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Top neuroscientist leaving Mexican university

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Science  20 Mar 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6484, pp. 1293
DOI: 10.1126/science.367.6484.1293

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Earlier this month, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), University City, announced that renowned neuroscientist Ranulfo Romo Trujillo would leave his position after being disciplined for an unspecified offense. Sources close to the case say he had been temporarily suspended because a female worker made a formal complaint of sexual harassment against him following an incident in January at UNAM's Institute of Cellular Physiology (IFC), where he works. But current and former UNAM students and staff say reports of inappropriate behavior by Romo Trujillo had circulated for years before his departure. IFC's former Director Marcia Hiriart Urdanivia acknowledged that she received multiple accounts of sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct by Romo Trujillo, but the women involved did not file complaints. Former trainees at UNAM told Science they witnessed or experienced misconduct or harassment by Romo Trujillo, including inappropriate and sexually suggestive comments, grabbing women without their consent while he was drunk at the institute, and making unwanted physical advances. On 6 March, the National Council of Science and Technology, Mexico's main granting agency, announced it would investigate allegations against Romo Trujillo. On 9 March, Mexico's elite honorary academy, the National College, announced that Romo Trujillo had asked to suspend his membership while he deals with the allegations. Some scholars lament Romo Trujillo's departure from UNAM. But current students think the discipline and departure of such a prominent researcher will serve as a turning point to end sexual harassment at UNAM.

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