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Statement in response to recent Science article and other media addressing an ongoing tenure review at Vanderbilt School of Medicine

Vanderbilt University issued the following statement in response to a recent Science article and other media addressing an ongoing tenure review at Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine:

“Recent news reports and subsequent social media conversations and posts related to an ongoing tenure review have created a grossly inaccurate picture of the culture and values of Vanderbilt University. We share genuine concern about the real and pervasive challenges facing women in science around the world and are working to address them here at Vanderbilt. We do not tolerate sexual discrimination and misconduct, or retaliation against those that stand up against it, and we work to foster an environment that encourages reporting and protects those who do so. Our community holds diversity, equity and inclusion as bedrock values and any suggestion otherwise is false.

“We also believe that shared governance, where our faculty are deeply involved in the management of the institution, is core to our ability to achieve our mission of teaching, research and service.  The processes to review tenure decisions and disciplinary actions are faculty-led, and the strict confidentiality we maintain around personnel matters is a covenant that was developed by our faculty and for our faculty.  That is why we will not get into a public debate about the specific circumstances of any individual’s tenure application, disciplinary matters, grievance process or other details pertaining to their employment or promotion status at the university. Because of the confidential nature of the process, public information about any personnel matter will be incomplete and potentially misleading. To be clear, the process in the tenure review in question is ongoing and a final decision will be made based on a thorough assessment of the facts.

“In regards to the culture and values of our community as it relates to support for women in science — we cannot state more strongly the level of priority this issue has for our university. As a reflection of our broader efforts to live our values of equity, diversity and inclusion, we are proud that women are represented at the highest levels of the university and in key leadership roles. We have also instituted programs to recruit and train the next generation of women leaders. We continue to roll out initiatives to deepen understanding of the challenges facing women in the sciences and to take action to support women scientists. More information about our ongoing efforts can be found at the Women@Vanderbilt website, www.vanderbilt.edu/women.”

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