A note to our CEE community:
March 19, 2021
In response to the horrific murders of Tuesday, March 16, 2021, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst, would like to express our outrage and solidarity against the racist assaults on the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, and to recognize the anger, fear, and sadness experienced by members of the community. Our country faces a significant crisis with the recent escalation of hate crimes against this group. Xenophobia and racism have dire consequences, most seriously evident by this recent mass murder. These actions are morally wrong and have no place in our society.
A consequence of these attacks is that those who identify as AAPI have been made to feel insecure out in public and at home. This is not new nor unique to the AAPI community, and recent events, crimes, and rhetoric directed against the Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and other communities have subjected people to similar verbal and physical terrors, recently and throughout American history. Members of these communities are likely to be living with genuine fear and trepidation of what might happen not only to themselves, but also to relatives and friends due to the actions of misguided individuals who possess ideologies that would initiate such actions.
We appreciate that the UMass Amherst community has leadership that strongly denounces racist behavior and is supportive of equity, and we stand with the statements from the Dean and Chancellor. We, as civil and environmental engineers, stand with our AAPI students, staff, and faculty as we continue to stand with other members of our community shaken by injustices both recent and historic. We hope that the people of the United States can rise and come to the realization that racism is real, and that validating racism has dire consequences. We believe that we can, as a community and as a country, learn to do the right thing and create a society that is truly equal and accepting of all, independent of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation.
With respect to the anxiety resulting from the increased racist assaults, we encourage affected persons to reach out to the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health. Maintaining your physical and mental wellbeing is essential, and you can be connected to a trained and supportive community.
If you feel you are being targeted or have any concerns/fear about other members of our community being targeted, please contact the CEE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, College of Engineering DEI Office, UMass Office of Equity and Inclusion and/or UMass Campus Police. Please know that as a department we support you in that action and are here to listen to you and guide you in taking the right action. You have done nothing to warrant this treatment, and building a public evidence base is an actionable way to change the culture.
The CEE Department recognizes diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as crucial values to the CEE Department and the UMass Amherst mission. We strive for continual assessment and improvement of the department culture to promote the importance of these values. We will actively engage with students, staff, faculty, and alumni to identify and take actions to eliminate existing barriers in decision-making processes, resource allocation, and policies, leveraging resources from the broader DEI network. We value and encourage engagement with local communities and the broader discipline in outreach, education, and community-based research. Through these actions, we aim to create an inclusive, equitable, and respectful environment that maximizes academic and personal success for all members of our community.