UC San Diego will not fire pregnant postdoc from China who spoke out about data falsification pressure

  • Li Jiang, a pregnant postdoctoral scholar from China, reached a settlement with the University of California, San Diego, earlier this month to extend her contract for six more months.
  • Jiang, whose contract has been renewed multiple times at the university, nearly lost her job and her legal status in the U.S. after speaking out about data falsification in her lab earlier this year.
  • After her revelation about the irregularities in January, Jiang said her supervisor told her that her research appointment would not be extended again.
  • Her peers criticized the case, and the Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) filed a formal grievance on her behalf on July 15.
  • Under the settlement, Jiang will now be allowed to stay and continue her work at UC San Diego under a new supervisor and retain her health benefits for six more months.
  • While she is set to resign after the “bridge appointment,” this will at least ensure Jiang does not lose her legal status in the U.S. while she is pregnant.

A researcher who nearly lost her job of over four years at the University of California, San Diego, after speaking out about data falsification in her lab reached a settlement with the school earlier this month. 

Li Jiang is a pregnant postdoctoral scholar from China whose contract had been renewed multiple times at the university.

According to Jiang, she noticed that her supervisor’s treatment of her changed earlier this year after she questioned the integrity of some data and research methodology in a pathology department lab.

Jiang said her supervisor later told her that her research appointment would not be extended again, except for a few months if she produced “certain data on a short timeline.”

Her peers criticized the case, which would have forced her to return to China during the end of her pregnancy. 

On July 15, the Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) filed a formal grievance, alleging that Jiang’s termination violated the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the university. The complaint called for Jiang to be reappointed. 

The support Jiang received resulted in an agreement negotiated by Jiang, UC San Diego, the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and the UAW on Aug. 19.

Under the settlement, Jiang will be allowed to stay and continue her work at UC San Diego and retain her health benefits for six more months. She will be assigned to a different lab under a new supervisor, who is her department chair.

The “bridge appointment” will ensure Jiang does not lose her legal status in the U.S. while she is pregnant.

She is set to resign at the end of the appointment and will not lodge further complaints against UC San Diego. 

Aside from Jiang, other postdocs within the UC system have publicly spoken against alleged bullying by their faculty supervisors.

 

Featured Image via @sruuaw

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