaku, Graduate Fellow
Lindsey Lopes, Graduate Fellow
César Vargas, Graduate Fellow
Rochelle Shih, Graduate Fellow
Chad Morton, Graduate Fellow
Kara Marshak, Human Resources Staff
Ben Prizer, Research Assistant/Technician
Kristina Hedbacker, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anonymous, Research Specialist
Junghee Jin, Postdoctoral Fellow
Salvatore Caradonna, Research Assistant/Technician
Adrian Jacobo, Postdoctoral Fellow
Daniel Mucida, Head of Laboratory
Sarah Stern, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
Jessica Fyodorova, Research Assistant/Technician
Jennifer Balacco, Research Assistant/Technician
Nathan Parker, Postdoctoral Fellow
Sara Warrington, Research Assistant/Technician
Tom Hindmarsh Sten, Graduate Fellow
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anna Ryba, Graduate Fellow
Tatiana Kochetkov, Research Specialist
Nipun Basrur, Graduate Fellow
Ben Deen, Postdoctoral Fellow
Sairaj Sajjath, Graduate Fellow
Rachel Leicher, Graduate Fellow
Jean-Pierre Roussarie, Senior Scientist
Christopher Cowley, Graduate Fellow
Margaret Fabiszak, Graduate Fellow
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
Elizabeth Ventura, Human Resources Staff
Carolina Adura, Manager of Spectroscopy
Andrea Terceros, Graduate Fellow
Devany West, Graduate Fellow
Leah Gates, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anonymous, Research Assistant/Technician
Florian Hollunder, Graduate Fellow
Christian Pacheco, Research Assistant/Technician
Ana Milosevic, Senior Scientist
Adam Ogilvie, Lab Administrator
Amer Azim Hossain, Graduate Fellow
Christian Gaebler, Instructor in Clinical Investigation
Rebecca Timson, Graduate Fellow
Jeanne Garbarino, RockEDU Science Outreach Staff
Francisca Martínez Traub, Graduate Fellow
Frauke Muecksch, Postdoctoral Fellow
Alison Ashbrook, Postdoctoral Fellow
Kate Bredbenner, Alumnus/Alumna
Violeta Rayon Estrada, Alumnus/Alumna
Hala Iqbal, Alumnus/Alumna
Claire Atkinson, Alumnus/Alumna
Andrew Varble, Postdoctoral Fellow
Elena Waidmann, Graduate Fellow
Engin Ozertugrul, Research Compliance
Megan Elizabeth Kelley, Graduate Fellow
Dani Keahi, Graduate Fellow
Alex Stuart, Graduate Fellow
Philip Mojsov Nussenzweig, Graduate Fellow
Anonymous, Alumnus/Alumna
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
Carlos A. Rico, Alumnus/Alumna
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
Jasmine Nirody, Postdoctoral Fellow
Ruby Froom, Graduate Fellow
Lindsey Cantin, Graduate Fellow
Agata Smogorzewska, Head of Laboratory
Maryam Zaringhalam, PhD, Alumnus/Alumna
Olga Buzovetsky, Postdoctoral Fellow
Daniel Poston, Graduate Fellow
Jan Soroczynski, Graduate Fellow
Nicole Pagane, Research Assistant/Technician
Lisa Pomeranz, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
Elizabeth Campbell, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
Linamarie Miller, Graduate Fellow
Anonymous, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
John Zinder, Postdoctoral Fellow
Nicky Blobel, Graduate Fellow
Gabriella Chua, Graduate Fellow
Lauren Shalmiyev, Staff
Ryan Farrell, Graduate Fellow
Amanda Shilton, Graduate Fellow
Ryan Mayle, Postdoctoral Fellow
Ariën Schiepers, Graduate Fellow
Jakob Rostol, Graduate Fellow
Molly Weiner, Research Assistant/Technician
Elif Magemizoglu, Graduate Fellow
Buck Trible, Alumnus/Alumna
Kip Lacy, Graduate Fellow
Adriane Otopalik, Postdoctoral Fellow
Peter Fridy, Postdoctoral Fellow
lorena Buitrago, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
Bernardo Sgarbi Reis, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
Sofia Avritzer, Graduate Fellow
Emma Donohue, Lab Manager
Orlee Zorbaron, Staff
Kärt Mätlik, Postdoctoral Fellow
Jacob Mathai, Research Assistant/Technician
Agata Lemiesz, Graduate Fellow
Josh Salvi, Alumnus/Alumna
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
Olivia, Research Assistant/Technician
Melissa Pamula, Alumnus/Alumna
Kavita Rangan, Alumnus/Alumna
Benjamin William Fait, Graduate Fellow
Alice Gadau, Graduate Fellow
Carlota Montagut, Postdoctoral Associate
Kathryn Eckartt, Graduate Fellow
Margo Herre, Graduate Fellow
Sofia Landi, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anonymous, Research Assistant/Technician
Marisa Cerio, Staff
Sanjeethan Baksh, Graduate Fellow
Charlie Mo, Postdoctoral Fellow
Caroline Lara, Research Assistant/Technician
Brooke Phillips, Research Assistant/Technician
Jason Manley, Graduate Fellow
Haley Tector. Research Assistant/Technician
Disan S Davis, Alumnus/Alumna, Staff
Brigid Maloney, Graduate Fellow
Tatsuya Murakami, Postdoctoral Fellow
Polina Weitzenfeld, Postdoctoral Fellow
Elizabeth Krisch, Staff
Carla Nowosad, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anonymous, Alumnus/Alumna
Katherine Varandas, Postdoctoral Fellow
Nicholas Poulton, Graduate Fellow
Dale Miller, Staff
Veena Padmanaban, Postdoctoral Fellow
Melissa Jarmel, Postdoctoral Fellow
Sofia Axelrod, Postdoctoral Fellow
Bianca Cotto, Postdoctoral Fellow
Naama Aviram, Postdoctoral Fellow
Pooja Viswanathan, Postdoctoral Fellow
Penelope Ruiz, Postdoctoral Fellow
Sarah Szwed, Graduate Fellow
Neel Shah, Alumnus/Alumna
Emily Mastrocola, Research Assistant/Technician
Fanny Matheis, Graduate Fellow
Anonymous, Visiting Research Fellow
Willa Kerkhoff, Research Assistant/Technician
Molly Liu, Alumnus/Alumna
Lauren Lubeck, Research Assistant/Technician
Nia Lyn, Research Assistant/Technician
Alexander Epstein, Graduate Fellow
Kristen Vogt, Graduate Fellow
Katherine High, Visiting Professor
Audrey Harnagel, Graduate Fellow
Manon Valet, Postdoctoral Fellow
Marina Schernthanner, Graduate Fellow
Amy Huang, Graduate Fellow
Geena R Ianni, Graduate Fellow
Tien Phan-Everson, Graduate Fellow
Pascal Maguin, Graduate Fellow
Caitlin Gilbert, Graduate Fellow
Kasia Turbek, Laboratory Administrator
Nicole Infarinato, Graduate Fellow
Kasia Turbek, Laboratory Administrator
Albert Antar, Research Assistant/Technician
Nathan Harper, Graduate Fellow
Patricia Rodriguez, Postdoctoral Fellow
Priscilla Kong, Research Staff
Raphael Cohn, Alumnus/Alumna
Farid Aboharb, Graduate Fellow
Yadira Soto-Feliciano, Postdoctoral Fellow
Tatiane Kanno, Postdoctoral Fellow
Abby Janke, Postdoctoral Fellow
Taylor Hart, Graduate Fellow
Shiri Gur-Cohen, Postdoctoral Fellow
Tamar Feinberg, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anonymous, Visiting Student
Yael Tsitohay, Graduate Fellow
Mariluz Soula, Graduate Fellow
Xiphias Ge Zhu, Graduate Fellow
Claude Douglas, Security Dept. Staff
Matthew Tierney, Postdoctoral Fellow
Zachary Gershon, Graduate Fellow
Irena Feng, Research Assistant/Technician
Gregory W. Goldberg, Alumnus/Alumna
Yusuff Abdu, Postdoctoral Fellow
Tomoki Suzuki, Postdoctoral Fellow
Karolina Marciniak, Postdoctoral Fellow
Philip Kidd, Postdoctoral Fellow
Charles Xu, Postdoctoral Fellow
Ed Aguilar, Graduate Fellow
Eliza Llewellyn, Research Assistant/Technician
Maria Liberti, Postdoctoral Fellow
Noel Dublin, Research Assistant/Technician
Seth Darst, Head of Laboratory
Elias Scheer, Graduate Fellow
Anonymous, Graduate Fellow
Andrés Mansisidor, Postdoctoral Fellow
Sam Khodursky, Graduate Fellow
Lucas Tian, Postdoctoral Fellow
Adam Claridge-Chang, Alumnus/Alumna
Claire Kenney, Graduate Fellow
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
Trevor Sorrells, Postdoctoral Fellow
David Buchholz, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
Nandan Mandayam, Lab Manager
Ashlyn Gonzalez, Staff
Brian Hurwitz, Graduate Fellow
Victoria Schneider, Graduate Fellow
John Fak, Research Assistant/Technician
Bety Rostandy, Research Support Associate
Samara Brown, Staff
Lauren Bayer Horowitz, Postdoctoral Fellow
Pilar Mendoza Daroca, Postdoctoral Fellow
Soren Heissel, Research Specialist
Philip Pikus, Research Assistant/Technician
Lucas Kampman, Research Assistant/Technician
Anonymous, Research Administration
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
Takeshi Morita, Postdoctoral Fellow
Annie Sharak, Staff
Brian Fabella, Research Specialist
Dannikay Wilson, Animal Caretaker
Eva Bednarski, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
Hanan Alwaseem, Research Support Specialist
Elitsa Stoyanova, Graduate Fellow
Lauren Aguado, Postdoctoral Fellow
Amol Aher, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anonymous, Graduate Fellow
Andrew Siliciano, Graduate Fellow
Marwa Saad, Graduate Fellow
Irina Matos, Postdoctoral Fellow
Jennifer Bohn, Postdoctoral Fellow
Alice Cho, Postdoctoral Fellow
Zikun Wang, Graduate Fellow
Jennifer Bohn, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anonymous, Staff
Lijuan Feng, Postdoctoral Fellow
Kathleen Horan, Staff
Gabriella Spitz-Becker, Graduate Fellow
Rochelle Maxwell, Instructor in Clinical Investigation
Yashoda Krishna Sunkari, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
Lauren Vostal, Graduate Fellow
Krithika Venkataraman, Graduate Fellow
Nan Chen, Postdoctoral Fellow
Michelle Morochnik, Research Assistant/Technician
Itzel Ishida, Graduate Fellow
Vanessa Ruta, Head of Laboratory
Irem Izgi, Graduate Fellow
Paul Cohen, Head of Laboratory
Rory Coleman, Postdoctoral Fellow
Jeremy Rock, Head of Laboratory
Mila Jankovic, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
Sara Borghi, Postdoctoral Associate
Nicholas Gomez, Postdoctoral Fellow
Mariya London, Alumnus/Alumna
Qiang Liu, Staff Scientist
Marina Weinberger, Research Assistant/Technician
Gabriel Victora, Head of Laboratory
Anonymous, Graduate Fellow
Anonymous, Staff
Myles Marshall, Staff
Zachary Kerner, Graduate Fellow
Mila Jankovic, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
Rufei Li, Graduate Fellow
Edwin Rosado-Olivieri, Postdoctoral Fellow
Cayla Broton, Graduate Fellow
Gregory Alushin, Head of Laboratory
Camila Villasante, Graduate Fellow
Michelle Hong, Staff
Zetian Yang, Graduate Fellow
Stephanie Marcus, Graduate Fellow
Mizuho Horioka, Graduate Fellow
Anonymous, Staff
Dominic Polsinelli, Research Assistant/Technician
Moonjung Jung, Instructor in Clinical Investigation
Mengyin Zhang, Graduate Fellow
Matt Biegler, Postdoctoral Fellow
Kyle Windisch, Research Associate
Lihong Yin, Lab Manager
Sebastian Klinge, Head of Laboratory
Marian Okondo, Graduate Fellow
Kivanc Birsoy, Head of Laboratory
Sarina Karmacharya, Visiting Student
Joseph Luna, Postdoctoral Fellow
Jacquelyn Mountcastle, Research Support Associate
Zehao Zhang, Graduate Fellow
Yuriria Vazquez, Postdoctoral Fellow
Simin Liu, Graduate Fellow
Jordan Mattheisen, Graduate Fellow
Elizabeth A Thompson, Graduate Fellow
Joseph Luna, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
Hourinaz Behesti, Research Associate
John LaCava, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
Jeffrey Naftaly, Research Assistant/Technician
Alexandra Pinzaru, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anonymous, Research Assistant/Technician
Eiko Nishiuchi, Administrator
Justine Lottermoser, Graduate Fellow
Emma Garst, Graduate Fellow
Juliel Espinosa, Graduate Fellow
Stephanie Ellis, Postdoctoral Fellow
Ben Short, Rockefeller University Press Staff
Spencer Chen, Graduate Fellow
Anna Balchunas, Development Staff
James Chen, Graduate Fellow
Jason Pinger, Alumnus/Alumna
Meg Younger, Postdoctoral Fellow
Tom Wiley (He/Him), Genome Maintenance Staff
Devon Collins, Postdoctoral Fellow
Seon-Hui Hong, Postdoctoral Fellow
Edmondo Campisi, Research Associate
Anonymous, Graduate Fellow
Andrew Wong, Graduate Fellow
Laura Menocal, Graduate Fellow
Daniella Gonzalez, Veterinary Services CBC Staff
Alisha Dua, Graduate Fellow
Leonora Olivos-Cisneros, Staff
Alexander Meeske, Postdoctoral Fellow
Taylor Floyd, Graduate Fellow
Anthony C. Antonelli, Graduate Fellow
Allie Dananberg, Graduate Fellow
Nathaniel Heintz, Head of Laboratory
Howard Hang, Head of Laboratory
May Dobosiewicz, Alumnus/Alumna
Chiara Evans, Graduate Fellow
Matthew Davenport, Graduate Fellow
Mehrnoosh Oghbaie, Postdoctoral Fellow
Samantha Meadows, Graduate Fellow
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
John Watters, Graduate Fellow
Matthew Griffin, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anonymous, Postdoctoral Fellow
Douglas Heigl, Rock EDU Staff
Monica Mugnier, Alumnus/Alumna
Samantha Regan, Graduate Fellow
Victor Chen, Graduate Fellow
Isacc Ilyashov, Research Assistant/Technician
Arleen D Auerbach, Consultant
Emily Beckwitt, Postdoctoral Fellow
Diego Mourao, Postdoctoral Fellow
Violet Ivan, Research Assistant/Technician
Rodrigo Alonso, Postdoctoral Fellow
Menachem Katz, Postdoctoral Fellow
Peter Mussells Pires, Graduate Fellow
Clint Ko, Postdoctoral Fellow
Charles Hespen, Postdoctoral Fellow
Karl Palmquist, Graduate Fellow
Natalie Jones, Graduate Fellow
Sanraj Mittal, Graduate Fellow
Alice Cassel, Graduate Fellow
Aylesse Sordillo, Graduate Fellow
Mara Gnadig, Visiting Graduate Fellow
Hera Canaj, Graduate Fellow
Vicky Moya, Alumnus/Alumna
Madeleine Delbeau, Graduate Fellow
Eduardo Dias-Ferreira, Postdoctoral Fellow
Viviana Risca, Head of Laboratory
Andrea Jurado, Research Assistant/Technician
Lena Kutscher, Alumnus/Alumna
Isaac Kresse, Graduate Fellow
James Brandt, Graduate Fellow
Anna Erzberger, Postdoctoral Fellow
Brandon Fleischer, Development Staff
Anonymous, Animal Tech
Stephen Thornquist, Postdoctoral Fellow
Arnaud Vanden Broeck, Postdoctoral Fellow
Daniel Kronauer, Head of Laboratory
Anonymous, Staff
Anonymous, Staff
Xinglin Yang, Postdoctoral Fellow
Jonathan Green, Alumnus/Alumna
Lana Norris, Staff
Amy Shyer, Head of Laboratory
Sichen Yang, Graduate Fellow
Alex Paul, Postdoctoral Fellow
Lisa Fenk, Postdoctoral Fellow
Kevin Barber, Graduate Fellow
Iryna Ivasyk, Graduate Fellow
Dylan Kwart, Alumnus/Alumna
Ainhoa Perez, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
Ryan Kim, Research Assistant/Technician
Anonymous, Staff
Hironori Funabiki, Head of Laboratory
Sara Gannon, Undergraduate Volunteer
Santiago Otero Coronel, Graduate Fellow
Bernardo Tavora, Postdoctoral Fellow
Julia Uma Deere, Graduate Fellow
Sachin Sethi, Postdoctoral Fellow
Ianessa Morantte, Lab Manager
Emily Atlas, Graduate Fellow
Collette L. Ryder, Sponsored Programs Administration Director
Ruth Saecker, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
Christina Pressl, Graduate Fellow
Juhee Pae, Postdoctoral Fellow
Rada Norinsky, CBC Director of the Resource Center
Victor Cisneros, Staff
Anna Keyte, Staff
Hiroyuki Takai, Senior Scientist
Jason Banfelder, Director of High Performance Computing
Anonymous, Staff
Mariel Bartley, Alumnus/Alumna
Nicolas Velez, Graduate Fellow
Jordan Marrocco, Senior Scientist
Stephanie Sarbanes, Alumnus/Alumna
Yasmeen Khan, Staff
Chloe Burnside, Graduate Fellow
Libuše Janská, Graduate Fellow
Maria Passarelli, Graduate Fellow
Shawn Davis, Staff
David, Graduate Fellow
Dan Gross, Scientific Engineer
Anoushka Joglekar, Graduate Fellow
Christian Zierhut, Senior Scientist
Nadine Soplop, Staff
Evan Witt, Graduate Fellow
Likui Feng, Postdoctoral Fellow
Caleb Reagor, Graduate Fellow
Joshua Brewer, Graduate Fellow
Ilaria Ceglia, Science Informationist and Liaison
Kate Ross, Staff
Maura Gilmartin, Staff
Mukul Mathur, Staff
Kate Ross, Staff
Julien Catanese, Research Associate/Assistant Professor
Hessameddin Akhlaghpour, Postdoctoral Fellow
Josue Regalado, Graduate Fellow
Anna Yoney, Graduate Fellow
Yasuhiro Arimura, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anonymous, Staff
Irene Duba, Graduate Fellow
Tom Carroll, Staff
Alvaro Hobbs, Graduate Fellow
Kadija Fofana, Staff
Veronica Jove, Graduate Fellow
Kenneth Atkins, Alumnus/Alumna
Ezgi Hacisuleyman, Postdoctoral Fellow
Aarthi Maganti Vijaykumar, Postdoctoral Fellow

Additional Comments
& Personal Testimonies

“This is VERY important and Rockefeller can do SO MUCH better.” – Anonymous

“Part of the reason why I choose Rockefeller for my PhD was the promise of a diverse and inclusive campus that was sold to me during my interviews here. I have been part of many institutions and programs that were primarily white, whose heads and executive staff were almost exclusively white, and while they all seemed well-intentioned, it was clear to me, and to other POC attending, that there was a lack of understanding in how to properly and respectfully interact with and support communities of color. Once, at my undergrad, I, a Taiwanese American woman, met with someone from the Dean’s office, a white man. When we first met, he immediately began talking to me in Chinese and refused to let me either proceed into the room or with the conversation unless I responded back in Chinese. To him, that was a friendly opportunity to showcase his cultural knowledge, to me, that was a highly inappropriate, uncomfortable, and othering experience that put me on edge throughout the subsequent meeting. And there are countless other examples of these micro, and macro, aggressions that I and my peers of color, especially those who are Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and First Nations, routinely experienced. I see those same experiences being mirrored here at Rockefeller, highlighting our need for change. Listening to and supporting the needs of our Black and other underrepresented minority members translates into institutional changes that benefit all on campus, that serve to make our entire institution stronger. Science and scientific institutions have a long history of racism and that cannot be ignored any longer. Science for the benefit of humanity is only possible on a campus that takes efforts to include members from all backgrounds, particularly those from Black, Latinx, Hispanic, and Indigenous communities which have historically been excluded.” – Rochelle Shih, Graduate Fellow

“The whiteness on campus is blinding and embarrassing. I suspect that there is a fair amount of minorities employed at RU but primarily as support staff and to low-salary positions. At the top, white males reign. All presidents ever of Rockefeller University have been white males. However the decisions are made for hire of white men and whatever the criteria is currently utilized to keep the white males at the top, still in 2020, needs to change and bringing in a diversity officer sounds like a good idea to bring fresh ideas to this stale white climate.” – Anonymous

“I contacted Human Resources 3 years ago and requested that the University provide anti-racism training for the University. There was no reply or follow-up. I forwarded this to President Lifton (the email from 3 years ago) and also received no reply. It feels like there is a lack of accountability for responding within the University to these direct needs. I would like this to change, and to have a more inclusive, racially diverse Human Resource department to begin with.” – Anonymous

“I will do my best and continue to educate myself, to check my privilege, and to use my privilege to help make RU a better environment for Black students and staff, POC, and other underrepresented groups.” – Anonymous

“I am disappointed by the leadership at Rockefeller University in their response to Black Lives Matter. I expect to see commitment to action items following this petition from RISI. Please do not expect the labor to come from black faculty or students (or POC). Any “task forces, committees, panels, etc” should be prioritized and given pay, administrative support, and titles for anyones time.” – Rachel Leicher, Graduate Fellow

“BIPOC are made to feel unwelcome from the minute they enter campus, when security scrutinizes us for identification. It is so disappointing to see that Security is led by former cops, one of whom has publicly tweeted for protestors to be shot (https://twitter.com/mjmurphy65/status/1267618976999395335). ” – Anonymous

“I am a white male grad student. When talking to people of color off and on campus, I am again and again shocked by how massively they are affected and disadvantaged by institutionalized racism. Since Rockefeller’s leadership shares my experiences with respect to racism and not theirs, there is only one way to end remaining wrongs: Listen, learn, and act upon the experiences of those who are being wronged. More justice leads to a more harmonious environment which inspires truly collaborative work. Science for the benefit of humanity should naturally serve all mankind independent of their skin color off and on campus.” – Anonymous

“As a brown woman who wore hijab, I experienced a lot of racism and sexism during my time at Rockefeller from fellow graduate students, lab members and the institution. I was constantly asked for my ID — once while pipetting at my bench alone in lab during a late night experiment. None of my white colleagues were ever asked for their IDs. I fought tooth and nail with my labmates, who would say racist and sexist things about me and my friends — for example, that I was accepted to Rockefeller only because I was a minority within a minority. The whole experience was scarring, and there was no one I could talk to about it. Rockefeller can do better.” – Anonymous

“Ultimately we are ALL brothers and sisters”
– Engin Ozertugrul, Research Compliance Specialist

“Rockefeller U is the sort of environment that falsely markets diversity and inclusion. Most HOLs are white and male and often support the white, male trainees. Micro-agressions and macro-aggressions, as well as racist, sexist and xenophobic “jokes” occur inside and outside of the lab environment. Most of us do not report or complain with fear of retaliation. Scientific and workplace retaliation occur frequently between coworkers or HOL and “complainers” and HR is known to protect HOLs more often than “complainers”. Being Latin American, I feel more connected with the custodial staff than with the scientific staff. And obviously, I feel completely underrepresented at Rockefeller U. Thus, I can only imagine how other URMs feel. We need to do MUCH better and in order to make important changes we need the people who are in positions of power such as the HOLs and the president to be really proactive, instead of sending “pretty emails” or pledging against racism in social media.” – Anonymous

“Not me personally but a Black research student once told me that she had problems getting through security on her first day because they didn’t believe she was working here.” – Anonymous

“Any efforts to recruit students and faculty of color must also include concrete commitments from the university that will allow them — as well as support staff of color who keep the university running — to safely pursue their work. As Science Editor in Chief H. Holden Thorp notes: ‘It’s not just abusive police that need to be reminded that Black Lives Matter.’

The Rockefeller administration and faculty quite a lot of unlearning and self-reflection to do — as do I, as a non-Black person of color, who has also benefitted from white supremacy. The conversations ahead will be uncomfortable, but they are vital to both demonstrate Rockefeller’s commitment to anti-racism — particularly anti-Black-racism — and provide the basis for real change. Furthermore, these commitments must be made out in the open, so RiSI and other members of the Rockefeller community can continue to hold the administration accountable.

Scientists pride ourselves on our curiosity. Now is the time to be curious about solutions to systemic racism, following the lead of Black scholars, activists, and policymakers who have long been working in this space. As an institution of higher learning and biomedical discovery, Rockefeller has a responsibility to listen and learn from the experiences of our Black colleagues — and to ultimately translate that knowledge into action. In the words of civil rights lawyer, Michelle Alexander: ‘Our only hope for our collective liberation is a politics of deep solidarity rooted in love.'” – Maryam Zaringhalam, PhD, Alumnus/Alumna

“My previous institution had only one black tenured professor. The very visible lack of representation in academia is leading to HEAPS of bias in a variety of fields that we’re just beginning to become aware of. From omitted histories to AI training datasets, the lack of voices/testimonies/existence of BIPOC in academia needs immediate addressing. Also fuck 12. Let’s talk about that too, seeing as we live in one of the most militarized police cities of the world, and have a bunch of $/influence/resources to contribute to help change the narrative around policing.” – Anonymous

“Rockefeller is a place where racism and discrimination happen all the time , I personally saw it and experience it several times. “ – Anonymous

“Follow #BlackintheIvory on twitter, they say it better than I can”
– John Zinder, Postdoctoral Fellow

“Black Lives Matter. If Black Lives don’t matter, all lives don’t matter. As a major research and academic institution, we need to do our part in working with, teaching, and recruiting the under-served. With so many students interested in helping out through RiSI, we can really make a major impact here. Thank you for your help.” – Anonymous

“Being a Tri-I student, I have been encouraged by the recent efforts of WCM and MSK to declare their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion through multiple channels (town hall, multiple statements by deans) and take immediate action steps towards diversifying higher up administrators such as appointing a Black Assoc. Dean of Admissions and a Hispanic Asst. Dean at WCM. To this end, I have felt a lack of effort and misplaced priorities by RU to even address racial issues within the institution, let alone take steps to enact change. I have found RU’s response meager at best, and frankly, I feel thankful as a Tri-I student to have access to the resources and voices across the street.”
– Anonymous

“I have experienced a lot of bias in my laboratory especially discrimination and insult towrds asian postdocs by the head of Laboratory whereas all the white american postdocs/phds are treated in a way as if they came from another planet of excellence. It is apparent in research support, group meetings and general discussions. Also a previous asian postdoc complained about her mistreatment to the Human Resources but unfortunately no action was taken and the discriminatory lab practices continue.”
– Anonymous

“Among many things, I’m tired of hearing white males in academic spaces make minorities feel like their only contribution to this or other universities is being the ‘diversity hire’. ”
– Anonymous

“I seriously considered not attending Rockefeller due to the conspicuous lack of diversity among students and faculty. This was not only because you see how much this can emotionally wear down your classmates — responsiveness of the university to the least-represented students is also a proxy for how much the university values its students as a whole. When prospective faculty and students ask my honest opinion of the Rockefeller community the university’s response to this petition will be a major factor in how I respond.” – Benjamin Fait, Graduate Fellow

“1) Observation that kids of well connected and prospective donors get access to labs easily through unofficial channels. I do not think this is fair practice and is not in line with equal opportunity for all. This is unfair for many minority students and folks from disadvantaged backgrounds who have to compete to get into the official summer internship program. Have one fair and just system for all.
2) Lack of clarity and support for international postdocs and students when navigating immigration processes. RU can improve practices through clear, open and *recurrent* communication of how immigration rules and policies impacts student and postdoc’s careers and this was not done often enough. This is an area where the university can benefit from campus wide feedback.” – Anonymous

“I think our campus and its leadership is way too white and I also think it’s a shame there has never been a woman, African American or another URM president of RU. As I white person I haven’t experienced racism, but I’ve certainly suffered from sexism, and the two often go hand in hand. More colors, genders and inclusion!“ – Anonymous

“On campus I am often mistaken for a research technician or support staff. When I correct this assumption and identify myself as a post-doc, I am often met with surprise and disbelief. I understand the intent is not to be offensive however it is. Representation is so important and Rockefeller definitely needs to improve diversity in higher positions so that seeing a Black scientist is not such a shock.” – Anonymous

“Black Lives Matter. Black Voices Matter. Rockefeller certainly isn’t unique in being a majority white, male academic space, but it’s bizarre to me how much could be changed quickly in a small (but BIG), privately-funded university and yet isn’t. The leadership never acknowledges its privilege nor its role in society. The disparity in the roles that Black, Latinx/Hispanic, and POC hold in RU is never addressed. But we talk a lot about our community. Where is that community when it needs to tell their own that their lives matter? That their presence in our university is essential? That we will do something to help bring them justice? That we will do our part in making sure everyone is heard?”
– Anonymous

“I was appalled at the University’s delayed and lackluster response to the recent events of police brutality against members of the Black community and to perpetual institutionalized racism. It was disappointing that the University did not first think to reach out to the members of its community who have been personally impacted by these recent events until prompted to do so by outraged, affected students/members. I’m glad that RiSI has been actively pushing for concrete actions to be taken by the University in order to make Rockefeller a DIVERSE and INCLUSIVE community reflective of what it advertises during recruitment. However, the burden of educating the University about systemic racism and coordinating these long term changes should not fall solely on underrepresented students/postdocs/faculty/staff. I hope the Rockefeller administration understands that it needs to step up and take the lead on these roles as part of its responsibility to fully support its community. I expect the Rockefeller administration to take seriously these proposed action items.” – Anonymous

“As a Latinx first generation college student, I have always been proud of being a grad student at Rockefeller and have always wanted to share this opportunity with other minority students, knowing it could provide social mobility for them and their families. I valued Rockefeller’s “commitment” to recruiting students from diverse backgrounds and actively pushed this agenda, reasoning that increasing diversity at the student level would make it easier for all of us. Unfortunately, we’ve reached a moment where we see that RU’s “commitment” to increasing diversity has never meant increasing inclusivity. When confronted with their chance, their duty, to actively and decisively support the Black community, the administration has scrambled to find the words, actions, and EMPATHY to respond adequately. It is clear that Rockefeller’s deference for decorum and the status quo continues to leave little room for underrepresented minorities. Step up Rockefeller.”
– Anonymous

“Here are three examples of micro-aggressions I have experienced in academic spaces and at Rockefeller:

1) Out of the blue, I was once asked my thoughts on affirmative action.
2) Once, while in an elevator with two other people, I was singled out and asked to show my ID.
3) On multiple occasions, I have had close colleagues joke about scenarios where I would be racially profiled and arrested just for being black.

Although lack of diversity isn’t a problem unique to Rockefeller, the through-the-roof levels of privilege here just makes it so much worse. ” – Anonymous

“Once at the campus one of the Rockefeller postdocs (a white man) loudly expressed his concern that I might have black kids resulting from my relationship with mixed-race fiance.” – Anonymous

“First, a comment on inclusive representation in campus spaces. In the hospital building it’s very noticeable that every single portrait on the walls is that of an older white male. If you want a more progressive image, you might want to start with a more imaginative recognition of individuals. Between this and the wall of white men in Caspary, the message currently is that you high-key have to be a white male to be recognized.

Second, be aware that efforts to be inclusive can still fall flat, reeking of insincerity, elitism/diminished valuation, and exclusion through micro-aggressions. The point of advocating for inclusion and representation is for it to be more than skin-deep. We don’t want the right answers, we want heartfelt ones. We want authenticity from the administration. Consistent efforts reap the most fruitful rewards.

Third, if you want an example of how to take a stand for a cause/how to be resonant and proactive—see Ben & Jerry’s twitter feed…fight the power!” – Anonymous

“I) As is being recognized, RU struggles with diversity at the HOL level, and also at the Research Assistant/Associate Professor level (RAP). It is well known that having diverse mentors and role models is an important component of promoting diversity. Thus, a large burden falls on the few HOL/RAP individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups, who are asked to mentor trainees, serve on student FAC committees, etc., at a significant level. Although many non-minority HOLs spend a significant amount of time/energy/commitment to mentoring, FAC committees, etc., HOLs are implicitly compensated for this in salary support/laboratory funding support, etc., from the University – RAPs are not. Recognition that mentoring/advising of underrepresented minority trainees by underrepresented minority RAPs is an important contribution to promoting diversity at the University (and in science in general) would be a positive step for the University to take.

II) Fellowships targeted for women in science (Women & Science Fellowship) is a successful (as far as I know) effort to promote women in science. Similar effort could go towards a ‘minority in science’ fellowship/support program. An important part of the solution to promoting minorities in science is not to target only the highest levels (Faculty/postdocs), but to support entry level scientists as well (Graduate students, Research Assistants).” – Anonymous

“American descendants of slavery are specifically owed a 401-year debt. Broader racism cannot be conflated with this specific injustice. For an American institution founded by an emancipationist, any RU diversity program should have reversing the harms of American slavery and its modern incarnations as a core mission.”
– Adam Claridge-Chang, Alumnus/Alumna

“It is very discouraging that Dr. Erich Jarvis is the only Black faculty member. He is bearing too much of the burden of representation at Rockefeller and that is very unfair. There are not nearly enough faculty members who are black or brown people of color underrepresented in science. Rockefeller can and should do more to increase the diversity of its faculty and students.” – Anonymous

“By now we can all (hopefully) agree inclusivity, diversity, awareness and unity is something this campus needs to focus on. Let us definitely not forget to work toward calling out those suffering from entitlement and self importance as it also taints the culture here and offends many BIPOC.” – Anonymous

“There should not be any barriers for a person to have positive achievements in life regardless of one’s race, gender, or socio-economics background; it’s fundamental we act upon our own judgement and put ourselves in other people’s shoes. I have not personally experience first hand of racial discrimination (or so I thought), because I think “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” but the balance has never been equal to the eye of the beholder. So, something MUST be done.” – Anonymous

“I’m white, at least until i open my mouth. Plus I’m a bug guy, I don’t get discriminated against 😉 That said, a few months ago a friend (Chinese) was trying to park a car at RU over the weekend and the guard at the gate berated her using pretty offensive language – something to the effect of “you people come to this country and think you can do the same shit you do back home, but we actually have rules in America”. She was quite upset and told me about it, and I was like “WHOA DID YOU TAKE THE GUYS NAME?” I can get details from her if you want to follow up. Plus see the suggestion above – I’d like it to get some traction actually.” – Anonymous

“It’s too much to say here. Yes, I have seen and experienced racism at Rockefeller University.” – Dannikay Wilson, Animal Caretaker

“I have experienced a lot of discrimination in the laboratory towards asian postdocs in the lab particularly in group meetings, research progress meetings and also in terms of intellectual engagement. There is a clear bias or favoritism towards white postdocs in the lab. A previous asian postdoc who quit the lab complained about the same to the HR but there was no action taken by HR. The HOL should be held accountable for the discrimination in the laboratory. It leads to a lot of emotional distress and a toxic environment in the lab for a subgroup of people but not for others.” – Anonymous

“Rockefeller University has a long history of racism that needs a public accounting. Why are students not taught about Cornelius Rhoads, a virulently racist researcher at the Rockefeller Institute who conducted human trials in Puerto Rico in the 1930s? We cannot sweep our past under the rug. We need the University to declare that Black Lives Matter, and we need to reckon with our past, present and future.” – Anonymous

“At Rockefeller, I was taught that my voice, as a gender and racial minority trainee, will never be heard as loudly as those of my white or male peers. I am acutely aware of how I am “other” and constantly made to question whether I will always have to work twice as hard to be seen, heard, and respected in this ivory tower that was perhaps never built for me. When I work hard to earn a seat at the table and bring up social change, I feel gaslit, shut down, or appeased with words that are seldom followed up by action. This is not the first instance of Rockefeller’s administration waiting for trainees – specifically those of us affected – to speak out against social injustice. Not the first instance of having to relive our trauma in a plea for the university to do something, to do ANYTHING. Throwing money at difficult situations does not buy silence in the long run. It certainly will never buy justice. It’s time to shake the apathy, to tune in to the very real issues that persist today, and enact change. Without action and accountability, there is no leadership and no meaningful science for the benefit of humanity.” – Anonymous

“I was once put in an uncomfortable situation as a student in a lab at Rockefeller where the HOL was making stereotypical assumptions about me because of my ethnicity, talking to me about them as if it’s perfectly normal, and even asking me to do things in line with those assumptions. The HOL also did this to another person in the lab, a different ethnicity, in front of me. Rockefeller needs to work to avoid these instances in its community, and when they do happen, to have clear paths of reporting without fear of retaliation and promise that the complaints will be taken seriously and action will be taken.” – Anonymous

“It is exhausting to even begin to describe all the ways I have experienced racism on Rockefeller’s campus, but I can list a handful of examples off the top of my head. Other students and postdoctoral fellows have suggested my diversity fellowship was awarded because the bar is lower, I am constantly asked to show my ID by security while white visitors are not, and even in my own lab I am frequently reminded that unless you are a white man your opinions and contributions are less than. Our lab managers consistently provide fewer resources, ignore order requests etc from people of color, while bending over backwards to accommodate the white men in our group. White graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are given passes for subpar work or lack of contribution to the group, while students and postdoctoral fellows of color are under hyper-scrutiny to contribute and perform but are frequently discounted/ignored when we provide input to others or accomplish anything. I have heard disparaging remarks made about Asian and Black scientists by multiple HOLs as well as other students/postdocs/staff, and disparaging remarks made about Palestine by one of my lab managers. Because many staff and HOLs are paid by HHMI, it is remarkably difficult to hold them accountable. Because most of the invited speakers on campus are white, as a URM I have had disparaging remarks and assumptions made towards me at student lunches with faculty, which has discouraged me from attending these. At the level of the administration, it is disheartening to see a lack of diversity or efforts for equity and justice in campus leaders, including but not limited to the speakers who are invited, the lack of an official position to support racial equity on campus, invited faculty candidates, and the lack of formal education on racism in science and academia. To me, Rockefeller is the epitome of the “The Ivory Tower”, and it is difficult for me to take words from the administration towards addressing racism on campus as more than empty platitudes in the absence of true actions.” – Anonymous

“I have experienced and witnessed a plenty of racism working as a staff in academia, and I am glad to be alive in this historic moment to undo injustice. To the people in leadership, managerial class, professors, and all the white folks, please listen to the younger people. It is important to listen to every voice of anger and frustration that is coming out of this generation. Do not just choose to side with views that suit your comfort level. We are quietly judging you. It’s okay to change your opinion based on new information you just learned. We want justice and justice ain’t here. Black Lives Matter.” – Anonymous

“I often stand alone as the only underrepresented minority in any academic setting and it is the lack of representation and support that makes me believe I don’t stand a chance in academia. I consider myself lucky because I have had a strong support network of mentors and colleagues that has allowed me to gain confidence in my talent and potential. Yet this is not the typical experience for URMs. Many of my friends that are also underrepresented minorities have struggled with finding such an important support system. It is frustrating that what seems to define who, among us URMs, are going to be successful in academia is whether we have the support system needed to thrive in academic spaces. It is not talent and potential and rather the lack of support from academic institutions that further exacerbates disparities and inequalities for URMs in academia.” – Edwin Rosado-Olivieri, Postdoctoral Fellow

“Not at Rockefeller, but at a previous institution:
1. Someone told me I only got in there because I’m Hispanic
2. In response to a scientific paper I wrote for an upper level seminar class, the professor told me how surprised she was that my English was so good (for context: I have a very Latinx name, but English is actually my first language..so it’s clear she just assumed certain things about me based solely on my name). Also, none of the white students in my class were complimented on their English skills.” – Anonymous

“Scientia pro bono humani generis.

Rockefeller felt like home the first time I stepped on campus. There was a level of intimacy in a scientific community that I had not experienced before. A sense of deep understanding and inclusion; that we were working towards goals beyond the laboratory – ‘science for the benefit of humanity.’
But I am a cisgendered white woman.

I have seen that community change through others’ eyes. People pulling out IDs approaching the main gate – explaining they are practically always ID’d – while I received smiles, nods, and other forms of personal recognition and knowing. People lighting up talking to staff of color then getting shut down, talked over, and unacknowledged in groups settings with other scientists. People being denied their background by other white scientists with the words – ‘You’re the whitest person I know’ – simultaneously negating lived experience and attempting to invalidate the results of hard work. People saying they feel safer and more themselves with a mask on.

This campus felt like home because it was built for people like me. It’s time to rebuild. We need *detailed public commitments* outlining the administration’s work towards anti-racism on campus – and in particular the anti-Black racism that is so deeply ingrained in our society. We need *campus evaluation* in the forms of a climate survey, annual reporting by HOLs and admin, and training. We need *recruitment strategies* – but the system must be changed so that new recruits/hires can work safely and effectively.

It’s time to look closely at this university and ask – *whose* humanity is our science benefitting? ” – Anonymous

“This problem is not unique to RU, working as staff in a well known research institute, I was the only Black person on the floor. Going for grad school interviews, I was the only Black person in the room. I chose RU because of my interactions with RiSi students but with hope that RU’s dedication to diversity and inclusivity as was told to interviewees was actually true. I hope RU can take responsibility for these statements and take the necessary action to actually be diverse and inclusive rather than just say they want to be diverse and inclusive.” – Anonymous

“1. Lack of recruiting minorities as trainee and faculties
2. Lack of support and guidance from the visa team for international students
3. most low salary and support staff are minorities but all high level staff are white
4. Rockefeller tried used COVID-19 testing for protestors as a PR point. This is disgraceful. COVID-19 is a necessity for anyone at this point and just taking some credits for providing it is cheap ” – Anonymous

“I think the voices of other RU staff members should also be considered in this conversation, including those in food service, custodial, plant ops, etc who help run this university. I have friends who have told me that they feel excluded on many aspects of working here. The university has created a culture where BIPOC staff feel inferior and invisible.” – Anonymous

“I know that my friend, a black graduate student (who dropped out eventually) felt very isolated and unsupported. More can be done about this at the institutional level.”
– Anonymous

“I relocated to the US for the purpose of working at the Rockefeller University with great excitement, it was my choice, I feel grateful for the opportunity, but I never imagined the challenges of becoming a racial minority. It has been possible because I have the fortune of working for an amazing HOL that has a very diverse team and that never makes me feel that the color of my skin matters, but outside the lab things are very different. I believe Rockefeller can do better, having an administrative position dedicated to diversity and inclusion should be a priority; sometimes approaching HR, a mostly white department can be very intimidating. I want to express my gratitude to students and postdocs that, besides taking care of their challenging projects, devote a lot of time and effort to make Rockefeller a more inclusive place.” – Anonymous

“I have personally reported to HR both racist and sexist comments and actions that were made by an RU HoL in the presence of multiple individuals. As there were multiple witnesses present, it would not have been difficult to have confirmed my report. I verified in conversations with other witnesses that they had not been interviewed by HR on the issue. When they went to report the conversations on their own accord, HR did not follow up with action against the HoL. Based on this situation and other horrible behavior, HRs only solution was to offer me a transfer to another position instead of taking action against the HoL.

I have heard many similar stories from colleagues that feel RU HR exists simply to relieve the university of liability and avoid lawsuits instead of being a safe place for employees to lodge complaints against the people on campus with power. The fact that I and many others feel we must remain anonymous in our testimony should show the fear or retaliation many of us have. We need to do a better job of holding our campus leaders accountable for their words and actions in a transparent way. We need a tangible plan with timetables on how we are going to transform our campus and we need it NOW.”
– Anonymous

“It is shocking how segregated the university is. The scientists are White, the food service employees are Latinx and custodial is Black. Things need to change. On a smaller scale, I have witnessed insensitive and inappropriate remarks made to trainees and staff from HOL, referencing their ethnicity and emphasizing stereotypes. This is unacceptable.”
– Anonymous

“A fundamental cultural change is needed. Administration and HOLs should be more representative of the community ethnicities, it’s mostly white right now. RU should offer training on racial bias and racial awareness. Most of us need to understand what daily racism is, which form it can take and be conscious of our own racial biases.
RU should expand their outreach program to underserved communities and create a scholarship to support financially and mentor/train minority students throughout high school/college.” – Anonymous

“1) I commend the SURF and Outreach program for their diversity initiative- they actually do try. Jeanne in particular should get more recognition.
2) Another inlet to RU that can serve to change things is the RA program where diverse students that get experience and mentoring and maybe a chance at the grad program.
3) WE have women in science fellowships here at RU, which I applaud but no diversity fellowships. We should establish something -that might encourage head of labs to look twice at a diverse candidate ($ speaks).
4) The young HOLs are often flooded with requests to sit on committees because they are more relatable- I don’t know that’s a bad thing necessarily but it’s a symptom of this place. I know I don’t collaborate with anyone unless I feel they respect me as a scientist and as a student here I RU (20 years ago) I sought out the more liberal and accessible PIs for my committee because I was afraid of what the more traditional ones might think of a Caribbean female scientist. Those HOLs that mentor should also be recognized
5) The lack of diversity is also reflected in the heads of the different administration departments. I understand the pool of diverse HOL might be low- but why can’t we promote from inside or hire diverse administrators?” – Anonymous

“I support any and all efforts to increase diversity on campus and discrete actions on multiple fronts to make everyone at RU feel included and respected. The most illuminating example of the systemic problems RU faces is on this page: the vast majority of comments were made anonymously. Other suggestions that are not included the set of actions outlined in the petition are the following: i. Commit to supporting underrepresented students/postdocs/visiting students/staff by creating a mechanism for them to report problems without fear of reprisal. This mechanism needs to involve people they trust will listen and act. ii. Develop ways of rewarding HOL who actively mentor underrepresented groups. As examples, reward HOL who disproportionately serve on student’s committees because they are perceived as being more welcoming and supportive. Reward HOL/staff/postdocs/graduate students who participate in mentoring summer students from undergraduate diversity programs. iii. Develop a mechanism of reward for anyone at RU who mentors underrepresented people on campus. iv. Create fellowships to support underrepresented graduate students and postdocs (in addition to those for women). v. Commit to increasing the diversity of RAs who are hired at RU to increase the flow of these groups into PhD/MD programs. For example, RAs could be identified and hired out of partnerships with historically black colleges and universities. vi. Commit to promoting diverse candidates from within.” -Ruth Saecker, Research (Associate/Assistant) Professor

“As a person with a very typical Jewish face who lived the first part of my live in the former Soviet Union, I know from first hand experience what it means to be singled out and discriminated on both casual and institutional levels of life. Life in New York, a multinational city full of incredible variety of faces, erased my scars and generally assured me that we all are welcomed here in this big melting pot. Gradually I started learning from my colleagues, second generation Latinx, about everyday problems of people of color. I didn’t see those problems, I didn’t feel them, and therefore, I could disregard them as nonexistent and imaginary. But that view would be similar to the view of my even closest non-Jewish friends in the former Soviet Union. They didn’t see that overwhelming antisemitism, they didn’t feel it. It was not directed at them. It was not touching their daily lives. For me the Rockefeller University always felt like great, amazing and wonderful place to be. Now we hear voices of people and I know that if so many people are screaming in pain, the pain is real. I think that it’s excruciatingly important for all of us, to listen and learn, and act together to eradicate sources of that pain. I support many of the initiatives proposed in the petition.” – Anonymous

“I have been disappointed to see Rockefeller turn down highly qualified graduate student candidates who were POC. One student in particular ended up with a rejection letter from RU, but was accepted into Harvard and received an NSF graduate student fellowship. Rockefeller’s loss…” – Anonymous

“I would like to bring attention to the”Modern Day Slave Camp”being ran at the CBC Department! Racism, nepotism and favoritism are just a few of the problems in this department. All black tec are treated different from their white coworkers, blacks always have more cages to change than whites.. Whites are always given better pay increase than blacks… Whites get promoted faster than blacks with little or no experience and qualifications. It’s too numerous to mention the stuff that goes on in the CBC department. It just need a complete overhaul. The management has been there too long with no accountability… they do whatever they feel like an HR protects them…” – Anonymous

“During a photoshoot for the graduate program catalog, the photographer described several students of color, particularly darker and mixed race students, as a “blur of diversity” and positioned us according to how “diverse” we were.

Here’s another: multiple people—on multiple occasions—have crossed crowded rooms to touch my hair without permission. This has happened at Rockefeller and in other academic spaces.

I’d also like to note that I have other stories that I can’t share in a public forum. But know that they exist and that they are painful.” – Devon Collins, Postdoctoral Fellow

“I am a staff member, and my first impression of working at Rockefeller was that there is a clear and deep separation between those that are in labs and those that are responsible for all of the support it takes to make research possible at Rockefeller. Anyone with eyes can see this because the labs are predominantly white and the support staff are predominantly BIPOC folks. How is it that Rockefeller, a well-funded institution that prides itself on diversity and inclusion, has a culture of BIPOC staff supporting labs that are severely lacking in racial and ethnic diversity? It shows the administrations lack of priority for all BIPOC community members of Rockefeller.” – Anonymous

“I got ID’d after gazing over the river for half an hour. They told me someone called security. I’m a middle eastern man.” – Anonymous

“The fact that I’ve asked to remain anonymous speaks to more than just my admitted lack of spine.” – Anonymous