We are writing to share with you our personal sense of heartbreak
and devastation at the events surrounding the death of Mr. George Floyd
in Minneapolis. As we witness repeated episodes of violence perpetrated
against people of color, it is impossible not to experience a deep
sense of disbelief, grief and outrage. We are reaching out to you today
to share the disappointment, grief and anger that we know you must also
feel, but also to reaffirm our common resolve.
As civil engineers, we serve as expert advocates for the
change needed to address some of society’s great challenges—climate
change, overcrowding and scarcity of resources, to name but a
few. While the harms of racial injustice and inequity require
multi-faceted solutions and cannot be solved by engineering alone, this
does not make our knowledge and judgment less valid, nor our voices
less critical, in charting a path forward.
As a community of global leaders dedicated to the safety,
health and welfare of the public, ASCE is committed to maintaining the
highest standards of integrity, fairness, dignity and respect for all.
These tenets form the very foundation of our Society, embodied in our
Code of Ethics that includes equitable and fair treatment of all
persons as a fundamental canon. ASCE remains deeply committed to these
Honoring our ethical commitment to protect the public
welfare and provide equitable treatment to others, engineers must work
collectively to establish a professional culture that is safe,
respectful and inclusive to all.
As leaders in our local communities, our other social or
civic organizations, and in society at large, engineers must play an
active role in ensuring that others within our personal and
professional sphere embrace those same principles of respect and
equity. We urge all members of our professional community to stand up,
speak out and take action against racism and injustice wherever it
ASCE affirms its commitment to serve the profession and
our members with the highest standards of integrity, fairness, dignity
and respect. We will continue our work to promote concrete, strategic
actions to prioritize and drive accountability around diversity, equity
and inclusion within the civil engineering profession, making ASCE a
trusting place to have complex and sometimes difficult conversations
about diversity, equity and inclusion; providing best practices,
leadership training, education and other diversity, equity and
inclusion initiatives; and advancing the United Nations Sustainable
Development Goals to reduce inequities and foster peace, justice and
We recognize that this commitment is not the comprehensive
and complete answer.
While the engineering community continues to work to
broaden opportunities in our profession, any advances to date are
threatened if the fear of racial profiling or violence causes members
of color to feel unsafe hanging out in the student lounge,
entering a job site, speaking up, conducting a post-disaster inspection
or even permitting their children to leave the house.
ASCE knows that together we can make a difference, and we
are committed to standing up and leading globally by upholding the
highest standards of integrity, fairness, dignity, and respect for
everyone. Now is the time for us to come together as we serve together
across the engineering community. Our work has never been more
critical. Our concern for each other has never been more important.
Please feel free to share your thoughts or have a
conversation on the subject. If you have any questions or would like to
discuss, please do not hesitate to reach out to us anytime.
K.N. Gunalan, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE,
ASCE President 2020
Thomas W. Smith III, ENV SP, CAE, F.ASCE
Yvette E. Pearson, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE
Chair, ASCE Members of Society Advancing an Inclusive