Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
To become a leading computer science program recognized for exemplary commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Exemplify our respect for underrepresented identities in technology, and demonstrate a meaningful responsibility to increasing the diversity, belonging, and advancement of underrepresented groups through reflective, data-driven, innovative, and holistic engagement initiatives and practices.
Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The UNC-CH Computer Science Department acknowledges the lack of representation of underrepresented groups (The ACT Report, 2021) within the computer science and technology industry. As we work to develop young professionals and continue to value academic excellence, we recognize the responsibility that we have to better support members of underrepresented identities to ensure a truly inclusive environment. As the technology industry continues to evolve, our charge is to also continue evolving as a department that values, celebrates, and advocates for the experiences and contributions of underrepresented groups. As a department, we are committed to creating spaces and opportunities to support and advance a diverse population of students, staff, and faculty. We will work to advocate for equitable processes and opportunities in order to increase accessibility, visibility, and belonging of technology within the department and the field.
We know that UNC CS experience is not confined to the microcosm of the CS department, and is heavily influenced by internal factors such as institutional leadership, and external factors, including industry practice, global issues, and other external factors. We acknowledge that the experiences of underrepresented groups within the department are impacted by such internal and external factors affecting safety and sense of belonging on a daily basis. We also appreciate that the intersections of identities (Crenshaw, 1989) allow individuals to hold both privileged and oppressed, or marginalized, identities. We value and welcome the celebration of intersecting identities, as they can only enhance our understanding of vast experiences and thus the contribution to the technology field.
It is our goal to create a culture that prioritizes and expresses positive intent, transparency, accountability, and support around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Moving forward, we will continue to evaluate our practices to align with these values. We welcome feedback and further opportunities to learn and improve.
1. When referring to underrepresented groups (URGs) or underrepresented identities (URIs) we are specifically speaking about communities that have been historically underrepresented in tech in the United States. The ACT Report (2021) specifies that not all Asian communities are underrepresented in the US technology industry, but recognizes that this does not apply to all subgroups (specifically South and Southeast Asian communities) . The report also clarifies that this does not imply that Asian communities who are represented do not experience bias or discrimination within the field, but rather that they do not encounter lack of community or representation, factors that are prevalent when thinking about sense of belonging and retention. While we value the contributions of our Asian/Asian American community members, as a department we will focus on addressing the extreme deficit of representation and advocacy for Black/African American, Latinx/Hispanic, Pacific Islander, Indigenous, women, veterans, LGBTQ+ (including trans and gender non-binary), students with mental/physical disabilities first-generation, low-income, and neurodiverse students.
2. Kimberle Crenshaw (1989) first wrote about and coined the term intersectionality, which focused specifically the intersection of race and sex. In this work she examines the specific experiences and discrimination of Black women and how they differ from that of a white male. She concludes that those with multiple historically oppressed identities, namely race and sex, are often more protected when those at least one of those identities is similar to those in spaces with a privileged identity. This theory has been expanded to include more marginalized identities to examine how experiences with discrimination differ when you hold one marginalized identity compared to multiple marginalized identities, and further their placement within the caste hierarchy (i.e. Black vs Latinx or Latinx v. Asian).