Diversity is important. It is important to us as a department, and for how we envision the field of philosophy. It is important for moral reasons of fairness and inclusivity, as well as human flourishing. It matters because it is one way we can respect each of our individual stories and experiences, and how those intersect across the various groups with which we identify. It matters intellectually, as philosophy is a discipline that depends on the ability to argue about ideas , and a broader range of voices better refines and tests our ideas. It matters because diverse institutions are good antidotes to harmful factionalization and polarization; philosophy should serve as a model and training grounds for how to productively have hard conversations with those whom you disagree. It matters because diverse teams are more effective, more creative, display better comprehension and retention of ideas, and are more enduring and more interesting than homogeneous ones. Supporting diversity matters at different levels of resolution, from broad institutions to academic departments to our classrooms.
The University of Utah Department of Philosophy affirms the value of philosophy for everyone. We also recognize the value to philosophical inquiry of including people from a diverse array of backgrounds.
To this end, we aim for a departmental climate that is open to all and mutually-supportive for all our community members. We fully endorse university policies prohibiting sexual harassment as well as discrimination “on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, status as a disabled individual, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, genetic information or protected veteran’s status.” We also share the university’s commitment to ensure accessibility to all community members. In addition, we aim to cultivate a positive, respectful, and collegial departmental climate, so our department can be an inclusive space safe for learning and inquiry.
We acknowledge that the discipline of philosophy has a history of excluding disadvantaged individuals, which continues to be manifested in various ways, including underrepresentation in the profession, especially of those from disadvantaged groups. Our department actively works towards addressing historical injustices and contemporary biases, though we recognize that this must be an intentional, ongoing commitment.
While we hope that everyone in our community experiences the positive and respectful climate that we aim to cultivate, incidents of harassment and discrimination occur in every institution. Such incidents must be dealt with appropriately if we are to maintain a safe and supportive environment for learning and research. If you have experienced or witnessed an incident of harassment or discrimination in our department, we encourage you to seek help and bring it to our attention.
Any department faculty or staff member can assist with concerns and direct you to relevant offices and services. You can also contact the Department Chair, the Director of Graduate Studies, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, or any member of the Department Diversity Committee. Any concern will be brought to the attention of the chair and heard by the Department Diversity Committee. The University has many resources for students who have experienced harassment or discrimination, or are just in need of support. The Office of Equity and Diversity has additional services for students from underrepresented groups.
Department members will do their best to respect your confidentiality, but may be required by law to report some instances of violence or harassment to university authorities. Counselors at the University Counseling Center and the Women’s Resource Center may be able to meet with you without being subject to the same reporting requirements.
Department of Philosophy Diversity Committee (AY23-24)
- Cynthia Stark
- Joyce Havstad