ESA Statement on the Safety of Ecologists at Field Stations
We are concerned by the recent news report on sexual misconduct associated with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). We commend the courageous women who came forward to share their experiences and hold the perpetrators accountable. For ecologists, this situation hits us close to home because many of the women targeted are colleagues in our field.
In the short term, we call on Smithsonian Secretary Bunch, Undersecretary Stofan, and Deputy Secretary Park to immediately address the sexual misconduct reports and implement new policies so that researchers, visitors and residents of the field station are safe.
ESA is the professional home for all ecologists throughout the span of their careers. ESA rejects any form of discrimination or harassment and advocates for diversity and inclusion within our scientific community. We hold ecologists accountable for their behavior by implementing the ESA Code of Conduct and ESA Code of Ethics. In 2018, we strengthened the Code of Conduct for all ESA events and meetings, streamlined the misconduct reporting process, provided Bystander Training workshops, and in 2019 we joined the Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment. All attendees of any ESA event must acknowledge and agree to abide by the ESA Code of Conduct.
Clearly, more needs to be done to ensure that ecology is a welcoming place for all people to freely conduct their science in a safe environment. It is critical that we all recognize how damaging sexual assault and misconduct is for the professional and personal lives of ecologists. ESA will be seeking member input through a listening session on how we can further contribute to changing the culture of ecology so that all ecologists can help stop sexual harassment and misconduct in the classroom, in the lab, and in the field.