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PARR DEI POD 2021 Ashikha Arun, Liam Bendezu, Emily Bradbury, Andreamarie Efthymiou, Annie Evans, Shatorupa Ghosh, Isha Padhye

WHO ARE WE?

The DEI pod is made up of seven undergraduate students (counterclockwise). Andreamarie (Andrea) Efthymiou (she/her/hers): Comparative Literature & Philosophy, Arabic minor. Emily Bradbury (she/her/hers): English & HDFS. Ashikha (Ashi) Arun (she/her/hers): Psychology, Neuroscience and Biology double minor. Annie Evans (she/her/hers): Political Science & Philosophy, Statistics and Analytics Minor. Isha Padhye (she/her/hers): Public Policy, Spanish and Statistics double minor. Liam Bendezu (he/him/his): Philosophy & Economics, Astronomy minor. Shatorupa Ghosh (she/her/hers): Biomedical Engineering & Health, Medicine & Human Values.

WHAT DOES DEI MEAN TO US?

As the newest group in the Undergraduate Fellowship, it was the goal of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion pod this year to...

1) Make a meaningful impact within the Parr Center Undergraduate Fellowship by creating a safe space for fellows to make themselves heard as well as upholding standards conscious of diversity, equity and inclusion.

2) Work hard on establishing the pod's purpose and goals for the future.

3) Collaborating with the rest of the Fellowship on both internal and outward-facing projects.

The year started off with developing a cultural vision for the Parr Center. Here were some of the ideals we proposed and undergraduate fellows signed on to:

Be respectful to all members of the Parr Center Undergraduate Fellowship regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical appearance and ability, socio-economic background, life experience, age, religion, and beliefs.

Work to help create an environment of certain ease, one without the pressure of cliques or being ‘othered’.

Aim to support each other’s aims and goals and work in a collaborative manner. The Parr Center Undergraduate Fellowship must be a place that all can flourish regardless of their presence or absence of privilege and because of not despite their identity.

Communicate your willingness/unwillingness to support someone while trying to not become patronizing or disrespectful. Collaborate with peers, while trading valuable feedback and recognizing that everyone has qualities that enrich the Parr Center Undergraduate Fellowship.

Be generous and kind.

Be humane. This includes treating others with respect and recognizing that this environment is meant to be conducive to the growth and success of all persons.

If you see something, say something. If comfortable, address the issue directly. Alternatively, bring up the incident with a peer or mentor. Alternatively, use the anonymous incident submission form located on the Diversity and Inclusion Notion page.

DEI Climate Survey

We launched a survey in Fall 2020 to evaluate the climate of diversity and inclusion within the Parr Center Undergraduate Fellowship. Our goal was to see if any particular groups felt they were not being heard or uncomfortable in the Parr Center Undergraduate Fellowship environment. We had a 96.67% survey completion rate. Below are snapshots of our findings:

What is your race (if you feel comfortable answering)?

As you can see here, the Parr Center does have a racial majority. We wanted to make it a priority for individuals that belong to other racial groups to be recognized and to feel comfortable. This included having a discussion about microagressions and creating an anonymous incident submission form.

What is your sexual orientation? - Selected Choice

The Parr Center Undergraduate Fellowship does have a sexual orientation majority. The Parr Center environment should be a space inclusive of all gender identities. To facilitate this, the DEI pod advocated for the availability of a SafeZone training for undergraduate fellows. We did have the opportunity to attend a private informational/allyship training for the LGBTQIA+ community hosted by the UNC LGBTQ Center. The goal was to help fellows become more sensitive to issues of gender and sexuality in their interactions with others both in and out of the Parr Center.

28 people attended on Monday, 3/29 from 6-9PM EDT; 5 of which were grad fellows. Johnathon Kirk, an undergraduate fellow said, "I didn't know that students have the option to set a preferred name in Connect Carolina self-service...Preferred names are used across campus in conjunction with the primary name. For example, in Sakai and on class rosters. Setting this ahead of graduation will aid in the process of getting a diploma printed with a preferred name."

What is your year at UNC?

What we learned from this part of the survey is that some undergraduate fellows felt that there was a greater sense of community amongst returning fellows, as well as greater recognition of returning fellows by the staff. Our administration was made aware of this and a pod was created for new fellows, and our executive board members and pod leaders made sure to keep this in mind when leading meetings.

Implementation

We created an anonymous reporting mechanism to help hold each other accountable in upholding this Code of Conduct.

We also hope that future recruitment efforts for the Undergraduate Fellowship will diversify future cohorts, given the clear majorities present in our data. We suggest that the Undergraduate Fellowship be advertised in department apart from Philosophy, and especially in departments that have or attract members of underrepresented minority groups.

COLLABORATIONS

DEI worked with the Podcast and Blog pods, as well as the Caroline Forum for Ethics to produce content for the general public. Our shared goal in this project was to amplify the voices of marginalized populations and those that often do not have a place in philosophy and ethics.

DEI x Podcast

Chapel Phil is UNC's philosophy-focused podcast, produced by the Parr Center's very own Podcast pod. This year, DEI collaborated with the Podcast team to develop episodes for Chapel Phil's Diversity series.

Pod members Isha Padhye and Liam Bendezu collaborated with Chapel Phil's Cailee Harrington on background research on episode guests. In addition, they developed questions and scripts for several upcoming episodes.

Above: Cover of an episode produced by DEI x Podcast collaboration, feat. Clay Morris. More episodes are on the way!

In the podcast, Clay talked about the unique experience of being Black and part of the LGBTQIA+ community at UNC. Because of his identity, Clay finds that some spaces are closed to him, sometimes both physically and academically.

FORTHCOMING EPISODES

Forthcoming episodes feature academics from a variety of UNC departments and consider matters of gender, race, economics, and sexuality in a variety of spaces.

Cultivating Corporate Equity” 5/5, Karl Martin Adam: “On DEI in Philosophical Education” 5/19, Blaque Robinson: “Resistance: Activism on College Campuses” 5/26, Claudia Yaghoobi: “Striving for Gender Equity in Academia” TBD. Jennifer Morton: “What Universities owe to First-Gen Students” TBD

Dr. Claudia Yaghoobi (UNC Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies), In our recording sessions with her, spoke on the study of gender and sexuality in scholarship on DEI, and it is oftentimes left out of broader discussions, which hyper-fixate on race. Dr. Yaghoobi also discusses the role of gender and sexuality studies in undergraduate education, and how it ought to be discussed in the classroom.

This topic will be extended in an episode with Dr. Rebecca Kreitzer (UNC Department of Public Policy), who will discuss how sexuality and gender intersects with power in academia – in simpler words, why is there resistance to women's leadership in academics, and how does that affect education broadly? One aspect considered is how such resistance conflicts with academia's commitment to understanding issues of gender and sexuality in a deeper way. We also consider what solutions may look like, and Kreitzer's vision of an ideal state of affairs.

Learning about and discussing ethics in innovative and easy-to-consume manner like Chapel Phil was and incredibly fulfilling experience. Hearing from some of the most prominent thinkers and voices of DEI-related issues was refreshing and helped us develop a deeper understanding of some of the most pressing issues of the day, particularly here at UNC. We hope you enjoy the episodes as much as we enjoyed helping make them!

DEI x Blog

The Blog pod writes and edits the Parr Heel Blog, which posts recaps on Parr Center events and news, in addition to original pieces on various topics in ethics. DEI pod members Emily Bradbury and Shatorupa Ghosh collaborated with the blog to produce articles as part of its DEI series.

Working with the Blog Pod, we were given the opportunity to produce articles that discussed topics of diversity with focuses that we feel passionately about. There was openness on our subject matter that allowed us to use the fullness of our education and experiences to make our blog contributions as thoughtful and insightful as possible.

From writing about COVID-19, ADHD to diversity in the scientific academic fields, the collaboration with the Blog pod highlighted various subjects relevant to the conversation about ethics in today's world.

Exploring the ethical viewpoint of several STEM fields is becoming increasingly crucial with the advancement of technology and education, and this Blog series established this in a very clear and concise manner.

Blog member Emily Bradbury said: "In my participation in the Blog Pod collaboration, I had the chance to dive into a few specific topics of personal significance to me. I want to work as a special education teacher after graduation, so the inclusivity of students with disabilities has always been at the forefront of my mind since joining the DEI Pod. I was able to write and have edited two articles about ADHD in Women and about Inclusive Language, which was some of the most personal and meaningful contributions I felt I made this semester. I have so much appreciation for our pod and for what collaborating throughout the fellowship can bring out in people."

What is in a Label?

Diversity in Science Blog Post

Under Diagnosing ADHD in Women

DEI x CFE

In this joint event with the Carolina Forum for Ethics, graduate students, Parr Fellows, and guests discussed consumer choices and how ethics influences decision-making in our everyday purchases.

The DEI pod wanted to stress that many of the exploitative practices that companies get away with are based on underlying beliefs regarding the status of different groups. For example, the consumer is more likely to be okay with an exploitative practice if it is against a group or devalues a group that they already view as being lesser or are prejudiced again.

When we talk about boycotting and ethical consumption what we should be considering isn’t only the economic effect of these practices, but what the continuation or allowance of these practices indicates about the base values of companies and consumers regarding workers.

Another consideration is in trying to remedy unethical consumerism or production, what are the ways in which we can support marginalized groups.

DEI pod members participated in this discussion and urged panelists and guests to explore these avenues of thought.

THE RESOURCE DATABASE

DEI created a Diversity Resource Database this year. The goal was to highlight topics that we believe should be at the forefront of research and discussion, and to amplify voices of people from minority groups that discuss these issues. In the world of academia, there is great availability of works written by straight, white men. Our consistent reliance and citing of these sources over and over again instead of highlighting new perspectives furthers the epistemic genocide of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.

DATABASE FEATURES

  • The works are linked in PDF format.
  • The database is searchable by main categories.
  • Abstracts are included as a preview of each article.
  • There is a section on important court cases.
  • There is a filter that allows users to search works only written by UNC professors.

The Database is divided into 13 categories: Age, Culture, Disability, Education, Gender, Identity, Language, Landmark Court Cases, Nationality, Race, Religion, Socioeconomic Class, and Understanding Diversity. This database is available for anyone within the Parr Center Undergraduate Fellowship. It can be found on our fellowship Notion page.

On each page, a PDF and/or link to the article can be found as well as a section to read the abstract before diving into the whole article to get a sense of what the resource is discussing. In this database, we have compiled over 70 articles and landmark court cases from over 45 different researchers, (one of them being a UNC professor)!

By compiling sources, papers and various texts, this database provides a basis for the diversity that the Parr Center Undergraduate Fellowship wishes to explore and promote. Some of the resources listed are intersectional and a lot is still left to be researched. Examples of the work that can be found in this database are those of Professor David R. Williams. Professor Williams is a distinguished Black professor at the school of public health at Harvard University. He has done extensive research on race, socioeconomic class, disability, education, etc. and how none of these factors are affecting individuals and certain racial groups alone. His findings include the extent to which disparities in these sects are affecting certain groups of people and that change is necessary to close these gaps in society. Works from other researchers such as Satendra Singh, Ijeoma Oluo, Kwame Anthony Apiah, and Zitkala-Sa (to name a few) are available within the database. By highlighting these resources, we hope that Parr Fellows will do their part in adding to the conversation and lifting up voices that are otherwise unheard.

The database also includes a number of court cases that we deemed to be relevant. This includes court cases that have been related to establishing definitions of identity, race, suffrage. Some examples include: Bowers v Hardwick (1986), Wisconsin v Yoder (1972), Korematsu v United States (1944). Each court case is also accompanied by a short summary of the ruling of the case and why it is still important today.

For example, the Korematsu case's summary is: Did the President and Congress go beyond their war powers by implementing exclusion and restricting the rights of Americans of Japanese descent?In an opinion written by Justice Black, the Court ruled that the evacuation order violated by Korematsu was valid. The majority found that the Executive Order did not show racial prejudice but rather responded to the strategic imperative of keeping the U.S. and particularly the West Coast (the region nearest Japan) secure from invasion. The Court relied heavily on a 1943 decision, Hirabayashi v. U.S., which addressed similar issues. Black argued that the validation of the military's decision by Congress merited even more deference.

Cases like these that have had an impact on how we define race and identity in our society were emphasized.

Putting this resource database has been eyeopening to say the least. It has made us understand the privilege we have and makes us think about what we could be doing for the community to help with the disparities we find in society. We hope this project will uplift diverse perspectives and aid other fellows in learning more about these topics. We are so proud of all of the efforts and time that went into creating such a wonderful resource and hope that future members will be able to add to this database as they see fit!

NEXT STEPS

We hope that the intent and essence of the DEI pod will continue to influence the Parr Center Undergraduate fellowship and its character. As members of the 2021 pod, we hope that future pod members will chose to continue to develop the research database and amplify the voices of marginalized populations and continue encouraging a positive culture of inclusion and collaboration within the Parr Center.

INDIVIDUAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Three of our DEI fellows, Annie, Liam, and Andreamarie completed Senior Honors Theses this semester while juggling classes, jobs, and fellowships.
  • Andreamarie received the Whitfield prize for best undergraduate thesis in the English and Comparative Literature Department.
  • Andreamarie was awarded the Joseph F. Patterson, Jr. and Alice M. Patterson International Leadership award, which is presented to the undergraduate who has made the most significant contribution to increasing international awareness and understanding.
  • Annie was presented with the Worth Award, which is given, based on course performance and faculty recommendation, for sustained excellence in undergraduate study of philosophy.
  • Annie, Liam, and Andreamarie will be recognized as Parr Ethics Scholars after fulfilling the program's requirements this year.
  • Ashikha's research was published in the Journal of Science and Medicine. This is her third publication.
  • Liam has two forthcoming papers from his work in the UNC Global Hydrology Lab: one on a database for the upcoming NASA SWOT mission, and another on a new method for detecting lake surface ice from satellite imagery.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The 2021 DEI pod would like to that Sally Moore for being supportive of this new pod and all of its initiatives. We would not have been able to achieve all that we have without her commitment towards making the Parr Center a safe space for for all of its members. We would also like to thank our collaborators, including the Parr Heel Blog, Chapel Phil Podcast, and the Carolina Forum for Ethics pods. Lastly, we appreciate the Parr Center Undergraduate Fellowship administration for supporting the creation of this pod.

Created By
PARR DEI POD Efthymiou
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Credits:

Created with images by Tumisu - "team work building" • TheAngryTeddy - "microphone audio computer" • Firmbee - "office notes notepad"