Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism at Blandy
The Blandy Experimental Farm faculty and staff commit to making Blandy Experimental Farm a welcoming and supportive environment for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or any other grouping that has historically disadvantaged people. As Blandy is owned and operated by the University of Virginia, we are proud to say that the University “does not tolerate discrimination or harassment in the workplace, academic setting or in its programs or activities based on age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, or family medical or genetic information.” In addition, we embrace the values of diversity1, equity2, and inclusion3, and actively engage in University-wide initiatives to achieve these goals.
Currently, learning to practice anti-racism is a major focus of the Blandy community. We join the nationwide movement against anti-Black racism in the wake of recent well-publicized killings of Black people by police, as we confront the deep and pernicious history of racism in the United States, a history that includes the very grounds now occupied by Blandy Experimental Farm.
In the early 1800s, the Tuley family established a plantation known as "The Tuleyries" and profited from the forced labor of Black enslaved peoples until the Civil War. In 1903, Graham Blandy, who made his fortune as a stockbroker and railroad magnate in New York, purchased the Tuleyries property. In 1926, upon the death of Graham Blandy, 700 acres of Blandy’s property was bequeathed to the University of Virginia and was named “Blandy Experimental Farm.”
Remnants of the history of slavery can still be found on the grounds at Blandy, including a cemetery for the enslaved people and an unusually large two-story barracks where enslaved people were housed. The barracks was repurposed by UVA in 1927 for laboratory, dormitory, and office space. In 1941, the University of Virginia renovated the building, which is still called “The Quarters”, and expanded upon it by adding two new wings. When a modern laboratory building was constructed in 2012, the lab rooms were converted into offices, but the building remains the central hub for administration and many other activities at Blandy Experimental Farm. We are currently determining how best to provide on-site interpretation of the existing facilities that have a prior connection to slavery on the Blandy property.
Racism is antithetical to everything we do at Blandy, and anti-racism work will continue as an ongoing effort by the entire Blandy community. For example, the diversity of the students in our Research Experiences for Undergraduates program is a key element in its success and we have a proud tradition of celebrating the successes of students who have participated in the program. We are constantly working to evaluate and improve our education and scientific-outreach programs to maximize diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.
David E. Carr, Director and Research Professor
Kyle J. Haynes, Associate Director and Research Associate Professor
Ariel Firebaugh, Director of Scientific Engagement
T’ai H. Roulston, Curator and Research Associate Professor
Candace Lutzow-Felling, Director of Education
Robin Couch Cardillo, Director of the Foundation of the State Arboretum
Definitions from University of Virginia’s Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:
- Diversity: The full spectrum of human attributes, perspectives, identities, backgrounds, disciplines.
- Equity: Fair treatment, equal access, attending to socio-historical structures and lived context - particularly focused on justice for historically underserved or underrepresented groups in a specific context.
- Inclusion: Active, intentional, ongoing process to build community well-being and belonging.