The leadership of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR) acknowledges the on-going struggle to end discriminatory behavior towards historically underrepresented and marginalized individuals in science, and particularly those in herpetology. The Society further acknowledges its own role in this social crisis. We have fallen short of eliminating identity-based discrimination and prejudice within SSAR, which harms us all, but especially diminishes the experiences and opportunities for members of minoritized and marginalized groups. Our past actions and inactions have hurt or dissuaded untold members from fully participating in SSAR activities and service to the Society. Accordingly, we sincerely apologize for any role our Society has played in condoning or overlooking offensive acts or failing to strongly advocate for our minoritized or marginalized colleagues, particularly our student members.
Here we commit to change. Our immediate focus shall be on promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion as foundational and pervasive principles in all Society matters. To that end, former President Marty Crump created a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, whose charges include assessing membership diversity to establish benchmarks, and launching initiatives to make the Society more inclusive and to broaden participation. This committee will work closely with the Board of Directors and committee chairs to infuse DEI strategies throughout the Society, including SSAR governance, participation in our annual meetings, and publishing in our journals. The SSAR leadership fully supports the DEI Committee and its goals and we welcome input from SSAR members and former members. Please share your ideas and comments by contacting an officer or the co-chairs of the DEI Committee. SSAR is deeply committed to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in herpetology, and we are here to listen.
For information on SSAR’s actions to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, visit this page: https://ssarherps.org/dei-committee/.