The McGuire Lab is committed to being an inclusive place to practice science. We recognize the historical and ongoing exclusion of non-white, non-male people from herpetology, from evolutionary biology, from natural history museums, and from academia. As scientists, as educators, and as individuals, we are committed to removing barriers to participation in these institutions, and we furthermore support action to create a more just society.
We believe that public education is part of our duty as scientists. Members of our lab teach grade school children through Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS), lead tours of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and design and present exhibits for Cal Day in order to help make biology education accessible to people outside of academia.
In the Field
Much of our research depends on fieldwork, both internationally and within the United States. We recognize that the history of biological field work is inseparably intertwined with the history of colonialism. In addition, there are historical and ongoing disparities in the sciences (such as substantially greater funding availability and infrastructure for science) that favor researchers based in western countries. Given this history, we are committed to conducting our international research in equal collaboration with local and indigenous scientists under research and export permits granted by the appropriate government agencies in the countries in which we work. We furthermore are committed to collaboratively building collections and research infrastructure in these countries, as well as providing support, training, and education for local scientists when that training is, of course, desired. Our commitment to training includes to the extent possible providing laboratory, graduate, and postdoctoral training here at UC Berkeley.
We also recognize that fieldwork, particularly remote fieldwork, can be a situation in which racial and gender based harassment, and other forms of discrimination can and do occur. We are committed to providing a safe and welcoming venue for members of our research teams, as well as providing protocols for addressing issues that arise when in the field. Anyone witnessing discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence must either immediately step in to assist or seek the aid of others who can respond immediately. In addition, the entire field team must be aware of, and respond to, potentially more subtle scenarios involving, for example, the asymmetrical power relationship between faculty and students, the dynamic between western researchers and local researchers, and among people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, or microaggressions. The goal of everyone should be to ensure a safe and productive working environment for all participants. The PI of the lab is committed to recognizing and addressing issues of this nature, and encourages all members of the field team to bring to the PI’s attention instances of unacceptable behavior. Project Field Equity provides relevant guidelines for maintaining a safe and inclusive environment in the field, at conferences, and in other situations away from the university.
In the Classroom
We are committed to inclusive teaching and pledge to work to make our classrooms inclusive, and to keep ourselves educated on how to do so. This includes making clear in our syllabi and in our course introductory lectures our commitment to inclusivity, and presenting guidelines for bringing actions, statements, and behaviors that are at odds with a welcoming and inclusive environment (such as microaggressions) to the attention of class instructors.
In the Lab
We have clear structures for addressing incidents of bias and microaggression. Our hope is that instances of microaggression can be addressed one-on-one in a constructive manner whenever possible. However, when a one-on-one conversation is insufficient to resolve the issue or otherwise seems inappropriate, anyone in the lab should feel comfortable going to the PI, Jim McGuire, to voice their concerns and seek appropriate resolution. If the issue involves actions of the PI, the concerned party should bring the issue to the attention to a Department of Integrative Biology Equity Officers (currently Dr. Rauri Bowie and Dr. Paul Fine). The Department of Integrative Biology also has a Diversity webpage with a Mission Statement, contact information for the departmental equity advisors, and a variety of diversity resource links including for anonymous reporting of incidents of intolerance or harassment. We encourage a flexible response protocol – sometimes the best course of action might be to discuss the matter with a graduate student mentor or a postdoc mentor who could then bring the issue to the attention of the PI or one of the IB Equity Officers if the affected party wishes to follow that route.