ASP Position Statement on Racism
and Call for Action to Advance Diversity and Inclusion

The American Society of Primatologists (ASP) stands in support of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in their search for justice and affirms that Black Lives Matter. We condemn discrimination, harassment, acts of brutality, and violence against Black people, and by extension all communities of color. The ASP acknowledges that far too many Black people and other persons of color have been subjected to racism and police violence throughout their lives. We support all efforts to end racism and injustice through legal actions such as peaceful protest, policy change, and systemic reform.

The ASP is an inclusive society. We welcome anyone who has an interest in understanding primates to join our society, without consideration of race, skin color, nationality, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. We require our members to treat one another respectfully, as described in our Code of Conduct Policy in which we “prohibit any form of harassment, sexual or otherwise, toward any of our members regardless of age, ethnicity, race, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, marital status, appearance, nationality, language, or any other reason.”

Recognizing that diverse and inclusive scientific communities are more productive, innovative, and impactful1, to date, the ASP has taken a number of steps to encourage and ensure diversity within our society. We provide free membership and access to the ASP’s journal, the American Journal of Primatology, to individuals from habitat countries. We support Latin American primatologists by dedicating one of our annual student travel awards for them. In addition, at the 2018 meeting in San Antonio, we held an inaugural symposium of conference presentations given in Spanish; we plan to make this a regular part of the ASP scientific program moving forward.

While we are proud of these steps, the ASP acknowledges that there is more work to be done. The ASP strives to cultivate an atmosphere supportive of each member, that welcomes all, and we will work to strengthen the voices of underrepresented communities in our society. These are the next steps we plan to take:

  1. The BOD will propose changes to the by-laws to enable the creation of a new standing committee dedicated to Diversity and Inclusion
  2. We will hold a Roundtable discussion about racism, social justice, and inclusivity in primatology at our new next meeting
  3. We will amend our strategic plan so the emphasis on increasing membership will include goals to increase the diversity of our membership.
  4. We will track our progress toward increasing diversity and will hold ourselves accountable. When we publish our next analysis of membership (this is due around 2025), diversity measures will be included.
  5. We will equip ASP members with resources to address diversity, equity, and inclusion in their work and lives. An on-going list of resources will be available on the ASP website

The ASP asks all of its members to challenge racism and move toward substantial structural changes where we live and work—the academic, industrial, social and scientific circles in which we operate must change. We can do this by:

  • Educating ourselves on the structures and behaviors that perpetuate discrimination and inequities in our field and how to achieve racial justice.
  • Decolonizing our teaching by incorporating underrepresented voices in our syllabi and employing equity teaching practices.
  • Decolonizing our research by ensuring that our citing practices, conference symposia, and invited speaker series incorporate underrepresented and marginalized voices.
  • Listening to and learning from our BIPOC colleagues and students.
  • Identifying policies and procedures that perpetuate inequities and discrimination and advocating for change.

The ASP is committed to being a part of this important movement and to make meaningful changes to combat racism and advance equity, inclusion, and diversity within primatology and science, more generally. In this process our members will be better served, and the science of primatology will be enhanced.

The Board of Directors, ASP

1Jimenez MF, Laverty TM, Bombaci SP, Wilkins K, Bennett DE, Pejchar L. Underrepresented faculty play a disproportionate role in advancing diversity and inclusion. Nat Ecol Evol. 2019;3(7):1030-1033. doi:10.1038/s41559-019-0911-5