Human Rights, Diversity and Inclusion
Early in the lab's history, first director Robert R. Wilson and deputy director Edwin L. Goldwasser took a strong stance in support of human rights. They expressed support for efforts to achieve open housing legislation in Illinois and issued a "Policy Statement on Human Rights" in 1968 that stated "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... 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 December 1967, the lab established an Equal Employment Opportunity and Community Relations Office.
When Weston, Illinois was selected as the site for the planned National Accelerator Laboratory, Illinois did not have an open housing law to prevent discrimination in housing markets. On June 23, 1967, civil rights activists held a march protesting spending federal funds in a state without such legislation. First lab director Robert R. Wilson sent a telegram to Martin Luther King, Jr., who was expected to attend the march, on June 22, 1967 stating, “We scientists now designing the 200 BeV accelerator to be located at Weston strongly support the struggle for open housing in Illinois… the full success of this laboratory will depend on achieving conditions in Illinois which will allow any scientist, regardless of race or creed, to participate in this important project - a project which will contribute to a truly great intellectual and cultural heritage in Illinois. We join you in wanting to attain these great ends.” The following day, Wilson also sent a telegram to the Illinois governor Otto Kerner stating, “I am deeply disappointed and worried about the future of the project because of the failure, so far, of the State of Illinois to adopt any significant open housing legislation... Both by conviction and by legal requirement, the Laboratory will have a strong Equal Opportunity Policy in employment. As Laboratory Director I am concerned for the welfare and housing of all the Laboratory employees regardless of race or color.” The full text of these telegrams is available below.
- Telegram from Robert Wilson to Martin Luther King, Jr. — June 22, 1967
- Letter from Robert Wilson to Otto Kerner — June 23, 1967
On March 15, 1968, lab director Robert R. Wilson and deputy director Edwin L. Goldwasser issued a "Policy Statement on Human Rights" stating that "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." The original statement only mentioned men, but it was reissued on April 2, 1974 with an addendum noting that women had also faced discrimination and that "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." An updated policy was issued in 1979. The text of these versions is available below.
- Policy Statement on Human Rights — March 15, 1968
- Policy Statement on Human Rights — April 2, 1974
- The Human Rights Policy of Fermilab — September 6, 1979
The lab has had a variety of policies and programs meant to address issues of diversity and inclusion. These efforts have taken many different forms over the years. In December 1967, the lab established an Equal Employment Opportunity and Community Relations Office under the leadership of Kennard Williams. One of the lab's earliest efforts in this area was the Training and Technology Program (TAT), which from 1969 to 1974 provided training and skilled jobs to members of minority communities. This program eventually transitioned to the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) program. The lab also sponsored other programs, like the Summer Program for Minority Students, which was established in 1970 and ultimately transformed into SIST (Summer Internships in Science and Technology). Since approximately 1979, the lab has also participated in the the National GEM Consortium's Graduate Fellowships in Engineering and Science program. Around 2015, the lab began establishing "Laboratory Resource Groups" to support communities within the lab. These groups included the African-American/Black Association, the Hispanic/Latino Forum, Spectrum (LGBTQ+), the Women's Initiative, the Asian/Pacific American Community, the Veterans Group, and the Young Professionals.
- Equal Opportunity Program at NAL — March 1969
- NAL May Build More than an Accelerator (Kennard R. Williams) — April 1969
- Marofske, Lee Visit Trainees at Oak Ridge [Training and Technology (TAT) Program] — April 1969
- Breaking New Ground in Human Relations, Edwin L. Goldwasser — November 1969
- Six Years Of Progress in Affirmative Action — June 13, 1974
- Nineteen Students Participate in Fermilab's Fifth Summer Program for Minority Students — July 10, 1975
- TAT Has Powerful Impact — February 5, 1981
- Summer Intern Program is a Historic Success — September 8, 1989
- Summer Students Seek Scientific Success — July 7, 1997
- Fermilab Benefits from 35 Years with the National GEM Consortium — November 17, 2014
- Looking Back: Fermilab in the Civil Rights Era — March 17, 2017
- Coiley, Danner, Green: 150 years of Fermilab history — February 26, 2020