Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is committed to creating and maintaining a work environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and harassment and will not tolerate inappropriate language, inappropriate physical contact, inappropriate relationships, coercive behavior, or other conduct that may result in a hostile work environment. The Danforth Center takes very seriously, and investigates, all allegations of this nature that come to its attention. In keeping with its commitment, the Danforth Center initiated an internal investigation in May 2018 upon receiving a complaint of inappropriate conduct and comments of a sexual nature by Dr. Thomas Brutnell. The Danforth Center placed Dr. Brutnell on a leave of absence pending its investigation and has ended its relationship with Dr. Brutnell.

As a research institution, the Danforth Center depends on mentoring and guidance from its leadership, faculty, and supervisors. As described in detail in the recent National Academies report, “Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering and Medicine,” leaders of scientific teams have power over the careers or livelihoods of scientific trainees and employees. The Danforth Center is determined to maintain a culture where all individuals in positions of power promote a safe, inclusive, discrimination- and harassment-free, and supportive workplace. To this end, the Danforth Center affirms that, regardless of position or influence, sexual harassment or other inappropriate behaviors that may result in a hostile work environment will not be tolerated. The Danforth Center further expects everyone to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct. The success of our scientists and staff depends on how well we maintain that environment, and how well we support each other.

James C. Carrington
President, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center