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Congresswoman Speier to Host Discussion about Sexual Harassment in Science

July 13, 2016
Press Release
San Mateo, CA - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo counties) will moderate a panel discussion about sexual harassment in academia, especially in the STEM fields, on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 5:00 – 6:30 pm at Genentech Hall on the UCSF Mission Bay campus. Scandals such as the investigation of world-renowned astronomer Geoff Marcy at UC Berkeley have drawn attention to this issue across the country.
 
“Students enter the sciences to learn about the universe, not about their professor’s sex lives,” Speier said. “It is unacceptable that professors intimidate or inappropriately touch their students and in some cases even derail their careers. If we want to keep women in graduate programs and labs, we must end this climate of sexual harassment.”
In the U.S, women earn about half of the doctorates in science and engineering, yet they only comprise 21 percent of full science professors, 5 percent of full engineering professors, and 28 percent of the overall workforce. Sexual harassment is one of the reasons women are leaving these fields. In September, Speier will introduce a bill that addresses the problem of professors who engage in sexual assault or harassment while raking in taxpayer-funded grant money. The bill will require universities to report substantiated violations of Title IX to the federal funding agencies, who will then have the option of taking this information into account when making funding decisions.
 
Speier will be joined by Sarah Ballard, a Torres Fellow for Exoplanetary Science at MIT and sexual harassment survivor and complainant in the Geoff Marcy investigation; Janet Stemwedel, Professor and Chair in the Department of Philosophy at San Jose State University; Sheryl Vacca, Chair of the UC President's task force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Assault; and Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle reporter who has covered sexual harassment in the sciences extensively. 
 
Who: 
  1. Congresswoman Jackie Speier
  2. Sarah Ballard, Torres Fellow for Exoplanetary Science at MIT, sexual harassment survivor
  3. Janet Stemwedel, Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, San Jose State University
  4. Sheryl Vacca, SVP/Chief Compliance and Audit Officer and Lead of the UC President’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault
  5. Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle reporter
What:             Stop Sexual Harassment in Science
 
When:             Tuesday, July 19, 2016
5:00-6:30 pm
 
Where:           UCSF Mission Bay
                        Genentech Hall, Byers Auditorium
                        600 16th Street
                        San Francisco, CA 94158