AAAS rescinds election of Patrick Harran as a fellow
Dec23

AAAS rescinds election of Patrick Harran as a fellow

Yesterday, the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced that it would rescind its election of University of California, Los Angeles, chemistry professor Patrick Harran as a AAAS fellow. The AAAS statement says: The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today announced that its Section on Chemistry has voted not to move forward with the nomination of Patrick Harran as a Fellow, following re-review of his nomination. On December 18, the AAAS Council approved the Chemistry Section steering group’s request to conduct a complete re-evaluation of Dr. Harran’s nomination after it became apparent that an initial review of nomination materials had not included all relevant information. Members of the nomination reviewing committee recently became aware of a 2008 case involving the death of a technician in the UCLA laboratory of Dr. Harran. The AAAS Council Subcommittee on Fellows, which is empowered to review the nomination and election process, is also considering changes to the Fellow review process for subsequent nominations. The statement is confusing, because in AAAS’s Nov. 16 fellows election announcement, it said that the fellows–including Harran–had already been elected. Now it’s saying that it won’t move forward with the nomination. If Harran was already elected, wouldn’t AAAS have to revoke that, not just put a halt to the nomination? I asked AAAS director of news and information Gavin Stern to clarify, but I haven’t heard back yet. Update with a clarification from Stern: Dr. Harran’s case is unprecedented under AAAS bylaws and the history of AAAS elected Fellowship, which dates back to 1874. Dr. Harran was nominated independently by three existing AAAS Fellows and then ratified by elected members of the AAAS Council. Under our bylaws, this process is member-driven without interference or influence by AAAS staff. On December 18, the Chemistry Section steering group received approval from the Council for a complete re-evaluation of Dr. Harran’s nomination. They decided not to move forward — therefore Dr. Harran will not be installed as a...

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AAAS may reconsider election of Patrick Harran as a fellow
Dec15

AAAS may reconsider election of Patrick Harran as a fellow

In a press release yesterday, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced that the association’s chemistry section has asked the association’s governing council to reconsider election of Patrick Harran as a AAAS Fellow. Harran was in charge of a University of California, Los Angeles, lab where a fire occurred in 2008, fatally injuring staff researcher Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji. Harran was subsequently charged with felony violations of state labor code and is currently fulfilling the terms of a settlement agreement with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. The AAAS press release says in part: The Chemistry Section’s request to the Council was made after it became apparent that an initial review of Dr. Harran’s nomination materials had not included all relevant information. … Under AAAS bylaws, Fellows are nominated either independently by three existing AAAS Fellows, as in Dr. Harran’s case, or by the elected leadership of topical membership Sections. Following review by the relevant topical sections, successful fellows are then ratified by elected members of the AAAS Council, without interference or influence by AAAS staff. Newly elected Fellows are then inducted at a ceremony during the AAAS Annual Meeting in February. In November, AAAS had announced the election of 347 new Fellows, to be honored at a 13 February awards ceremony. Last week, members of the nomination reviewing committee became aware of a 2009 case involving the death of a technician in the UCLA laboratory of Dr. Harran. An additional announcement will be made as soon as the relevant AAAS governance bodies issue a final decision in this case. The chemists on the AAAS governing council are AAAS president and Council chair Geraldine Richmond, Judith Burstyn, Marisa Kozlowski, and American Chemical Society president-elect Donna Nelson. The chair of the AAAS chemistry section steering group is Bruce Bursten, who served as American Chemical Society president in 2008. Other members of the section steering group can be found here. Commentary: Chemjobber – Patrick Harran’s nomination as an AAAS fellow to be reconsidered by the chemistry section and Los Angeles Times on the Harran/AAAS contretemps Other coverage: The Scientist – AAAS Fellowship Decision Criticized Motherboard – Should a UCLA Professor Be Forgiven for the Horrific Death of His Lab Assistant? Chemistry World – AAAS poised to reconsider Harran’s election to fellow Science Careers – AAAS Fellowship selection raises questions Los Angeles Times – Fatal UCLA lab fire cited as science group is urged to reconsider chemist’s fellowship Inside Higher Ed – Questions About Honor for UCLA Chemistry...

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UCLA professor Patrick Harran elected as a AAAS fellow
Dec09

UCLA professor Patrick Harran elected as a AAAS fellow

Among the people elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this year is University of California, Los Angeles, chemistry professor Patrick Harran. In one of Harran’s labs in 2008, 23-year-old staff research assistant Sherharbano (Sheri) Sangji was transferring tert-butyllithium by syringe when the reagent caught fire, fatally injuring Sangji. UCLA and Harran subsequently faced felony charges of labor code violations relating to the fire. Both are still fulfilling the terms of settlement agreements reached with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. AAAS elects fellow “to recognize members for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications,” according to a press release. About Harran’s election, association spokesperson Ginger Pinholster told the Daily Bruin: Ginger Pinholster, AAAS director in the office of public programs, said the AAAS fellow selection process is based strictly on scientific achievement. “(Selection as a fellow) doesn’t reflect behavior or other issues,” Pinholster said. Pinholster added the AAAS administrative members who oversaw the selection process for the fellowship were unaware of the charges against Harran. AAAS publishes Science, which ran several stories about Sangji’s death and subsequent events: The Burning Question of Laboratory Safety (Science Careers May 1, 2009) Building a Culture of Safety (Science Careers June 5, 2009) When Will They Ever Learn? (Science Careers May 6, 2011) UCLA Professor to be Charged in Lab Death (Science Jan. 6, 2012, page 18) Settlement Announced in Patrick Harran Criminal Case (Science Careers June 20, 2014; flagged in Science June 27, 2014, page 1432) The Landmark Patrick Harran Case Ends Inconclusively (Science Careers July 9, 2014) $4,500,000 (Science Oct. 24, 2014, page 402) Updated to add: A letter from Sangji’s family to AAAS leaders. And again to add: Letters to AAAS leaders from University Professional & Technical Employees, the union that represented Sangji; Neal Langerman, safety expert and District Attorney witness; and various others. AAAS announced on Dec. 14 that the association’s chemistry section has asked to reconsider Harran’s election as fellow. Commentary on Harran’s AAAS fellow election: The Curious Wavefunction – The AAAS’s nomination of Prof. Patrick Harran does a grave disservice to their stated mission Chemjobber – Prof. Patrick Harran selected as AAAS fellow Pasco Phronesis – Science Policy Nuggets – Energy Confirmation And AAAS Fellow...

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Harran still complying with proescution agreement in #SheriSangji case
May21

Harran still complying with proescution agreement in #SheriSangji case

Patrick Harran has a court date today to check in with a judge regarding his agreement with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. Harran was to pay a fine and complete community service in exchange for the DA eventually dropping charges of four felony violations of the state labor code. The case arose from a 2008 fire in his lab that led to the death of researcher Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji. Harran had paid the fine by Nov. 20, 2014, and continues to meet the terms of his community service, Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum...

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Judge says Harran complying with prosecution agreement in #SheriSangji case
Nov20

Judge says Harran complying with prosecution agreement in #SheriSangji case

Post written by Michael Torrice Attorneys for University of California, Los Angeles, chemistry professor Patrick Harran were in court today for a status check on the chemist’s compliance with an agreement with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Harran made the deal in June so that the DA’s office would eventually drop charges of four felony violations of the state labor code stemming from a 2008 fire in his lab that led to the death of research assistant Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji. Judge George G. Lomeli said in court that he had reviewed reports submitted by the DA’s office and determined that Harran is complying with all terms of the agreement. Lomeli set the next status check for May 21, 2015. In the June deal, Harran agreed to complete community service and pay a $10,000 fine. After five years, if Harran has complied with all terms of the agreement, the DA’s office will drop all charges. After the hearing, Deputy DA Craig W. Hum said that his office receives reports from Harran’s attorneys detailing what the chemist has done to comply with the agreement. Investigators for the DA’s office then verify the claims in the reports. The UCLA chemist has paid the $10,000 fine to the Grossman Burn Center. He also has developed and started teaching a chemistry course for South Central Scholars, a volunteer organization that helps prepare Los Angeles area high school students for college. In court, Thomas O’Brien, Harran’s attorney, said that the chemist had started his first several hours of nonteaching community service at the UCLA hospitals. Harran must complete 800 hours by the end of the five-year term of the...

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