A Statement from CEE

June 8, 2020
 
CEE Students:
 
We acknowledge and appreciate the strength of students that called out CEE's silence on the racism, protests, and riots that have taken place this last week over the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others. We had a robust discussion at our faculty meeting last Friday.  As a faculty, we agreed to the following: 
 
  • We acknowledge that these terrible events have added to an incredibly stressful time for all students, particularly those of color and especially black students. We know that many of you are feeling intense frustration, are dealing with painful situations, and that learning has been challenging.
  • We commit to responding to each student's unique situation with respect to deadlines and final exams for the spring quarter with empathy and understanding. We ask that you email your instructor to discuss your situation.
  • We support the message from Provost Susan Jeffords, acknowledging the impact of current events on students. We note that Provost Jeffords, with the support of the faculty senate, has extended the option for students to select P/NP grading until June 15 (link).   
  • We support the statements and initiative of PSU President Stephen Percy and incoming Vice President for Global Diversity Ame Lambert. We encourage CEE students to engage in this university-wide discussion (link).
  • We support the statement made by Dean Corsi, a member of the CEE faculty, acknowledging the events and issuing a call to action (link). 
We acknowledge that civil and environmental engineers have been complicit in the structural racism that has contributed to differences in the quality of infrastructure and systems we design and construct by race. We commit to listening to CEE students and supporting change. 
 
In the next few weeks, we will arrange a listening session with students.  Following this, we commit to identifying actions that CEE faculty, staff, and students can take to work towards educating, listening, and impacting change to better incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into engineering education, the profession, and society. 
 
We invite your thoughts, participation, and support. 
 
Christopher M. Monsere, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor & Chair
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Portland State University