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Hundreds say #TimesUp for world’s largest scientific organization to address sexual harassment

Monday, August 27, 2018

"The #TimesUp movement started in Hollywood, but it is now pouring into the lab.

Last Tuesday, scientists published an open letter calling on the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest scientific community, to address sexual harassment within its ranks.

While scientific academia is no stranger to harassment cases, many controversies involving scientists have recently taken center stage. In June, the Los Angeles Times reported that Francisco J. Ayala, an acclaimed geneticist at the University of California Irvine, resigned after a university investigation ruled that the former Dominican priest had sexually harassed four faculty members and graduate students. Ayala is a former president of AAAS.

The open letter charges that there is no mechanism to prevent AAAS award recipients from retaining their honors if they are revealed to be harassers. The letter calls on AAAS to pass a new policy to address harassment and strip honors and fellowships from offenders. Currently, harassers could be reprimanded by their university, but still maintain their titles, honors or privileges from AAAS.

...The letter references a recent study from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that highlights the pervasiveness of harassment in the science community, especially towards women. The study says 58 percent of female faculty and staff in academia have experienced sexual harassment. Women of color and sexual- and gender-minority women also undergo increased rates of harassment."

Read the full article here.