In the Media

After suspension for sexual harassment, prominent biologist’s return to campus prompts dismay (Science Mag)


A leading developmental biologist at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) this spring resumed teaching and supervising students, including undergraduates, ending a 3-month suspension without pay imposed after the school found he had likely engaged in persistent, pervasive sexual harassment. A wide-ranging university investigation of Bruce Blumberg that concluded in April 2023 supported a graduate student’s allegations of harassment that culminated in her abruptly leaving his lab and the university. An earlier sexual harassment probe of the prominent researcher had documented other instances of inappropriate conduct.

Blumberg has denied all the claims. UCI says it promptly and appropriately investigated and disciplined him, and is monitoring his behavior now that he is back on campus.

But UCI faculty and outside experts on sexual harassment in science, as well as witnesses who were interviewed for the latest UCI probe, expressed frustration and anger over Blumberg’s short-lived punishment.


“The chancellor’s decision was irresponsible,” says Ann Olivarius, a lawyer who has represented both complainants and accused professors in sexual harassment cases in science. “He has got a history here of misconduct,” she says of Blumberg. “He is a danger.”

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