Chemists speak out on sexual harassment in academia

September 20, 2017

Sexual misconduct on college campuses is an age-old problem that continues to plague students and faculty, and is now the subject of renewed debate. It can traumatize those who are harassed, and change the course of people's careers. The cover article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, shares how sexual harassment has affected chemistry students and faculty, and what universities and scientific societies are doing about it.

C&EN Senior Editors Linda Wang and Andrea Widener report the personal experiences of several women who were sexually harassed as chemistry students or junior faculty by professors and administrators senior to them. The outcomes of such experiences can differ widely. Some leave academia for industry or give up the sciences altogether, while others endure. What many of these stories have in common is silence. The majority of women and men who are harassed don't report the incidents for a variety of reasons, including shame and fear of retribution.

But tolerance for in the sciences is starting to erode. Some universities and science departments are establishing new training and support networks for faculty and students. There is also proposed legislation that would require universities to report all substantiated findings of harassment to federal agencies that have awarded the harasser money. To deter misconduct at scientific conferences, host organizations, including the American Chemical Society, have meeting policies that explicitly address the issue.

Explore further: Survey: 4 in 10 US adults have experienced online harassment

More information: "Confronting sexual harassment in chemistry," cenm.ag/sexual-harassment

Related Stories

Scientific societies speak out against sexual harassment

September 12, 2016

More than 60 leaders in science from academia, government agencies, and professional societies came together recently to address the challenge of sexual and gender-based harassment on campus, in the field, and at scientific ...

Both boys and girls negatively affected by sexual harassment

May 12, 2008

A new study in Psychology of Women Quarterly explored the outcomes of sexual harassment on both boys and girls. While girls were harassed more frequently, boys were indirectly yet negatively affected through a school climate ...

Recommended for you

Roman theater uncovered at base of Jerusalem's Western Wall

October 16, 2017

Israeli archaeologists on Monday announced the discovery of the first known Roman-era theater in Jerusalem's Old City, a unique structure around 1,800 years old that abuts the Western Wall and may have been built during Roman ...

Human speech, jazz and whale song

October 13, 2017

Jazz musicians riffing with each other, humans talking to each other and pods of killer whales all have interactive conversations that are remarkably similar to each other, new research reveals.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.