The National Science Foundation (NSF) is looking to institute a new policy that would “require colleges and universities to tell it of any NSF-funded researcher who has been disciplined for any kind of harassment.” The NSF is a $6 billion organization that supports academic research through funds and grants. The goal is to cut down on sexual misconduct and punish persons acting inappropriately. According to the agency’s director, France A. Córdova, “the planned rule would require colleges and universities to report only actual findings of harassment, or provisional actions such as suspensions pending further investigation, and not require reporting of initial allegations.”
Some see issues with the initial policy, warning that an entire project shouldn’t lose funding due to the failings of one person, but Cordova has insisted that will not happen. Instead, the offender will be replaced and the project will continue.
“The NSF’s mandatory reporting requirement is expected to take effect after a period of review that includes a process for receiving outside comments.” The policy would be unique among academic research institutions as the Federal law Title IX “does require institutions to prevent sexual assault. But colleges and universities currently need only to state that they are in compliance with the law and not necessarily report specific cases to funders, said Rhonda J. Davis, head of the NSF’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.” This means that this would be the first to enact a specific punishment towards individuals who are found guilty of sexual harassment.