After much reflection and discussion, the Genetic Engineering and Society Center has made the decision to cancel the colloquium scheduled for March 29th, a panel on Narratives and Storytelling in the Public Communication of Science and Technology, with guest panelists Dan Kobolt, Michael Dahlstrom, and Kevin Folta.
The decision was taken jointly by colloquium organizers, students in the colloquium course, and GES leadership. The primary reason for the cancellation was that one of the panelists recently informed us that his university had barred him from speaking on its behalf regarding the subject matter of the panel. There was also a lack of gender and racial diversity among the panelists. Therefore, we think the fairest course of action is to postpone the event to the fall 2022 semester. This will allow us time to reorganize so we can ensure a productive discourse with a panel that is both more representative of the GES community, and in keeping with our Statement on Productive, Inclusive, and Ethical Communication.
Thanks to those of you who reached out to us with your concerns, to our colloquium students and organizers for taking the time to consider them fully, and to our invited panelists both for agreeing to join us and for their understanding of the cancellation.
As a Center, we strive to “shape the futures of biotechnology by integrating scientific knowledge and diverse public values.” This is not only a tagline, it is also a guiding principle. We hope that you will continue to reach out to us anytime that you have concerns and we will do our best to address them.
Drs. Fred Gould and Jennifer Kuzma, GES Center Co-directors