Friday, April 27, 2018

Meredith Wadman on Sexual harassment charges against Inder Verma

From this explosive, deeply reported story in Science [which should be applauded, I think, for not paywalling the story]:

In reports stretching from 1976 to 2016, women allege, variously, that he grabbed their breasts, pinched their buttocks, forcibly kissed them, propositioned them, and repeatedly commented on their physical attributes in professional settings. The allegations come from a Salk lab technician, a postdoctoral researcher, other Salk staffers and faculty, and women outside of the institute, including a potential faculty recruit.

Five women in their 50s and 60s in secure scientific positions agreed to be named in this story. Three younger women requested anonymity, fearing repercussions to their careers. They cited Verma’s power at Salk and the reach of his influence, including his connections to Nobel laureates, National Institutes of Health (NIH) peer-review committees, and journal editorial boards.

Last Saturday, Wadman also reported that Verma was asked to go on administrative leave by the Salk Institute. Here's an extract from Salk's announcement:

We have also learned that Science is preparing a story about Dr. Verma and related allegations. Earlier this week, the reporter presented the Institute with information about her story that included claims the Institute was not previously aware of. We take these allegations very seriously and have expanded the scope of the investigation.