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Published on: Oct 26, 2018

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have recently taken steps to promote the safety and well-being of students, faculty and staff to maintain productive research and educational environments.

NSF has announced that all institutions receiving NSF funds will be required to notify the agency of any findings/determinations of sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, or sexual assault by an NSF funded PI or Co-PI. Institutions will also be required to notify the agency if the PI or Co-PI is placed on administrative leave or subjected to other administrative action during an investigation related to such behavior.

These new requirements were implemented on October 21, 2018 and Penn State will adhere to them from this date forward. NIH has also declared its commitment to preventing and addressing harassment and inappropriate conduct. Although they have not implemented a new policy, they have reiterated that their current policy requires that institutions notify the agency if changes in status of the PI or other senior/key personnel, that require prior approval, include restrictions that the institution imposes on such individuals after the time of award, including but not limited to any restrictions on access to the institution or to the institution’s resources, or changes in their [employment or leave] status at the institution.

The University’s advisory group has finalized Penn State’s process for responding to these federal requirements. These procedures will follow the University’s existing policies to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct and other forms of harassment and discrimination. Please be reminded that all members of the Penn State community are expected to adhere to policy AD85, the University’s policy on sexual and/or gender-based harassment and misconduct, and to policy AD91, the University’s policy on discrimination and harassment. Penn State students, faculty and staff should report all allegations of sexual misconduct to the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response. Allegations of discrimination by employees should be reported to the Affirmative Action Office. Reports of other forms of harassment and misconduct may be reported to the Penn State Hotline

As we continue to promote an inclusive and harassment-free environment within the Penn State community, it is incumbent upon each of us to address misconduct in any form and to demonstrate the Penn State values of integrity, respect, responsibility, discovery, excellence and community. Please share this information with students, faculty and staff across your units to ensure that they are aware of these new requirements and of the University’s process for adhering to them. 

Questions regarding these requirements and Penn State’s process for notification to NSF and NIH should be directed to Suzanne Adair, Associate Vice President for Affirmative Action, at or 863-0471. 

News Topics: NSFNIHFunding