Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Land Acknowledgement

Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ people, past and present, to these lands and waters.

This land acknowledgment has been reviewed and approved by the traditional Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ leadership.

In addition to the Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ land acknowledgment but separate from it, the DNRE community recognizes the importance of this additional statement from the AIISP (American Indian and Indigenous Studies) faculty and urges Cornell University to take appropriate remedial action: Cornell's founding was enabled in the course of a national genocide by the sale of almost one million acres of stolen Indian land under the Morrill Act of 1862. To date the university has neither officially acknowledged its complicity in this theft nor has it offered any form of restitution to the hundreds of Native communities impacted. For additional information, see the Cornell University and Indigenous Dispossession website here.

For pronunciation of the names of the original inhabitants of the Ithaca area, Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ is approximately Guy-yo-KO-no and Haudenosaunee is approximately Ho-di-no-SO-ni. Please also listen to Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ language teacher Steve Henhawk’s pronunciation in this video associated with his Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ language course at Cornell.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice in the Department of Natural Resources & the Environment

The Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (DNRE) is a diverse department of researchers, educators, students, and staff that seek science-based solutions to environmental problems and sustainable natural resource management. In our research, teaching, and extension work, we recognize that the acknowledgement and respect of all stakeholders’ perspectives is essential for achieving just and sustainable solutions to today’s environmental problems.

We acknowledge that within academia and the field of natural resources and the environment there has been historic and systematic oppression that continues to impact individuals to this day. In light of this, we strive as a department to 1) reflect on and address our own exclusionary practices and structures, 2) elevate the people and perspectives that are often dismissed, 3) support one another within and outside of our academic responsibilities, and 4) listen to and adapt to the needs of our community.

We recognize that diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice is a long-term endeavor that requires continuous dedication and resources. We are committed to creating a community where all members experience robust feelings of belonging and are provided with the conditions necessary for their personal, professional, and academic pursuits to flourish.

DEI Structures: Advisory Council

The DNRE DEI Advisory Council upholds and contributes to the DNRE community’s shared commitment to DEI by (1) increasing transparency of DEI decision-making processes; (2) developing and implementing DEI initiatives, programs, and accountability structures; (3) providing a safe space for individuals to provide feedback on DNRE’s culture and DEI progress; and (4) adapting to evolving community needs.  Advisory Council membership is filled through an annual election process based on nominations from within the DNRE community.  Council positions include two co-chairs (one graduate student, one faculty), four general council members (DNRE staff, graduate students, faculty, undergraduates), and the DNRE CALS Diversity and Inclusion Committee Representative.  Council position descriptions are found here https://cornell.box.com/v/descriptions .

With input from the DNRE community, the Council developed DNRE’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan.  Four priority goals are described in the Strategic Plan:

  • Goal 1: Increase the diversity of human experiences represented in the department, graduate field, and related entities above the 2021 baseline documented in the DNRE DEI strategic plan.
  • Goal 2: Increase sense of community and belonging within and across departmental subgroups including faculty, staff, and students above the 2021 baseline documented in the DNRE DEI strategic plan.
  • Goal 3: Develop and sustain meaningful, critical engagement and awareness of DEI-related topics in all dimensions of departmental activities, including scholarship, research, extension, teaching, and mentoring.
  • Goal 4: Establish a responsive system to address bias in our community that is complementary to Cornell’s bias reporting system.

If you have questions, suggestions, or comments for the DEI Advisory Council, please contact us at dnre-dei [at] cornell.edu (dnre-dei[at]cornell[dot]edu)

Current Council Members

  • Aalayna Green (Graduate Student) – Co-Chair and Graduate Student Association DEI Officer
  • Barbara Knuth (Faculty) – Co-Chair
  • Ryan Franckowiak (Staff)
  • Marissa Garcia (Graduate Student)
  • Azwad Iqbal (Graduate Student)
  • Max Link (Undergraduate Student)
  • Nina Overgaard Therkildsen (Faculty) – Department Leader of Diversity and Inclusion

Beyond DNRE DEI Resources

Report a Bias Incident

If you have seen, heard, or experienced bias, you can make a report with the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX (OIETIX) in two ways:

The Student Bias Assessment and Review Process is diagrammed here, and the Bias Tracking Process for faculty/staff is diagrammed here. The Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX is responsible for collecting and tracking all reported bias activity that occurs at Cornell University that could potentially impact our commitment to diversity and inclusion, including all reports made by faculty, staff, students, and visitors to the Ithaca, Weill Cornell Medicine, and Cornell Tech campuses.