#Gender Rights and Issues
Science Magazine and Its Editor- in-Chief
United States of America

Below we have drafted a letter to the editor of Science, rebutting the claims of authors who submitted a piece in support of Francisco Ayala, titled “Harassment charges: Injustice done?” (you can find that article here: http://tiny.cc/2exszy) that garnered over 60 signatures from those within our scientific community after he was found guilty of years of on-going sexual harassment. Please consider signing your name in support of the letter below requesting that Science retract the retaliatory letter and to request that Science issue an apology to Ayala’s targets and the scientific community. We aim to get at least 100 signatures and welcome signatures and support from academics of all disciplines. Your name and affiliation will be listed below and will be provided when we submit the letter to Science.

The letter “Harassment charges: Injustice done?” by Moya et al. (8/17/18) defends Francisco Ayala, recasting him as the victim of an “unfair” investigation that found him guilty of repeated sexual harassment, leading to his resignation from University of California Irvine (UCI). In publishing this retaliatory letter, Science legitimizes attempts to discredit Ayala’s accusers reinforcing the narrative that consequences are the “fault” of the harassed rather than those engaging in harassment.

Moya et al. do not substantiate their claim the UCI investigation lacked transparency and due process. Instead, they propose Ayala’s status and research accomplishments should shield him from the consequences of his actions. In UCI’s 96-page public report, evidence included testimony from 61 witnesses and detailed Ayala’s repeated sexual misconduct against multiple colleagues, as well as his attempted retaliation against whistleblowers.

Moya et al. decry the “appalling consequences” of the charges against Ayala, deflecting attention from the consequences of his proven misconduct and impugning the motives of those who testified. A recent NASEM report (http://tiny.cc/3hxszy) shows approximately 50% of women face sexual harassment in academic workplaces—more so for women of color and sexual and gender minorities. Most who report face retaliation. Sexual harassment undermines core values of research integrity. It not only harms targets and bystanders; harassment damages science itself by discouraging and driving out talented people.

Ayala’s targets were courageous in coming forward. They deserve support, not public criticism and retaliation enabled by a prestigious scientific organization. Science would not publish such a letter defending a data-fabricator on the basis of their accomplishments, and making unsupported claims against the investigation—why is the standard different here? In our opinion, Science committed an injustice and a serious error in judgment by publishing this letter, providing a platform for retaliation against the victims. We request Science retract the Moya et al. letter and apologize to both Ayala’s victims and the scientific community at large.

Authors (in alphabetical order)
Scott Barolo (University of Michigan Medical School)
Tisha Bohr (Cornell University)
Johanna Folk (University of California San Francisco)
Julie Libarkin (Michigan State University)
Rune Linding (University of Copenhagen)
Gary McDowell (Future of Research)
BethAnn McLaughlin (Vanderbilt University Medical Center)

The The Evidence Does Not Support Amplifying Sympathy for Harassers petition to Science Magazine and Its Editor- in-Chief was written by Jametta Black and is in the category Gender Rights and Issues at GoPetition.