MBL Statements on Diversity and Inclusion

MAY 28, 2021 

Dear Colleagues,

May 25th marked the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, a heinous act of violence that shook our country. Floyd’s death shed a bright and unequivocal light on the systemic racism and unjust bias that is deeply engrained in our nation.

While justice prevailed in the Floyd case, violence and racist attacks against people of color continue. This year of protests, listening, reflection, and activism has brought unprecedented awareness of racial injustice and inequality, and the fear and aggression faced by many communities.

One year from this tragedy, we must reaffirm our commitment as a society to not tolerate racism and social injustice in all its forms: at home, in science, in our community, in our nation. As an institution, we will continue to work towards creating a safe and welcoming space where all can thrive in their work and research, because we understand that we need each other, in all of our diversity: race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ability. We will not shy away from the hard conversations, but will instead provide opportunities to actively engage the MBL community in becoming the inclusive and equitable institution we strive to be.


Nipam H. Patel, Director

March 25, 2021

The Woods Hole Diversity Initiative condemns the recent violence and racist attacks against Asians and Asian Americans across our nation. These events harm not only our Asian colleagues and neighbors and their families, but also threaten the very fabric of our community. Together, we are committed to stand against racial violence, discrimination, xenophobia, and misinformation, whether such actions are directed against Asians and Asian Americans, or any other member of our community.

We cannot be bystanders, nor should we let injustice pass when we see it. The Woods Hole scientific community’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion principles recognizes our fundamental human dignity and seeks to build community for people of all races, ethnicities, gender identity, sexual orientation, and abilities. We will continue our work to address systemic racism and other cognitive biases, and examine ourselves and our institutions to identify the many ways our culture, processes, and policies can be changed to be more representative, supportive, and just.

Peg Brandon, President
Sea Education Association

Peter de Menocal, President and Director
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Philip Duffy, President and Executive Director
Woodwell Climate Research Center

Jon Hare, Director
NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Nipam Patel, Director
Marine Biological Laboratory

Rob Thieler, Center Director
USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Chair, Woods Hole Diversity Initiative

October 7, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

In an effort to honor the native populations that were displaced and decimated after European explorers reached the North American continent, the Marine Biological Laboratory joins other institutions, cities, and states across the country to recognize and observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, October 12.

The name change from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day will not change the paid holiday status of the date at the MBL (the second Monday of October), but will rather serve as a time of reflection and celebration of the heritage that is such a vital part of our community.


Nipam H. Patel, Director
David Mark Welch, Co-Chair, MBL Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Jennifer Morgan, Chair, MBL Diversity and Inclusion Committee

To learn more about Indigenous Peoples’ Day and for more information and resources, visit:

September 2, 2020

As the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) considers the ways in which we as an institution can actively confront racism and support our Black community members in tangible ways, we would like to offer the laboratory’s support of the community effort to replace the name of Agassiz Road to honor Dr. Jewel Cobb, an important member of the MBL community for more than six decades.

Although Agassiz Road is no longer on MBL property, its legacy resides with the laboratory. As we work to create a campus environment where all are to be treated with dignity and respect, we must also look to our Woods Hole locale with which we are closely entwined by proximity, history, and community. The MBL is committed to transformative institutional change, and realizes that progress will require dedication, hard work, and the willingness to listen and work transparently. As an institution we are working to understand how to best make these changes and look forward to engaging with the community in the future around these efforts.

June 2, 2020

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The tragic circumstances surrounding the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and a number of other recent acts of racially motivated violence painfully remind us that for too long we have ignored the systemic discrimination and unjust bias that plagues our nation. We recognize the pain this brings to all in our community, particularly those who live with the knowledge that the color of their skin unjustly makes them a target of hate.

We are seeing the cumulative anguish and frustration from generations of racial disparity and systemic oppression in our country manifested in the solidarity of peaceful protest. At this moment in our history, it is essential that we reaffirm and embrace the core values of the MBL. Every individual on our campus must be treated with dignity and respect in a safe and comfortable work and learning environment. As a community we must not tolerate racism and social injustice.  We commit ourselves to combating these injustices by creating a climate focused on equity, civility, respect, and safety for all individuals in our MBL and Woods Hole community. These lofty ambitions take great effort. As an institution we are working to understand how best to make these changes, and welcome input from the members of the MBL community.

Despite our physical distance at this time, we ask you to support one another in a shared commitment to creating the most inclusive and diverse community that we possibly can – one that fosters trust and values and encourages the contributions and perspectives of every one of its members.

Thank you for your attention to this serious issue and for your commitment to our shared values.


Nipam H. Patel, Director
Adam Carter, Director, Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Administration
Alison Crawford, Chief of Staff
Ann Egan, Director, Human Resources
Mary S. Harrington, Director, Finance
Gina Hebert, Director, Communications
Scott Koerner, Director, Information Technology
Sebastien Laye, Chief Advancement Officer
Linda Hyman, Burroughs Wellcome Director of Education
David Mark Welch, Director of Research; Co-Chair, MBL Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Jennifer Morgan, Director, Bell Center for Regenerative Biology & Tissue Engineering; Chair, MBL Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Marie Russell, Director, Facilities and Services
Paul Speer, Chief Operating Officer
Jennifer Walton, Director, Library Services; Co-Director, MBLWHOI Library