Statements

Message from the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

The BISB community is committed to building a diverse and vibrant program and creating a culture of inclusion through conversation and education.


Looking Ahead - Letters of Support from BISB to Our Graduate Students

From Terry Gaasterland, Director, Bioinformatics & Systems Biology. November 13, 2022

Our BISB Graduate Program supports all our students as you each make decisions about participation in collective bargaining and the UAW strike.  Your individual needs, circumstances, and views will inform and guide you in your personal decisions.

Whether you choose to participate, not participate, or quietly work from home, you are legally protected from harassment or retaliation.  This includes employers, supervisors, union organizers, and union members.

Perhaps a negotiated agreement will be reached before Monday.  If not, here is some perspective, to the best of my understanding, that may be helpful in the next few days:

  1. The UAW negotiations regard the research component of a graduate student’s time and also paid TA-ships.  Each person’s status and responsibilities as a student is not part of the UAW negotiations. Thus:
    1. Students enrolled in courses remain responsible for attending class, fulfilling assignments, and meeting deadlines;
    2. Students enrolled in BNFO 500 to fulfill their TA requirement and who are not being paid as TAs are not part of a UAW collective bargaining unit;
    3. Students enrolled in BNFO 298 units are fulfilling a course requirement with two assignments – a rotation proposal and a rotation report.  These assignments are aimed to help first year students learn how to define a problem, lay out an approach, pursue results for 8 weeks, and write up the results to report to others.
  2. Many BISB faculty members are PI’s whose grants may be paying BISB students for research time, or they may be thesis Advisors and Co-Advisors, or committee members.  Faculty are starting to receive some guidance.  They have been told not to ask about the strike and not to discourage or retaliate for participation.  Any BISB graduate student who feels their PI may need a reminder is welcome to let the Program Coordinator or me know.
  3. Labor laws protect union members on strike as long as they are participating lawfully and peacefully.
  4. International students may participate in the strike without impact on their visa or immigration status as long as they are participating lawfully and peacefully.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to our Program Coordinator, myself, or any of the BISB DEI Committee members if you would like to discuss any questions or share thoughts.

From the BISB Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. November 13, 2022

With respect to the UAW strike, the DEI committee remains concerned about the well-being of BISB students, and encourages impacted students to reach out to DEI committee members. We support the letter sent out by the UCSD Academic Senate, quoted in part below:

...The Academic Senate supports the learning and well-being of all students, graduate and undergraduate, as well as trainees. Graduate students play an essential role in research and teaching at the University of California, and the Academic Senate has long recognized the difficult economic conditions under which our graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and researchers work, learn, and teach. We have advocated for higher graduate stipends and lower housing costs. We also support Senate faculty members, who are uncertain about their options as the University navigates a possible strike that will impact both teaching and service.

We respect the rights of represented employees to bargain collectively on the terms and conditions of their employment. It is important to understand that this is a legal strike, and we urge faculty to respect the rights of the strikers. That means not taking any actions that would infringe on union members’ rights to strike…

BISB DEI Committee Members:

Faculty:

Vineet Bafna (Computer Science and Engineering), Faculty Diversity Officer / Committee Chair
Terry Gaasterland (BISB Director/Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
Kit Curtius (Biomedical Informatics)
Melissa Gymrek (Computer Science and Engineering)
Amit Majithia (School of Medicine)
Graham McVicker (Salk Institute)
Niema Moshiri (Computer Science and Engineering)
Gene Yeo (Cellular and Molecular Medicine)

Students:

Erick Armingol (Graduate Student)
Jessica Au (Graduate Student)
Mike Cuoco (Graduate Student)
Jennifer Havens (Graduate Student)
Pratibha Jagannatha (Graduate Student)


Resources and Support for Those Impacted by Unrest in Iran

From the UC San Diego Office of the Chancellor. October 3, 2022

In recent weeks, Iran has experienced widespread unrest in cities throughout the country, where protests have erupted following the death of Mahsa Amini. We are deeply saddened by the death of Ms. Amini and the deaths of protesters inside Iran.

UC San Diego is committed to upholding fundamental human rights. We stand in solidarity against the use of violence, repression and discrimination. Our thoughts are with those impacted and with our community members who have connections to the region and who are worried about their families and loved ones.

We understand that events of this nature can affect everyone in different ways. If you are experiencing feelings of grief or anxiety, UC San Diego has resources to support you. Students seeking immediate mental health and coping support can contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (858) 534-3755. Campus faculty, staff and postdocs can contact the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program at (858) 534-5523. UC San Diego Health employees can call (866) 808-6205, company code UCSDMC, or review information pertaining to the Employee Assistance Program on Health HR's website.

Upcoming Support Events

Pradeep K. Khosla, Chancellor


Statement in Support of Protesters in Iran

From the UC San Diego Bioinformatics & Systems Biology DEI Committee. September 24, 2022

The DEI committee is dismayed by the violence in Iran. We support equal rights for all and the right to protest peacefully.


Statements Supporting Reproductive Rights of Women

The DEI committee stands by the following statements made by the UC San Diego Office of the Chancellor and the University of California Office of The President.

From the UC San Diego Office of the Chancellor. June 24, 2022

We are deeply troubled by the long-term ramifications for reproductive rights following the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

With this decision, the Court has overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade and the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions that have protected a woman’s right to reproductive healthcare for nearly 50 years. Many are rightfully troubled that this reversal may mean the Supreme Court will review—and potentially overturn—cases relying on similar reasoning that led the federal government to recognize other civil rights. 

Earlier today, President Michael V. Drake released a statement expressing the University of California’s grave concern regarding the Court’s ruling, which is antithetical to the University of California’s mission and values. The University of California strongly supports allowing individuals to access necessary health care services and to make decisions about their own care in consultation with their medical team. 

UC San Diego Health will continue to provide patients and students with access to comprehensive reproductive health services and will continue to partner with community organizations and Planned Parenthood for more complex cases.

UC San Diego is investigating the development of wrap-around services to alleviate difficulties created by the Supreme Court’s ruling.

We are grateful that lawmakers in California have introduced a bill that would protect reproductive rights in our state and grateful that Gov. Gavin Newsom has indicated his complete support. 

Support Resources for Students and Employees

News of this nature affects members of our community in different ways. Your Triton community is here for you and ready to help. Students seeking immediate mental health and coping support may reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (858) 534-3755.

Campus employees can contact the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program at (858) 534-5523. UC San Diego Health employees can call (866) 808-6205, company code UCSDMC or review information pertaining to the Employee Assistance Program on Health HR's website. 

Our country has made great strides over the past 50 years, yet as we are experiencing today, that progress is fragile and being threatened. We must all continue toward making a reality an envisioned future that is more just and equitable, protecting and advancing human and civil rights for all people.

Pradeep K. Khosla, Chancellor

Becky R. Petitt, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Patricia S. MaysentChief Executive Officer for UC San Diego Health

 

From the University of California Office of The President. June 24, 2022

For nearly 50 years, people in the United States have had the right to make private, informed choices about their health care and their futures. I am gravely concerned that today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision removes that right and will endanger lives across the country. This decision overturns decades of legal precedent and could pave the way for other fundamental rights to be removed.

The Court’s decision is antithetical to the University of California’s mission and values. We strongly support allowing individuals to access evidence-based health care services and to make decisions about their own care in consultation with their medical team. Despite this decision by the Court, we will continue to provide the full range of health care options possible in California, including reproductive health services, and to steadfastly advocate for the needs of our patients, students, staff, and the communities we serve. We will also continue to offer comprehensive education and training to the next generation of health care providers, and to conduct life-saving research to the fullest extent possible.

This is a sobering moment for many of us at the University of California and throughout the nation. Today, we stand with California leaders and health care advocates who are taking critical steps to protect Californians’ human rights and their access to affordable and convenient health care choices.

Michael V. Drake, MD, President, University of California


UC Statement on the Tragic Killing of Daunte Wright

From the University of California Office of The President. April 14, 2021

Sunday’s killing of Daunte Wright is yet another senseless tragedy that tears at our hearts and reopens deep wounds. Even as Americans follow the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, this latest horror vividly conjures the trauma and heartbreak of the killing of George Floyd just a few miles away. And so many, too many, others.

Sunday’s tragedy calls once again for our country to undertake the critical work necessary to reimagine how we conduct policing in America.

We unequivocally stand in support of ending systemic racism, of an immediate end to the killing of unarmed Black and brown individuals by law enforcement, and of prosecuting those that commit hate crimes against Asian Americans.

We are undertaking the critical work of reimagining policing with intentionality and shared purpose as we examine our safety practices and the function of police on our campuses. We will continue that work with purpose by engaging with all of our campus communities and putting forward changes necessary to create a safer future for us all.

Michael V. Drake, MDPresident, University of California


Statement in Support of Asian Communities Impacted by Shootings in Atlanta

From the UC San Diego Office of the Chancellor. March 18, 2021

UC San Diego is deeply saddened by the news that eight people, including six Asian women, were shot dead at three metropolitan Atlanta establishments on Tuesday night. We mourn the senseless and tragic loss of these lives. While the man being charged with the murders denies his actions were racially motivated, the killings come at a time when attacks on Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have increased dramatically.

When faced with tragedies such as these, we often feel afraid for our personal safety and the safety of our friends and families. UC San Diego stands together with our Asian, Asian American, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander family, friends and neighbors, and we denounce any and all acts of violence, hatred, or bigotry towards these community members. We encourage everyone to reach out to fellow Tritons to support one another and to be “in community” as we navigate this vulnerable time. Through compassionate actions, we create a campus community of care and belonging.

We understand that events of this nature can affect everyone in different ways. If you feel impacted by this and other events, or if you are experiencing feelings of grief, UC San Diego has resources to support you.

Student Affairs Case Management Services is available to assist Asian Pacific Islander Middle Eastern Desi American students or any student impacted by the violence against the Asian community.

Case Management Services:

Students may also contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (858) 534-3755. If you are a campus employee, contact the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program at (858) 534-5523. If you are a UC San Diego Health employee, call (866) 808-6205, company code UCSDMC or review information pertaining to the Employee Assistance Program on Health HR's website. Other excellent resources are available on the Asian Pacific Islander Middle Eastern Desi American (APIMEDA) website.

We condemn all acts of anti-Asian racism and violence in the strongest terms, and we continue to stand in solidarity with our Asian, Asian American, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander communities at UC San Diego, in our local community, in the U.S. and around the world.

Pradeep K. Khosla, Chancellor

Becky R. Petitt, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion


Standing with our Asian Community Members

The DEI committee stands by the Asian Community in condemning recent violence against them. See below for a message from the Chancellor.

From the UC San Diego Office of the Chancellor. February 25, 2021

UC San Diego strongly condemns the string of violence perpetrated against the Asian, Asian American, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander communities. An 83-year-old woman was randomly attacked on a San Diego Metropolitan Transit System trolley on February 8; a 91-year-old man in Oakland was pushed face down into a sidewalk; and an 84-year-old man died recently after being assaulted on his morning walk in San Francisco. These accounts, and many others including physical and psychological harm, are deeply disturbing tragedies.

The recent rise of violence has been connected to hate-mongering, scapegoating, and racism as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We recognize and condemn all acts of anti-Asian racism and violence. We stand in solidarity with our Asian, Asian American, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander communities at UC San Diego, in our local community, in the U.S. and around the world.

These deplorable race-based attacks reinforce the need to advance and practice civil engagement and to promote and advocate for justice for all. As Tritons, we will continue our longstanding efforts to build inclusive communities that strengthen civic life for everyone. Through these actions, we demonstrate our fundamental commitment to antiracism and promote inclusion for all those who consider America their home.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, as well as other units, has been actively engaged in ongoing community conversations to provide spaces for healing and to identify ways to be agents of change during these difficult times. To learn more about xenophobia and how to effectively combat its harmful effects, we encourage you to watch a recent UC San Diego webinar, Tritons Tackling Xenophobia: Battling Racism in the Era of COVID-19. Other excellent resources are available on the Asian Pacific Islander Middle Eastern Desi American (APIMEDA) website.

If you have experienced racial bigotry or believed you have been targeted at UC San Diego, please report the incident to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD).

We understand that events of this nature can affect everyone in different ways. If needed, we encourage you to seek support through one of the many campus resources. If you are a student, please contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (858) 534-3755. If you are a campus employee, contact the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program at (858) 534-5523. If you are a UC San Diego Health employee, call (866) 808-6205, company code UCSDMC or review information pertaining to the Employee Assistance Program on Health HR's website.

Although statements such as these do not resolve the intractable issues we face as a country, or even begin to heal the hurt and trauma caused by structural and systemic racism and discrimination, UC San Diego remains committed to supporting a climate of care and belonging. Collectively, let us continue to work together for a more just, equitable and humane society in our service, engagement, pedagogy, community, and collaborative efforts.

Pradeep K. KhoslaChancellor

Becky R. PetittVice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion


Statement on Today's Violence in Washington, DC

From the UC San Diego Office of the Chancellor. January 6, 2021

UC San Diego strongly condemns the violence perpetrated by a mob of rioters who today breached security at the U.S. Capitol. By interfering with the important work of our elected lawmakers, the perpetrators of these actions have undermined our very democracy.

I am also disturbed by what appears to be a stark contrast in the response by law enforcement when compared to actions toward Black and other minoritized communities who have gathered in recent months to exercise their constitutional right to protest systemic racism and injustice.

While peaceful protests are a mainstay of our country’s history, there is no place in a democracy for what transpired today. Such lawless behavior is unacceptable and weakens the core of our democracy. Every leader has a responsibility to oppose these events and to discourage such behavior.

I am saddened by today’s unlawful actions, but I am confident that our country can and will come together to meet the challenges of our times. The United States is founded on a set of shared principles that include a commitment to the rule of law. The founders created a system that provides avenues and channels to peacefully settle disputes and disagreements.

As Tritons, these events reinforce the need to advance and practice civil engagement and also to promote diversity, equity and inclusion as we help build communities and strengthen civic life. In these actions, we demonstrate our fundamental commitment to democracy and a healing process for all those who consider America their home.

Pradeep K. KhoslaChancellor


Standing with Our Black Campus Community

From the UC San Diego Office of the Chancellor. September 25, 2020

Breonna Taylor, a Black healthcare worker in Louisville, Kentucky was shot and killed on March 13 by police officers who were serving a search warrant at her apartment. Her tragic death led to widespread demonstrations for Black lives across the country in the spring and summer.

On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted a former Louisville police officer for endangering the lives of Ms. Taylor’s neighbors, not for her death. The officer was dismissed from the force in June in a termination letter stating that he showed “an extreme indifference to the value of human life.” These findings leave us saddened and outraged as we reflect on the indifference given to Ms. Taylor’s life.

Justice did not serve Breonna Taylor. It failed her. The decision grievously affirms that we must continue to work toward a world that demonstrates that it values Black Lives.

We recognize that the grand jury’s findings compound ongoing pain and trauma suffered by our Black family, friends and neighbors, and that many members of campus are also deeply affected by a decision that echoes the pervasive systemic anti-Black racism in America. We ask all Tritons to continue to stand in solidarity with our Black community members, to reach out and care for one another.

Pradeep K. KhoslaChancellor

Becky R. PetittVice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion