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June 5, 2020


The tragic circumstances surrounding the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and a number of other recent acts of racially motivated violence painfully underscore the systemic discrimination and bias that plagues our nation. We recognize the pain this brings to all in our community, particularly those who live with the knowledge that the color of their skin subjects them to grave injustices and dehumanizing hate. The anguish and frustration over generations of racial disparity and oppression is being manifested across the country.

At this moment in our history, it is essential that we reaffirm and work to embody the core values of the Woods Hole scientific community. Every individual in our community of institutions must be treated with dignity and respect in a safe, equitable, and engaging work and learning environment. As a community, we must not only refuse to tolerate, but must commit to combat racism and social injustice. We must also acknowledge that words are not enough; there is much work to do to realize these ideals.

The leadership of the Woods Hole science institutions recognizes that our organizations have a responsibility to bring change to our Cape Cod community locally, and to the Earth and ocean sciences community globally. We also know this process starts with making changes in our own institutions, and appreciate that a commitment to change requires resources and hard work at all levels of each organization. Recent events compel us to work even harder toward the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative’s goals to foster a more inclusive, equitable, diverse, and just community.

Our past and ongoing work has illuminated profound issues of lack of diversity and systemic racism and bias present in our scientific community, and the larger community in which we live. We have identified discrete, measurable steps to address them. Taking these steps is part of our commitment to reform, to improve equity and equality, and to better reflect the society that we serve as scientists, engineers, and educators.

Mark Abbott, President and Director

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


Phillip Duffy, President and Executive Director

WoodWell Climate Research Center

previously: Woods Hole Research Center


Nipam Patel, Director

Marine Biological Laboratory

Peg Brandon, President

Sea Education Association


Jon Hare, Director

NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center


Rob Thieler, Center Director

USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

Chair, Woods Hole Diversity Initiative