In DepthMISCONDUCT

Will U.S. academies expel sexual harassers?

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Science  01 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6392, pp. 949-950
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6392.949

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Summary

The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C., will consider new policies allowing them to eject members who are sexual harassers, the presidents of the three prestigious organizations announced last week. Members of the academies—which serve as both honorific societies and advisers to the U.S. government—are elected by existing members to life-long terms, and there are no mechanisms for removing members found to be sexual harassers. To change that, each of the three academies—the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine—would need to change their bylaws by vote of their memberships, some 7000 people in all. Marcia McNutt, president of NAS, cautioned last week on Twitter: "Anyone who thinks it is easy [to change bylaws] has not tried to get a majority vote from an honorary society of more than 80 percent men over 70 years average age." In the meantime, an online petition pressuring NAS to get rid of harassers gained more than 2700 signatures in the first 3 weeks after its launch.