Events of the past few months have brought to the forefront poignant reminders of the systemic racism, sexism and social injustice that regrettably affects our daily lives and impacts our critical work. We as a faculty in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Minnesota have been shocked and are deeply saddened by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, our hometown. We recognize that recent events represent only a snapshot of the social injustices that many of our friends, colleagues, and neighbors endure.
We also recognize our own responsibility to become educated about and to pro-actively address the causes and impact of racism and social injustice at the local, national and international level and particularly within the chemical scientific community. An example of continued and persistent biases in the chemical sciences is the remarkably ignorant opinion in Angewandte Chemie by Tomas Hudlicky that the diversity of the workforce has a negative influence on organic chemistry.
The faculty in the Department want to make absolutely clear that we value diversity and inclusion. We denounce inequalities on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, and sexual orientation, and acknowledge, in particular, the marginalization of black people, women, and other underrepresented groups in the chemical sciences. Diversity within science brings about innovation, increases productivity, and diminishes discrimination. New developments in medicinal chemistry research can only be driven by approaching obstacles from a multitude of unique perspectives. "We all do better when we all do better” (quote by Paul Wellstone).
As a first step, the Department will form a Medicinal Chemistry Diversity Task Force to advocate for diversity in hiring, graduate student admissions, and the external seminar program. This task force will also work to ensure that all students, staff, and faculty are equitably supported for success. We look forward to continuing the conversation of how we can continue to foster a diverse, inclusive, and rewarding environment in which to work.