Diversity & Inclusion Commitments

The CVG leadership strongly supports the official statements of Cornell University President Martha Pollack on valuing diversity and inclusion and taking actions to address on-going issues of injustice and inequity. A call to individual and community action from the CVG Director, Praveen Sethupathy, can be found here.

The CVG is dedicated to concrete actions that uncompromisingly promote diversity and inclusion, steadily root out implicit and explicit bias, and cultivate a culture of belonging. In as much as possible, we have been committed, and will stay committed, to the actions described below. It is important to note that this is only a starting point. We aim to be in regular conversation with all of our members (faculty, trainees, and staff), especially those from under-represented communities, about how we can most effectively support, promote, and retain trainees, staff, and faculty from all backgrounds.

  1. Every invited speaker panel (for the biennial symposia or other special symposia) will include different genders and diverse ancestries. This is a reflection of our ongoing policy and we believe it is critical for ensuring that our community has the opportunity to hear from leaders and scholars from as many backgrounds as possible.
  2. For joint/collaborative symposia, grant mechanisms, or other opportunities, we will prioritize partnerships with other centers and units on campus that exhibit similar commitments to diversity and inclusion.
  3. Top priority will be given to ensuring diversity and gender parity on all internal executive committees (trainee, seed grants, scholar awards, and journal club). It is critical that this effort does not lead to the overburdening of CVG members from under-represented groups. Therefore, the CVG is equally committed to the increased diversification of the CVG member body. To that end, the Director reaches out on a semesterly/yearly basis to various life sciences departments/programs across campus, to learn about new genomics hires or new entrants to genomics research, especially within units that are not historically as well-connected to the CVG.
  4. We will highlight and share with the CVG community initiatives within member labs that promote education and conversation about diversity in science (one example is the Zamudio lab). Moreover, the CVG Director will model this within his/her own lab. For example, during the summer of 2020 the Sethupathy lab committed half of each weekly lab meeting for discussions on topics that pertain to inequity and bias in science and medicine. During the Fall of 2020, the Sethupathy lab is researching, highlighting, and discussing on a weekly basis the lives and accomplishments of scientists from under-represented minority backgrounds who were not given the due credit their achievements deserved.
  5. We will continue to encourage and fully financially support yearly attendance of CVG trainees at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) and/or the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) annual conference. The CVG has also initiated, and will strive to maintain, a partnership with the Cornell SACNAS chapter in order to facilitate informal interactions, discussions, and networking with CVG faculty.
  6. The CVG Director has been and will continue to participate actively and regularly in initiatives from Cornell Program for Achieving Career Excellence (PACE) and Cornell Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD) that invite faculty involvement. The Director will also partner with the leaders of these programs to brainstorm additional ways of supporting under-represented trainees and increasing CVG faculty involvement in these endeavors. The CVG Assistant Director will continue to actively participate on the Research Division’s Belonging-At-Cornell Council, initiating actions to increase a culture of belonging within the division, and to improve recruitment and retention of a diverse division workforce.
  7. The CVG will regularly remind and encourage member faculty to take advantage of opportunities made available by the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity (OFDD) and the new Center for Teaching Innovation (CTI). The OFDD offers many resources, seminars, and workshops addressing a wide range of topics including sustained commitment to diversity and inclusion that goes beyond hiring and speaks to lab culture and environment. For example, recent workshops include “Working and Teaching in a Diverse Campus”. OFDD also offers resources for faculty to engage in conversations about race and anti-racism.
  8. We will read and respect the local land acknowledgment (below) at the start of our annual events (symposium, member meeting) and other significant events (September Verge, etc.) with the intent to raise awareness of local Indigenous history and the current status of local Indigenous nations. We will explore other meaningful actions we can take to support indigenous scholars and their communities and will update this page as we establish those actions.

    Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York State, and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ people, past and present, to these lands and waters.

    We encourage all who engage with Cornell University to learn more about the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’, their history, and people, about the significance and use of this land acknowledgment, and to take meaningful action to support indigenous scholars and their communities. The CVG took inspiration from the land acknowledgment information shared by Cornell's American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP) and encourage all to learn more about CU AIISP and their project on Cornell’s Relationship to Indigenous Dispossession.