[MARMAM] A note from the MARMAM Editors to the community regarding SMM and unpaid internships

MARMAM Editors marmameditors at gmail.com
Fri Jul 31 11:52:14 PDT 2020

Dear MARMAM Community,

We, the MARMAM Editors, want to thank everyone for participating in the
discussion on the role of unpaid internships and barriers to diversity in
the field of marine mammalogy. This is a timely discussion and we want to
thank those of you who posted for providing an open, honest, and courteous
dialogue. To use Dr. Eric Archer’s words, “I think everybody in this debate
is well-intentioned and truly wants to help improve the situation. In order
to do that, we have to keep talking openly and respectfully listening to
each other.”

There were a few postings that we did not release from the queue because
they were signed “Anonymous” or “A student” from obviously newly made email
accounts for the purpose of sending the post, or the posting repeated
viewpoints that were already made. It is part of the MARMAM Editorial
Policy that each posting we release from the queue be attributed to a
person, group, or organization. But we also recognize that providing a
viewpoint steeped in personal experiences within a discussion about
removing barriers to equality and fostering equity, inclusion, and
diversity can be challenging if you are early in your career. We
acknowledge that repercussions are real. The two anonymous postings will be
collated and sent from the MARMAM email account.

We are not trying to stifle any voices, but a Listserv is not a good tool
to have a free-flowing conversation, especially one as important and
nuanced as breaking down barriers to inequalities in our field. No posts
have been deleted, and all postings that were not released from the queue
will be forwarded to both the President of the Society for Marine Mammalogy
(SMM) and the SMM Diversity and Inclusion Committee by Monday, August 3rd.

We ask that all future postings on the topic of unpaid internships within
the SMM be sent to Dr. Charles Littnan as the President of the SMM (
president at marinemammalscience.org*)* or the SMM Diversity and Inclusion
Committee (diversity at marinemammalscience.org). If you are a member of the
SMM, you can log into the SMM website and leave your thoughts on the

You can read Dr. Littnan’s update on the unpaid internship discussion in
the MARMAM archive here:

And a note of clarification: MARMAM is not affiliated with any
organization. We are not associated with the SMM or any other marine mammal
society or organization. We are a small group of marine mammal researchers,
managers, and conservationists who volunteer our time to make sure your
inboxes do not get overloaded with spam, and we strive to provide you with
consistently formatted postings so you can easily find information that
matters to you. The views expressed in any posting are the express views of
that person, group, or organization. They are not necessarily the views of
the Editors. All Editors are all based in the US and we are all members of
the SMM, but MARMAM is not a communication tool solely for the SMM. As of
today, MARMAM has over 15,000 subscribers worldwide. MARMAM is, and will
continue to be, a tool for the communication of marine mammal research and
conservation around the globe.

We hope you are all well and safe.


Your MARMAM Editors

Erin LaBrecque

Robin Baird

Annie Gorgone

Courtney Smith

*The MARMAM listserv is for the communication of marine mammal research and
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