LEDS hosts symposium on power dynamics

Lawrentians Enhancing Diversity in the Sciences (LEDS) held their Winter Term symposium last week, on Wednesday, Feb. 15. The main focus of this symposium was power dynamics.

The symposium began with dinner catered by Cozzy Corner, followed by an introduction of the event and a review of “brave space rules” which set the tone for a respectful discussion. The body of the event was centered on reading anonymously-submitted short stories describing personal experiences with power dynamics.

As senior and LEDS board member Deepankar Venkat Sai Tripurana explained, “LEDS is [a] student and faculty-run organization where we try to bring diversity, inclusion and decolonization back into the sciences. This field doesn’t always address these issues, so what we are trying to do is create a culture and climate that reflects inclusivity within the scientific field.”

Clarifying “decolonization” in this context, Tripurana said, “Decolonization in the sciences would mean deconstructing power structures that contribute to bad science and even shutting out voices in [the] scientific community, such as persons of color, women, etc.”

He continued, “Also, [it is] using more nuanced language and understanding that the sciences are not isolated, such as seeing that biology or reproduction is directly tied to how we legislate on reproductive rights based on assumptions and beliefs on female behavior and sexist/misogynist beliefs. Hence, decolonization is also scientists being critical of themselves to make sure they do not practice the same behaviors that their work criticizes, such as accountability.”

Tripurana’s job on the board is to take care of research, while the two other board members, seniors Gustavo Figueroa and Monica Paniagua, handle the collection of short stories and narratives to be shared during the meetings and treasury duties, respectively. LEDS meets every Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.