AAAS Approves Policy to Revoke Elected Fellowship Honors for Misconduct or Harassment
AAAS Approves Policy to Revoke Elected Fellowship Honors for Misconduct or Harassment

September 2018

On September 15, the governing body of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) approved a new policy under which an elected AAAS Fellow’s lifetime honor can be revoked for proven scientific misconduct or serious breaches of professional ethics, including sexual and gender harassment.

The new policy will go into effect on October 15, 2018. AAAS issued a related statement on the policy and notified its membership.

“Harassment has no place in science,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, AAAS president and chair of the AAAS Council. “We need effective and responsive policies in academic departments and institutions, scientific societies, and government agencies that define expectations of behavior and provide clear reporting processes, as well as consequences for violations.”

The action came during a special meeting of the AAAS Council. AERA Past President Barbara Schneider and AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine represented the Social, Economic, and Political Sciences Section on AAAS Council in that vote.

“This significant vote makes it clear that culture change is needed and important steps are now underway in the sciences,” said Levine.

Since 1874, the AAAS Fellows program has recognized scientists for scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

AAAS is reexamining policies and practices as well as stepping forward to foster communication and collaboration across scientific societies. A new initiative, known as SEA Change, is designed to shift the culture of academic institutions to better address harassment and social inequities.

The new AAAS policy requires a member to submit a written request seeking the revocation of a fellow’s status. Such a request should include investigative report findings made either by a federal or state agency, a court of law, a professional organization, or an academic institution, or cite an admission of conduct by a Fellow. Requests for revocation, as well as questions about the policy, should be sent to

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