The future of an inclusive university environment hinges on our understanding that pursuits towards academic advancement, advocacy efforts, and mentorship are inextricably linked. We accept that our success as tenure-track faculty depends on research, teaching, and service, and that these pursuits are linked; our research informs our teaching, our teaching informs our service roles, and the interactions we have in the classroom inform our research. Similarly, I believe that my pursuits as a biologist inform my advocacy for disenfranchised and underrepresented peoples in academia. My advocacy efforts inform my ability to foster a safe and prosperous environment for my mentees. And by fostering a lab environment welcoming to all people, our research is improved.
Empirical evidence supports the "benefits of diversity" in academia. However, mentors should also realize that marginalized students mustn't justify their presence in classrooms or labs. All students belong here.
Nielsen et al. "Opinion: Gender diversity leads to better science." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114.8 (2017): 1740-1742.
Hofstra, Bas, et al. "The Diversity–Innovation Paradox in Science." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117.17 (2020): 9284-9291.