The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) is deeply and firmly committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) as the foundation of sound science and science education. SICB unequivocally condemns recent steps taken by the state of Florida, or any state, that would threaten the integrity of science by weakening DEIJ initiatives and threatening academic freedom.
As a community of professional scientists, SICB recognizes that diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice are critical to advancing the frontiers of science and improving science education and communication. We know that our community is stronger and our science is better when our membership is diverse, and when all members feel welcomed and supported within our community. Scientists with different perspectives often ask different questions or approach problems differently, leading to new insights, techniques, discoveries, and novel solutions. DEIJ initiatives in scientific education and research are critically important tools with clear, proven positive outcomes. SICB condemns any measure that would curb the ability of SICB members in Florida or elsewhere to recruit strong, diverse scientific teams within their laboratories and their institutions.
The value of DEIJ is broadly recognized across the funding organizations that support the vast majority of scientific research, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and most major private foundations. Florida’s move away from DEIJ is out of step with these national best practices, and SICB is deeply concerned about the chilling effect this will have on the ability of Florida scientists and their collaborative teams to broaden participation in science.
In an increasingly divisive world, it is critically important that science and education be kept separate from political interference. SICB views with alarm the recent efforts in Florida to interfere in the governance of colleges and universities by replacing trained professionals with political appointees, and stands strongly in support of academic freedom.
SICB is a scientific organization dedicated to interdisciplinary cooperative research that integrates across scales, and is known for encouraging and supporting new models and methodologies that arise when diverse communities come together to share ideas. SICB is proud to stand with scientific voices across the world condemning attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion in science.