Historical Content Note: The following material is reprinted from publications from throughout Fermilab's history. It should be read in its original historical context.

Policy Statement on Human Rights

The following Policy Statement on Human Rights was issued March 15, 1968, by Robert Rathbun Wilson, director, National Accelerator Laboratory, and Edwin L. Goldwasser, deputy director:

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It will be the policy of the National Accelerator Laboratory to seek the achievement of its scientific goals within a framework of equal employment opportunity and of a deep dedication to the fundamental tenets of human rights and dignity.

We have seen the creation of NAL near Chicago in a year of social tension and urban unrest, and we have observed the destiny of our Laboratory to be linked to the long history of neglect of the problems of minority groups. We intend that the formation of the Laboratory shall be a positive force in the progress toward open housing in the vicinity of the Laboratory site. We intend that it shall also make a real contribution toward providing employment opportunities for minority groups. For this, the principle of equal opportunity is not enough. Special opportunity must be provided to the educationally deprived if they are to be able to exploit their inherent potential to contribute to, and to benefit from, the development of our Laboratory. This is a matter of personal conviction as well as of practical necessity. We expect to create conditions for special opportunity by adopting aggressive employment practices and by instituting special educational and apprentice training programs.

Prejudice has no place in the pursuit of knowledge. Perhaps this is why most scientists are sensitive to discrimination in any form. The National Accelerator Laboratory is in a position to attract to its program some of the greatest physicists, not only of this country but of other nations as well. Thus the Laboratory will be, in a very real sense, one of the windows through which the United States will be viewed by the rest of the world. Foreign visitors, laymen as well as scientists, will come to the Laboratory for short periods of time to observe, and for extended periods to participate in our work. These men will come from varied backgrounds with a variety of beliefs. It is essential that the Laboratory provide an environment in which both its staff and its visitors can live and work with pride and dignity.

In any conflict between technical expediency and human rights, we shall stand firmly on the side of human rights. This stand is taken because of, rather than in spite of, a dedication to science. However, such a conflict should never arise. Our support of the rights of members of minority groups in our Laboratory and in its environs is inextricably intertwined with our goal of creating a new center of technical and scientific excellence. The latter cannot be achieved unless we are successful in the former.

In 1968, when the Laboratory undertook to draw up a laboratory policy statement on human rights, we were moved by our concern for the rights and dignity of all human beings. The statement predated any federal requirement for an Affirmative Action Plan. It was a forerunner of what has since become a requirement that must be met by all federal contractors.

When the policy statement was written, the nation was just awakening to the need for special action to attempt to compensate for generations of cultural isolation and educational deprivation of some minority groups by taking aggressive and affirmative action to provide opportunities for them.

As the years have passed, the nation has become increasingly aware of another area requiring special attention. Women, in many cases, have been deprived of job opportunities because of biases in our society and in our culture. Biases confronting women have been somewhat different from those minorities face, but also have serious effect; careers have been artificially limited by cultural and social constraints.

Our original policy statement on human rights was, and is, addressed to the broad problem of rights for all human beings. It is the spirit of this policy that there should be no discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion or national origin. The Laboratory will make special efforts to avoid and to correct inequities in employment opportunities and practices.

April 2, 1974