COAST Anti-Racism and Diversity Inclusion Statement

​​​-Anti-Racism and Inclusive Diversity Resources​-

To the COAST community and the world beyond, 

We are writing to speak out against the abhorrent institutionalized racism that has dominated this country since colonial times. We condemn the taking of the Black lives that have made the recent headlines (George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others), and the many, many others that have not. We condemn the taking of lives of Black people, Indigenous peoples and people of color and the injuries and injustices that have been done going back hundreds of years and continue today. The ongoing protests across the country are a call to action: it is far past time to shine a light on our nation’s racist and violent past and to dismantle the structures and policies that have led us to this moment.

COAST is the organization for marine, coastal and coastal watershed related research in the California State University (CSU). The CSU is the nation’s largest, most diverse four-year public university system in the country: more than 60% of CSU students are students of color. As a field, marine science across the country notably lacks faculty members, practitioners, and students of color. COAST, situated within the CSU, is no exception. The majority of students we support through undergraduate and graduate student research awards, travel funding and paid summer internships are White and do not reflect the diverse composition of the larger CSU student population. 

A 2018 study by Rachel Bernard and Emily Cooperdock​ shows that over the last 40 years in the U.S., the number of PhDs in atmospheric, earth and ocean sciences awarded to underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities has remained exceedingly low. In 2016, 5,138 PhDs were awarded in ocean science. Less than 8% of the recipients were non-White or non-Asian. This is despite a substantial relative increase in racial and ethnic minorities in the overall US population during those 40 years as well as extensive efforts to engage students of color and increase diversity among STEM students, particularly at the graduate level. 

Why? What are we doing wrong, or not doing at all? At the CSU, we know how to create opportunities for students, but clearly opportunity alone is not enough. How can we do better? How can we create meaningful experiences, where underrepresented students feel valued, included, and encouraged to pursue STEM fields, especially marine science and related disciplines? 

We don’t have all the answers, but we believe COAST can play a role in addressing the lack of representation by people of color and other underrepresented groups in marine science. We envision a future in which more people of color 1) pursue and succeed in attaining degrees in marine science and related disciplines at both the undergraduate and graduate level, 2) hold faculty positions in marine science and related disciplines and 3) enter the non-academic work force in marine science and other STEM-related fields, including education, industry and public policy. 

The first thing we are doing is creating a new section on our website with resources​ to help the CSU marine science community become more equitable, inclusive and diverse. There will be multiple sections with resources specific to academia, pedagogy, STEM and marine science. But more importantly, there will be materials on the history of institutionalized, systemic and pervasive racism against Black people and other people of color in our country. We believe that we have to look backward in order to go forward: it is impossible to understand where we are today and to figure out how to create an equitable and just society without studying how we have arrived at this point in our own history.

You’ll be hearing more from us on social media and our website over the coming weeks and months as we identify additional actions we will take. For us, this isn’t a one-and-done statement. We are committed to a sustained, programmatic investment in real and meaningful change. We have a long way to go, and we hope you will join us. 

Dr. Krista Kamer, COAST Director

COAST Executive Committee members
Dr. Christine Whitcraft​, CSU Long Beach
Dr. Andrew Lawson, Presidential Liaison, CSU Monterey Bay
Dr. Laurie Richmond, Cal Poly Humboldt
Dr. Jennifer Burnaford, Cal State Fullerton
Dr. Yvonne Harris, Associate Vice President, Sacramento State University
Dr. Rick Zechman, Associate Dean, Cal Poly Humboldt
Dr. Jaime Matera, CSU Channel Islands
Dr. Alexis Pasulka, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

COAST Staff members
Kimberly Jassowski, Program Support Coordinator
Georgia Martel, Program Assistant

February 28, 2023