Washington Update

FASEB Condemns Bullying in the Scientific Community

By: Jennifer Zeitzer
Thursday, February 10, 2022
FASEB is committed to providing safe and collaborative environments for its employees, volunteers, and the more than 130,000 individual scientists represented by its 30 member societies. This commitment was the impetus behind FASEB’s decision to issue a public statement in response to the resignation of former White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director and Presidential Science Advisor Eric S. Lander, PhD. The resignation followed reports that OSTP staff had been subjected to disrespectful and harassing behaviors by Lander. 

As the Federation’s Statement on Anti-discrimination and Harassment, notes, “Discriminatory behavior, sexual or verbal harassment, intimidation, bullying, or assault is not tolerated at FASEB facilities, during FASEB-sponsored or managed events, or among staff, volunteers, or other participants.” Given its no tolerance policy, FASEB was disappointed to learn about the poor treatment of OSTP staff. Scientific accomplishments and professional stature do not excuse these offenses, and FASEB continues to work across the scientific enterprise to raise professional standards. 

President Joseph R. Biden nominated Lander to serve the dual role of OSTP drector and presidential science advisor in January 2021; Lander was unanimously confirmed by a Senate voice vote in May 2021. Lander was the first life scientist to be confirmed as director. His additional title also bestowed a cabinet rank position on the science advisor for the first time in White House history. Prior to his confirmation, he served as director of the Broad Institute at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also co-chaired the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology for eight years under former President Barack Obama.