Skip to main content

A Turtle Scientist Loses His Award After He Shows 'Scantily Clad Female Students' in His Acceptance Lecture

A society for scientists who study amphibians and reptiles—technically called "herpetologists," after the Greek word herpetos, which means "creeping"—has rescinded an award from a member, after scientists called his acceptance presentation inappropriate on social media.

The Herpetologists' League revoked its 2018 Distinguished Herpetologist award from turtle specialist Dick Vogt on Friday, the Democrat & Chronicle reports. Vogt had given a slide presentation showing "scantily clad female students," as one audience member described it:

Vogt has long included pictures like these in his lectures, another audience member told the Democrat & Chronicle. "There's a big difference between what he does and just (pictures of) students in normal field garb."

The rescinded award comes hot on the heels of a grassroots push, among scientists on social media, to get scientific honors removed from alleged harassers. Prestigious awards help keep bad actors in power, scientists involved in various campaigns told Pacific Standard, and societies have varied in their responses to having the spotlight turned on them.

The Herpetologists' League on Friday said it was revising its rules about the Distinguished Herpetologist lecture series and signing onto a code of conduct for the Joint Meeting of Icthyologists (from the Greek ichthys, fish) and Herpetologists, where Vogt's presentation took place: