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CSHL trustees vote on future of graduate school

graphic of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory logo blue text on white background
The logo of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory trustees vote on future of graduate school

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) was established as a biological teaching laboratory in 1890. With a long history as a scientific meeting center and research institute, it began a graduate program in the biological sciences in 1999. Soon thereafter, the School was named after James D. Watson in view of his considerable contributions to CSHL, science, and the nation over a lifetime of achievement spanning more than 50 years. However, since that time Dr. Watson has expressed views on race which are incompatible with CSHL’s mission and values. Accordingly, a committee consisting of Trustees, representatives of the faculty, and former and current graduate students was established in 2019 to evaluate renaming the graduate school.

The committee made a recommendation to change the name and the majority of the faculty and current and former students voiced strong support for a name change. On July 1, 2020, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Board of Trustees voted to restore the original name of the graduate program to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory School of Biological Sciences.

The Board of Trustees also endorsed a plan proposed and widely supported by the faculty to initiate a new program at the graduate school concerning the social impact of the biological sciences. The program will complement ongoing programs at the CSHL Banbury Center and DNA Learning Center that broaden accessibility to the sciences. CSHL respects the rights and dignity of all people and is committed to increasing ethnic and gender diversity and inclusion. Racial bias has no place at the Laboratory or anywhere in science and its presence dangerously impedes the ability to advance science for the benefit of society.

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