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COSSA Endorses Bill to Combat Sexual Harassment in Science

On October 2, COSSA released a statement in support of H.R. 7031, the Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2018. The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, would provide funding to the National Science Foundation to establish a grant program to study the causes and consequences of sexual harassment in the scientific workforce, efficacy of interventions, and methods of remediating the negative impacts of sexual harassment. This legislation would also direct data collection about sexual harassment in science and establish and interagency working group to address this important issue. Read the full statement on COSSA’s website.

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Posted in Issue 20 (October 16), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NSF Announces New Sexual Harassment Policy

On September 21, the National Science Foundation (NSF) published a new term and condition for awards, to be enacted October 21, 2018, requiring awardee organizations to report findings of sexual harassment. The new term and condition will require awardee organizations to notify NSF of:

  • “Any findings or determinations that an NSF-funded principal investigator (PI) or co-principal investigator(co-PI) committed harassment, including sexual harassment or sexual assault.
  • The placement of the PI or co-PI on administrative leave, or of the imposition of any administrative action relating to a harassment or sexual assault finding or investigation.”

After notification, NSF will consult with the organization and determine what action is necessary under NSF’s authority, including substituting or removing PIs or co-PIs, reducing award funding, and where neither of those options is available or adequate—suspending or terminating awards. NSF has developed an online submission system for the required notifications that will be available on NSF’s sexual harassment page, which will send information directly to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  More information can be found on NSF’s website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 2), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Academies Report Recommends Strategies to Address Sexual Harassment in Academia

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released a new consensus study report, Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report details the impacts of sexual harassment in terms of damage to research integrity and loss of talent and argues that institutions should view sexual harassment as “equally important as research misconduct in terms of its effect on the integrity of research.” The report makes seven broad recommendations for how academic institutions can better address and prevent sexual harassment: address gender harassment (sexist hostility and crude behavior); move beyond legal compliance to address culture and climate; create diverse, inclusive, and respectful environments; improve transparency and accountability; diffuse the hierarchical and dependent relationship between trainees and faculty; provide support for targets of harassment; and strive for strong and diverse leadership. The complete report and supplementary materials are available on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 26), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

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