Petition update

VICTORY!! AAAS to Oust Science Sexual Harassers. Next....@NIHDirector, Do Your Part!

BethAnn McLaughlin
Nashville, TN, United States

Aug 22, 2018 — 

Today AAAS tweeted to their followers that they were taking steps to remove men from their ranks who have sexually harassed, retaliated and assaulted women. AAAS rewards prestigious fellowships to a select group of scientists, but clearly it is not selective enough. 

AAAS prestigious Fellows include Terry Speed who told students he was in love with them then viciously retaliated when they wouldn't reciprocate affection and Riley Dunlap who tried to extort sex from students for grades and honors. With this action, these men will soon find they are not welcome to be with our students. That we don't want them as our colleagues. 

As much as I would like to stop and celebrate, the only reason we know about the Terry Speeds and Riley Dunlaps is because of the hard work of my buddy Julie Libarkin and other #MeTooSTEM voices who have documented these academic predators. Julie isn't paid to do this (and believe me, neither am I!). But someone should be. We should know who we can't send our students to. We should know who is spreading lies about  colleagues and denying funding to them as a way to retaliate for them participating in hearings about harassment. Hundreds, if not thousands, of men (and some women) have been sanctioned by universities for hurting trainees and colleagues. We don't know the numbers, because NIH and other funding agencies don't require universities to vouch for them. 

We have the most perfect opportunity imaginable to take this moment and demand better. But it needs to happen fast. NIH Director Francis Collins is speaking to the Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor & Pensions tomorrow (August 23). These are the folks that can hold him accountable for his refusal to act on the dangers women in science face going to meetings, picking mentors and collaborators. We need our Senators to demand answers on why he hasn't done a darn thing to stop the flow of grant dollars to individuals who have been found guilty of harassing, assaulting and retaliating against women. 

There are scientists with huge so called 'black letter files' documenting horrible crimes of sexual violence and retaliation. These files that sit in an administrators office and universities hide these predators in our midst. Sexual predators are able to sponsor training grants for students, travel to conferences where they continue to retaliate, serve on funding boards and stay on campus during Title IX proceedings. These activities make women unsafe. 

If AAAS teaches us anything, it's that men can continue to prosper even after they have been found guilty of vicious crimes. NIH Director can end this. We all deserve to be safe in our work. And we need NIH and other funding agencies to ensure that all of us are adhering to the most basic forms of morality. We need Francis Collins to immediately revoke sexual harassers money to train our next generation, to stop them from traveling on NIH grant money and remove them from funding boards.

Please, tweet at @NIHDirector, @HELPCmteDems, and Senator @PattyMurray and tell the NIH Director if can't protect us, step aside so someone else can. #TimesUp, Francis.

#MeTooSTEM sees you. 

Let's do this, folks!!


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