The oversight office of the National Science Foundation is dispatching investigators to McMurdo Station in Antarctica following reports of high rates of sexual violence at the American research facility.
The National Science Foundation (NSF), a government organization, has announced plans to take additional steps to combat the widespread issue. On Friday, the NSF appointed Renée Ferranti as a special assistant to the director, with a focus on preventing and addressing sexual assault and harassment.
In August, an inquiry by the Associated Press revealed that at McMurdo Station, women’s reports of harassment or assault were frequently dismissed by their employers, putting them and others at greater risk.
The AP received internal communications stating that the NSF Office of Inspector General will be sending investigators for a site visit starting on Monday and ending on November 17th.
Alcohol service at the bars in McMurdo Station has been discontinued, but employees are able to purchase a weekly alcohol allowance from the station’s store. According to the NSF, this decision was made to improve morale and welfare, and not as a measure to prevent sexual harassment or assault.
I am happy to announce that on Friday, the Director of NSF, Sethuraman Panchanathan, welcomed Ferranti, who brings over 25 years of experience in preventing sexual assault.
“I am committed to addressing this widespread issue, and it remains a top priority for both myself and the agency. With Renée’s expertise, we will continue to adjust and intensify our initiatives in order to effectively combat the ever-changing challenges of sexual assault prevention and response,” stated Panchanathan.
Ferranti expressed her desire to have a significant influence in promoting the NSF’s efforts to combat sexual violence.