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SCS DEI Update

Jun. 25, 2021


  • Announcing a new SCS graduate course on DEI topics. This fall marks the first occurrence of 15-920, a six-week mini-course on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), with a specific focus on topics relevant to computer scientists and STEM academics more broadly. It's a largely discussion-based course open to all SCS Ph.D. students. The course meets once per week for six weeks (Fridays from 4:30 to 5:50pm). Ph.D. students can register now! Master’s students can join the waitlist and will be admitted as space allows.
  • Announcing a virtual summit addressing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) is holding a virtual summit addressing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism in 21st Century STEMM Organizations June 29–30. There is no fee to attend; register on the event's website.

What We're Doing

We have been focused on preparing for fall and the arrival and return of new students, staff and faculty. We will be providing orientation and training opportunities around DEI as we arrive on campus. Send us an email if you have any needs or suggestions relative to diversity, equity and inclusion education and training opportunities and the return to campus.

On the Radar: How To Include Individuals With Disabilities in DEI Work

Crip Camp is an award winning documentary about Camp Jened, a camp for individuals with disabilities in the early 1970s. A World Health Organization report noted that one in seven people worldwide have a disability.  A recent global report from WHO and this CDC infographic note that 26% of adults living in the United States have some kind of disability. The film follows the story of a group of individuals from different communities and economic groups who attended camp together, formed a cohort, and went on to change the future of millions of people through the disability rights movement. This documentary continues to show the power of committing to accessibility for all.

As we reflect on themes from the film, we are exploring how to dismantle barriers for disabled students, faculty and staff on campus. Following from Dr. Stephanie Cawthon’s ideas, captured in this infographic, we note six ways to get started in supporting individuals with disabilities on campus.

  • Assume that someone does not disclose their disability. Negative stigmas and bias may prohibit people from doing so. Additionally, disabilities are dynamic, and can evolve at any time.
  • Recognize that ableism exists on campus and work to eliminate it. Ableism is a form of discrimination in which people without disabilities are considered more valuable than those with disabilities. It is typically embedded in social and organizational systems.
  • Include disability in campus diversity efforts. Ensure that disability is a concern of DEI efforts and make sure that disabled individuals are involved in the work.
  • Make it easy to get accommodations and request options. Offer flexible ways to request accommodations and to allow people to play an active role in the campus community.
  • Ensure that all aspects of campus are accessible. Provide access not only to physical spaces, but social, cultural and interpersonal aspects of campus life.
  • Lead with intention. Each experience of inaccessibility and ableism is cumulative. A culture of access is critical, as without it a great toll is waged on those with disabilities. 

We must continue to build on the important achievements of the disability rights movement. We pledge to make SCS a place that empowers all individuals to have fulfilling research and educational experiences.

Additional Resources

CMU Office of Disability Resources
Access Computing
FISA Foundation