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Term and Condition: Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made clear its commitment to foster safe research and learning environments. NSF continued this commitment with the publication on September 21, 2018 of the final version of the term and condition entitled "Notification Requirements Regarding Findings of Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault" in the Federal Register. NSF’s intention to develop and implement this new term and condition was specified in Important Notice No. 144, dated February 8, 2018.

TERM AND CONDITION

The following is a brief overview of the term and condition, including key processes and definitions. The complete version of the term and condition, including all requirements and definitions, can be found in Article 37 of  NSF's Research Terms & Conditions - Agency Specific Requirements available on the Awards Conditions page on the NSF website.

In accordance with the term and condition, awardee organizations are required to notify NSF of: (1) Any finding/determination regarding the PI or any co-PI that arises from a violation of awardee policies or codes of conduct, statutes, regulations, or executive orders relating to sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, or sexual assault; and/or (2) if the PI or any co-PI is placed on administrative leave or if any administrative action has been imposed on the PI or any co-PI by the awardee relating to any finding/determination or an investigation of an alleged violation of awardee policies or codes of conduct, statutes, regulations, or executive orders relating to sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, or sexual assault.

Finding/Determination is defined as, “The final disposition of a matter involving sexual harassment or other form of harassment under organizational policies and processes, to include the exhaustion of permissible appeals exercised by the PI or co-PI, or a conviction of a sexual offense in a criminal court of law.”

Administrative Leave/Action is defined as, “Any temporary/interim suspension or permanent removal of the PI or co-PI, or any administrative action imposed on the PI or co-PI by the awardee under organizational policies or codes of conduct, statutes, regulations, or executive orders, relating to activities, including but not limited to the following: teaching, advising, mentoring, research, management/administrative duties, or presence on campus.”

Notifications must be submitted by the Awardee Organization’s Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) to the NSF Office of Equity and Civil Rights (OECR) via the on-line Term and Condition Required Notification of Harassment form on the OECR webpage.

OECR staff examine each notification received to determine if the awardee organization has adequately addressed four key factors established within the term and condition:

1. The safety and security of personnel supported by the NSF award;

2. The overall impact to the NSF-funded activity;

3. The continued advancement of taxpayer-funded investments in science and scientists; and

4. Whether the awardee has taken appropriate action(s) to ensure the continuity of science and that continued progress under the funded project can be made.

Upon receipt and review of the information provided, NSF will consult with the AOR, or designee. Based on the results of this review and consultation, the Foundation may, if necessary, assert its programmatic stewardship responsibilities and oversight authority to initiate the substitution or removal of the PI or any co-PI, reduce the award funding amount, or where neither of those previous options is available or adequate, to suspend or terminate the award.

EFFECTIVE DATE

The term and condition has been in effect since October 22, 2018 for all NSF awards and funding amendments made on or after that date.

TERM AND CONDITIION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Please view the Notification Requirements Regarding Findings of Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault FAQs (updated as of February 3, 2021) for additional information on the new requirement.

FEDERAL REGISTER COMMENTS

On March 5th, 2018, NSF posted its proposed draft term and condition into the Federal Register for public comment. The Foundation received almost 200 comments, of which, we considered and responded to each one. The comments NSF received were helpful in developing the final term and condition. To view the comments that were received and the NSF response to each comment, please view Federal Register Comments.

SUBMISSION OF REQUIRED NOTIFICATIONS

Authorized Organizational Representatives (AOR)s must use the Term and Condition Required Notification of Harassment form to submit a required notification to NSF. When submitting a report, please note that only the identification of the PI or co-PI is required. Personally identifiable information regarding any complainants or other individuals involved in the matter MUST NOT be included in the notification.

If you have any questions on how to complete the Required Notification of Harassment, please contact harassmentnotifications@nsf.gov.

Annual (FY) Reporting of Notifications Submitted to NSF:

The table below details the number of notifications submitted by NSF awardee organizations in each of the fiscal years (October 1st-September 30th) that the term and conditions has been in effect. OECR will update this table on an annual basis every October.

 

FY19

FY20

FY21

TOTAL

Total T&C Notifications Reported to NSF By Awardee Organizations:

13

20

10

43

Finding/Determination*

6

4

2

12

Administrative Leave/Action*

7

16

8

31

*Reported to NSF by Awardee Organizations

REPORT HARASSMENT

Under the term and condition, only the AOR of an NSF awardee organization is authorized to submit a notification to NSF. If you are not an AOR of an NSF awardee organization, but would like to report harassment you were subjected to, have witnessed or became aware of involving an NSF-funded program or activity, please contact the NSF Office of Equity and Civil Rights (OECR) at programcomplaints@nsf.gov. If you do not receive an acknowledgment within 48 hours, please follow up to ensure OECR has received your communication. OECR will review your communication to determine whether a notification under the term and condition is required to be submitted to NSF and if so, contact the NSF awardee organization to require submission of the notification. You may also be provided information on how to file a complaint with the awardee organization or under NSF’s Awardee Civil Rights complaint process.