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White House Publishes Inventory of Sexual Harassment Policies at Science Agencies

FEB 26, 2024
OSTP recently faced criticism for not meeting the statutory deadline for the inventory.
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Science Policy Reporter, FYI American Institute of Physics
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McMurdo station in Antarctica is managed by the National Science Foundation as part of the US Antarctic Program, which has grappled with widespread reports of sexual harassment in recent years.

(Karen Pszonka)

The White House published an inventory this month of federal science agency policies, procedures, and resources relating to sex-based and sexual harassment involving extramural research awardees.

The inventory, which includes public-facing and internal documents, was created by the Interagency Working Group on Safe and Inclusive STEM Environments — a group that was established by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in response to the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 to coordinate agency efforts to combat harassment in research.

The act directed OSTP to publish the inventory within 90 days, and the office’s delay in completing it prompted letters of concern from the House Science Committee and science societies, who noted that progress in creating cross-governmental anti-harassment guidelines would stall without the inventory. The act requires that the guidelines be published within six months of the inventory’s completion.

As expected, the inventory reveals a patchwork of different policies and approaches to identifying, reporting, and reducing harassment across agencies. While all the agencies have policies covering internal staff, the inventory shows that not all agencies have policies explicitly covering extramural grant recipients.

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