SVP condemns the violence, misogyny and racism that has been directed at Asian American and Asian Pacific Islander communities. While vertebrate paleontology has had a history of participation by Asian scholars and scholars of Asian ancestry that is higher than in many branches of geosciences, this still does not reflect the global proportions of individuals with Asian ancestry. This is especially true for representation from those of Asian ancestry living in countries with white privilege.
We recognize that we as a society, like other scientific societies, have failed to grapple with the effects of colonialism, racist immigration policies, and other events and beliefs that have created and reinforced the ongoing structural racism within our discipline. We are trying to rectify that failure and welcome input from both our members and from those outside the society.
We want to do more than offer thoughts and prayers, and want to actively combat structural racism in our society, our field, the scientific community, and globally. SVP is striving to increase our recruitment of a more diverse membership and reduce barriers to entry into the field for students. We have recently established the FUTURES award for Black, Indigenous, or members of other racial and ethnic minority groups, which will provide $5000 for summer research for a student, and since then we have raised over $40,000 to establish the award. This award joins other awards that support both individual scientists and institutions around the world who face barriers to communication with the global paleontological community and awards for student travel that prioritize economic hardship. During the pandemic, we have worked with members and with those seeking membership to provide affordable membership and meeting solutions. We are in the process of implementing double-blind peer review for our Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology as studies have shown that there is disparity in the peer review process.
SVP has long had an anti-discrimination statement, but it is clear that we have much work to do to make our field the vibrant, diverse community that reflects the interest that all people have in the fossil record. We need, as a scientific society, to examine our views and behavior and work to make our colleagues safe and feel valued, when doing field work, lab work, public outreach or at our meetings. The members of the Executive Committee and Diversity Committee are continuing to educate ourselves in the ways we can fight white supremacy, and hope all of our members will join us.
We consider harassment, discrimination, bullying or coercive manipulation in any form to be scientific misconduct. If you experience or witness such behavior, contact the SVP Ethics Officer.
Donate to the FUTURES Award
We also recommend this fieldwork safety webinar to learn how to protect at risk researchers in the field.
Some organizations working to fight Anti-Asian racism:
Asian Americans Advancing Justice