For the first time in its 158-year history, a scientist has been expelled from the National Academy of Sciences for violating the Code of Conduct.
Geoff Marcy, one of the country’s foremost astronomers, was dismissed from his position at the prestigious scientific organization on Monday, six years after his history of sexually harassing students was first made public.
Members of the group had petitioned for years to amend the academy’s statutes, and in 2019 they voted to withdraw membership if it was found that a member had violated the group’s code of conduct, which prohibits discrimination, harassment and bullying . , ‘as well as plagiarism and data manipulation.
Geoff Marcy was expelled from the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, six years after being charged with sexually assaulting students at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University.
The National Academy of Sciences amended its statutes in 2019 to allow for the removal of anyone who violates the Code of Conduct, which prohibits harassment and bullying
Marcy, once a Nobel Prize contender, was admitted to the group in 2002. In 2015, allegations arose that he had harassed students at San Francisco State University and later at the University of California, Berkeley between 2001 and 2010.
Some of the students said they have all left the field of science as a result of his actions.
“I’m certainly glad it happened,” Kathryn Clancy, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who wrote a 2018 report on sexual harassment and harassment in NAS. Buzzfeed News.
“I think this is a great first step,” she said, “but I think we need to distinguish between accountability and justice.
“ The women who are no longer in astronomy will not suddenly, magically regain those years and rejoin the discipline, the people whose careers were sidetracked, the people who took lateral or downward movements so as not to interact with Marcy. work or to avoid him; the people who chose not to work with him at great cost to their career.
“I hope this is an opportunity for us to think.”
Marcy resigned from UC Berkeley in 2015 over claims of inappropriate behavior, including giving female college students unwanted massages and trying to kiss and touch.
School administrators at the time warned Marcy of his actions, suggesting he would be penalized or fired if it happened again, but others called for tougher measures.
Twenty-four of his colleagues in the astronomy department called for him to resign, and more than 2,500 academics signed an online petition in support of the ‘targets’ of his ‘inappropriate behavior and those who have spoken about it publicly’.
Marcy, far right, spoke at The Royal Society in London before resigning from Berkeley in 2015. He is pictured next to (left to right) cosmologist and astrophysicist Lord Martin Rees, SETI Institute Chair Emeritus Frank Drake, Creative Director of the Interstellar Post, NASA Voyager Ann Druyan
He tried to apologize in the Committee on Status of Women in Astronomy newsletter three weeks after UC Berkeley administrators completed their investigation, writing, “ While I disagree with every complaint filed, it is clear that my behavior was undesirable by some women.
“I take full responsibility and hold myself fully accountable for my actions and the impact they had,” he wrote. For that and to the affected women, I sincerely apologize.
It is difficult to express how painful it is for me to realize that I was a source of grief to all my female colleagues, however unintentional.
Through in-depth and lengthy consultation, I have thought carefully about my actions and about gender inequality, power and privileges in our society. I was not aware of how these factors created contingency contexts, and how my actions and position affected others in ways that were far from what I meant.
“Hard work has changed for the better in important ways,” he concluded.
But he resigned a week later when one of his prosecutors, Jessica Kirkpatrick, told Buzzfeed News, “It is a relief to know that Geoff Marcy will no longer have access to UC Berkeley students.”