This week: campus-harassment legislation, International Space Station retirement, and agency makes diversity pledge
In depth: United States president Joe Biden has named 27 members of his key advisory council for science and technology, half of whom are women, while also choosing a number of high-profile figures from the administration of former president Barack Obama.
Also this week from Research Professional News
EU and US agree deeper cooperation on tech issues—Deal comes after frosty relations threatened to postpone first meeting of high-level council
Here is the rest of the US news this week…
Campus harassment bill tabled
Democrats in Congress have tabled legislation to combat bullying and harassment at higher education institutions in the United States. First introduced in the previous Congress, the bill would require colleges and universities to put in place policies to prohibit harassment based on race, gender, sexual orientation and other characteristics of identity, and to recognise cyberbullying as a form of harassment. Senator Patty Murray said that “for too many students, campus bullying and harassment just devastates their mental, emotional and physical health”.
ISS retirement plan required
Lawmakers have warned that the United States needs a plan for the retirement of the International Space Station that retains the country’s position as a leader in space. At a House science committee hearing, the Republican representative Brian Babin said that not having a transition plan in place for the ISS “would only serve the interests of the Communist Chinese Party [sic]” and would “erode American strategic leadership”. Don Beyer, the Democratic chair of the subcommittee on space, said any plan would need to “ensure research and related activities can be transitioned seamlessly”.
NOAA chief makes diversity pledge
The incoming head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has pledged to close “pervasive and pernicious” racial, ethnic and gender gaps in the agency’s workforce. Appearing in front of a congressional committee, Rick Spinrad said he would “ensure that equity is not something we do, but rather embedded in everything we do”. Responding to a push from US president Joe Biden to shore up scientific integrity, Spinrad also said he had already required all political appointees to complete integrity training.