Bring Black Tenured Professors to Boston College STEM Departments

Bring Black Tenured Professors to Boston College STEM Departments

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Amaya Powis started this petition to Biology Professor and Deluca Chair of Biology Thomas Chiles and

This is a call to action for Boston College to address the lack of diversity and inclusion within its STEM departments, primarily the absence of Black representation within its tenured teaching staff. Strikingly, Boston College’s Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology and Physics departments currently have no tenured Black professors. In academia, tenure status protects a professor from termination with the exception of extreme cases. Some argue that given its protections, tenure status is the only way to exert true academic freedom without fear of termination. Another benefit of tenure status includes the power to vote on promotion of future tenure candidates, while non-tenure professors may only vote at the discretion of the department chair. 

Research has shown that representation and community are important factors in the transmission of knowledge; therefore the lack of Black representation is detrimental to Boston College’s Black students within these departments. Retention of Black students within STEM fields is important given their historical underrepresentation, and action needs to be taken. 

Overall, increasing representation aligns with Boston College’s Jesuit values. On the website of the Office of Institutional Diversity is a framed quote by the president Father William P. Leahy himself where he states, “When individuals are not recognized, or don’t feel at home, or are unable to contribute as they might, we all suffer, we’re all weakened. We’re not as strong as we could be.” Black tenureship at Boston College will help students feel recognized, at home and more able to contribute within these STEM departments!

 

 

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