CASCA Board statement on the University of California at Berkeley sexual harassment case

The Board of Directors of the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) is appalled by the recent news that Dr. Geoffrey Marcy, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has been found to have violated the university’s Sexual Harassment Policy over a period of many years. Such behaviour has no place in our professional academic and working environment. We wish to express our concern for the women whose lives, both professional and personal, have been affected adversely by Dr. Marcy’s actions. We also feel that the sanctions that were originally levied by the University of California, Berkeley, against Dr. Marcy were inadequate compared to the damage he has caused to others.

CASCA has an Ethics Statement that states “All people encountered in one’s professional life must be treated with respect and dignity. Discrimination, harassment and abusive behaviours, be it against colleagues, students, or members of the media or the public, are never acceptable.” We have also implemented a code of conduct at our annual scientific meeting, which includes identifying one or more persons in authority and present at the meeting with whom concerns about inappropriate behavior during the meeting may be raised. We will be reviewing our own policies and procedures to identify additional measures that should be taken to protect our members.

Christine Wilson, President, CASCA