This week: salary stagnation, sexual discrimination rules and environmental firings
In depth: United States president Joe Biden has sent his first budget request to Congress, asking for big increases in R&D spending across government departments in fiscal year 2022 as well as funding for two new agencies for climate and health research.
Here is the rest of the US news this week…
Survey finds full-time faculty salaries fell in real terms
A 2020-21 salary survey by the American Association of University Professors has found that average real-terms pay for full-time faculty has decreased for the first time since the 2008 financial crash. In addition, nominal average wage growth for all ranks of full-time faculty was the lowest since the AAUP began tracking annual wage growth in 1972. Respondents said many institutions implemented a freeze on hiring, salary cuts, fringe-benefit cuts, furloughs and layoffs, as they struggled to balance their budgets.
Education secretary to review university sexual harassment rule
The Department of Education’s office for civil rights has opened a review of its ‘Title IX’ regulations, which prohibit sex discrimination in federally funded education. Education secretary Miguel Cardona said the review was the “first step” to make sure regulations are “effective and are fostering safe learning environments for our students while implementing fair processes”. The chair of the Senate education committee, Patty Murray, welcomed the review and said changes to the regulations under former president Donald Trump “made it that much harder for a student to report an incident of sexual assault or harassment—and that much easier for a school to sweep it under the rug”.
Republicans question mass firing of EPA science advisers
House Republicans are investigating the decision by the incoming administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Michael Regan, to “abruptly fire” 40 environmental advisers appointed under former president Donald Trump. The advisers served on the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and Science Advisory Board. The decision to fire the advisers was a “purge” by the administration of president Joe Biden and part of a “deeply troubling partisan political agenda”, said representatives James Comer and Ralph Norman. An EPA spokesperson said the agency would “review the letter and respond through appropriate channels”. When announcing his decision, Regan said “resetting” the committees “will ensure the agency receives the best possible scientific insight”.