A message from Dean Schwartz on #ShutDownSTEM


The following message was emailed from Dean Justin Schwartz to the Penn State College of Engineering community on June 10.

I hope that you have all already learned that today marks the beginning of a grassroots movement that is asking all of us in STEM to self-educate about systemic racism and its permeation across academia. But it also calls for more than self-education; it’s calling for the development and implementation of a plan of action to address the systemic racism that has held back so many of our colleagues, peers, and students over not just years, not just decades, but centuries. The movement is called ShutDownSTEM and has the support of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

ShutDownSTEM has asked us to cancel our meetings, classes, research, and other “business-as-usual” activities for the day and instead to begin the process of becoming educated about racism and to begin the process of developing an action plan to address it in our institution. We know however that this process is not a one-day “training” and does not have a one-day solution, so I encourage you to set-aside not just “today” but some time every day in the coming weeks to begin your individual and continuous preparation to contribute to our evolution in the college and at Penn State toward a truly equitable landscape. I also ask you to begin the conversations within your research groups, your departments, and your other peer networks. We must commit to open and honest dialogue to advance mutual understanding.

There are additional resources available at the ShutDownSTEM website. As you know, President Baron also reached out today with more about Penn State’s commitment to making changes and addressing these issues.

In the coming days and weeks the college will also follow up with coordinated activities. I appreciate everyone’s commitment to building a stronger, welcoming, supportive College of Engineering.


Justin Schwartz, Ph.D.
Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering
Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering


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Megan Lakatos