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ResourcesResearch IntegrityNSF tallies 16 cases of alleged harassment by grantees in first year of new rules – Science (Jeffrey Mervis | October 2019)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

NSF tallies 16 cases of alleged harassment by grantees in first year of new rules – Science (Jeffrey Mervis | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 28, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 25, 2020 / , , , ,
 


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It’s been 1 year since the National Science Foundation (NSF) implemented a new policy governing when universities must tell it about possible sexual harassment by grantees. Despite adopting a narrow definition of who is covered, agency officials say they are surprised by how many notifications—16 to date—they have received.

Let’s be clear, such harassment is completely unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.  It is also vitally important to pick up that institutions promote a culture that prevents this, but also that allegations need to substantiated as campuses could become rife with the so-called ‘cancel’ culture that could see false allegations due to competition for funding.

The rules apply only to researchers who received an award after 22 October 2018 or a recent amendment to an earlier award, and kick in only when an institution takes what is called an “administrative action.” That could range from monitoring someone’s behavior to banning the alleged perpetrator from campus. Institutions must also notify NSF of the final decision in a harassment investigation involving an NSF grantee, the end of a process that can drag on for years.
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If followed by institutions, the notification rules should reduce the chances that the agency is blindsided by media reports of current grantees who are found guilty of harassment. But the rules will not create a database of all sexual harassment investigations at NSF-funded institutions, nor was that NSF’s intention. Rather, the rule addresses NSF’s obligation to ensure a “safe and secure” research environment at places where it is spending money.
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