ASM Supports Senate Legislation to Combat Sexual Harassment in STEM

April 4, 2019

Washington, D.C. – April 4, 2019 – ASM is proud to support the Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019, a bill that authorizes funding for research to better understand the causes and consequences of sexual harassment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, examine policies to reduce harassment, and encourage interagency efforts in these matters. This bill follows a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which found that sexual harassment is pervasive in institutions of higher education and contributes to loss of talented, highly trained individuals in the STEM workforce. The bill also aligns with legislation, H.R. 36, introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year by House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK).

ASM and its members are committed to promoting an environment that allows for the free expression and exchange of scientific ideas and promotes equal opportunities and respectful treatment for all. The best science is conducted when research environments are diverse and inclusive, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity, religious affiliation or sexual orientation. Harassment in any form or for any reason undermines the facilitation of good science.

ASM applauds U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for their efforts to protect against sexual harassment in STEM and ensure a safe environment for all researchers. 

The Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act would:

  • Create a new grant program through the National Science Foundation (NSF) to better understand the factors contributing to, and consequences of, sexual harassment, and examine interventions.
  • Direct Federal statistical agencies to gather national data on the prevalence, nature, and implications of harassment in higher education.
  • Direct NSF to enter into an agreement with the Academies and update professional standards of conduct in research, evidence-based practices for fostering a climate intolerant of harassment, and methods for identifying and addressing incidents.
  • Establish an Interagency Working Group for the purpose of coordinating Federal science agency efforts to reduce the prevalence of sexual harassment involving grant personnel.
  • Authorize $17.4 million a year to carry out the Act, following recommendations by NSF and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Read the full bill text.