February Brown Bag Lunch: Moving Towards a Fearless Future: No More Gray Areas in STEM

BY: Alyssa Liguori

In light of the #metoo movement and the stories of questionable behavior of men towards women that are surfacing in both popular culture and scientific settings, we can all see that there are more and more conversations among our friend circles on what kinds of interactions are unacceptable. While it is clear that in cases of harassment and assault, there needs to be harsh criminal consequences, what about those “gray area” situations at the opposite end of the spectrum, in which men make women feel unwelcome, uncomfortable, or unsafe through everyday interactions? What should the consequences be for bad, but not criminal, behavior? What conversations do we need to have to begin a shift towards a culture in science that supports all people? 

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December Brown Bag Lunch: Google’s Diversity Manifesto

BY: Sonali Gera

This was our last Brown Bag Lunch discussion of the Fall Semester, 2017. We invited people to the Physics department to discuss ‘‘Google’s Diversity Manifesto’’ over coffee and donuts. We had a lengthy and detailed discussion with widely varying perspectives over the topic. There was a clear consensus among everyone about how the circulation of such a document in a big corporation like Google undermines the competence of women and lends unreasonable credence to the widely held opinion of women not being skilled enough to participate in STEM fields. STEM fields have very skewed sex ratios that should be improved by encouraging women to take up STEM fields as their career. A document of this kind does more harm than good in trying to improve gender ratios in these fields. The spectrum of opinions was much wider when we brought up the question of fairness of the person being fired for writing such a polarizing opinion about this topic. While some people strongly believed that the act was worthy of being fired from the company, others were of the opinion that resorting to such exclusionary measures can lead to consequences which are opposite to what is desirable in the long run.