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Academy may expel members for misconduct

The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has announced a change to its bylaws to allow the expulsion of members who violate the organization’s code of conduct. Until now, affiliation with the academy has been a lifelong honor and there has been no means of revocation. The change is a response to growing pressure to remove researchers found guilty of sexual harassment from the academy, such as astronomer Geoff Marcy, who resigned from the University of California, Berkeley, for harassing students between 2001 and 2010, and neuroscientist Thomas Jessell, who was dismissed from Columbia University for harassing a student with whom he had a relationship. NAS President Marcia McNutt consulted the organization’s members, with 86% voting in favor of the change. “This vote is less about cleaning house and more about sending the message that the members of the National Academy of Sciences adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct,” she said, according to the journal Science. The NAS has 2,350 members and 485 affiliates from other countries—of this total, 190 are Nobel Prize winners.