At UCI, our department houses both physics and astronomy, and our department is part of the larger school of physical sciences, which includes math, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and earth sciences.
Several UCI graduate students and postdocs prepared a list of action items outlining action items the department could take to make the climate better. We presented this statement during a town hall that the Physics and Astronomy Department attended.
Although the faculty seemed initially willing to hear us out, pledging funding and support, after our statement, the faculty seemed to backpedal. The panel was almost unmoderated, and our statements were only praised when they were co-opted almost word for word by our peers. In addition, folks peddled in racist sentiments and myths, which were unchecked by faculty. We later sent the above document to the department, and have a meeting on 07/09/2020 to touch base. Since the town hall, an anti-racism book club has been started in the School of Physical Sciences (first meeting will be tomorrow), and a mixer for Black graduate students, postdocs, and faculty in the School of Physical Sciences has been implemented.
The department followed up after the town hall with these updates:
The department applied to the APS Bridge program and is now an APS Bridge Partner Institution
The APS Division of Particle and Fields has an Ethics and Inclusion Task Force that is looking at possible ways to petition APS for application fee waivers for underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students + students with financial needs for all US institutions
The department will expand TA training to include micro-aggression, implicit bias, and bystander trainings, while adding modules from the Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation on teaching and remote instruction.
At UCI, we’ve maintained our group of POC and are simply working to stay in community with each other and stay updated with the work of the department