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To the LSU Physics &

Astronomy Department:

The violence against black people this week and this spring are just the latest in a string of injustices in our country, which is inherently unequal. Police brutality is unacceptable, and black people are much more likely to be targeted by police to be arrested and mistreated. Even the coronavirus has sickened and killed disproportionate numbers of black citizens due to systemic inequalities. This is not how we want our country to be. 

 

Similarly, we cannot separate the academy from its inherently exclusionary roots. The fields of physics and astronomy discriminate against people of color in the United States. Our department has few black graduate students and staff members and no black professors, instructors, or postdocs. This is not how we want our field to be. 

 

The P&A GSO is an organization committed to fostering community in the LSU Physics & Astronomy department and championing graduate student well-being. As such, we are writing to tell you that we are committed to supporting the graduate students of color in our department.

 

We would like to enact change where possible. We are posting a statement of support that will remain on the P&A GSO website, and we ask the department to follow suit. We also recommend that you support our local black community by donating to COVID-19 relief efforts for EBR Public Schools, the Baton Rouge YWCA, Baton Rouge Metro Health (donation button on bottom left of page), or 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge. We encourage you all to follow the APS-IDEA initiative that our department has joined. Additionally, we are looking into donating a portion of our leftover open house funds to one of the above mentioned charities.

 

Fellow graduate students, we welcome further recommendations on how to improve our organization to become more inclusive and diverse, and encourage you to consider how you can do the same. Becoming a real, effective ally to marginalized people should be a priority for everyone in our department. 

 

We will not be complacent or complicit. 

Sincerely, 

LSU P&A GSO

Courtney Crawford, President

Ali Crisp, Vice President

Arshag Danageozian, Treasurer

Rachel Malecek, Secretary

Keilah Davis, Web Master

Fox Foley, Social Mediator

Ron Pagano, Pizza Lunch Coordinator

Tyler Ellis, Member

Erin Good, Member

A copy of this statement was emailed to the LSU Physics & Astronomy Department and shared in the P&A GSO Facebook group on June 3, 2020.

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