Social Science Research Council Joins Other Social Science Organizations in Expressing Concern about Reported Instructions to the CDC to Ban Specific Words and Terms in FY19 Budget Requests

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC), a convener of the associations of the various social science disciplines and an independent organization with a nearly century-old legacy of commitment to scientific integrity, is deeply troubled by reports of the administration’s banning of specific words in the 2019 budget requests of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The steadfast commitment of America’s public and private agencies to “science-based” and “evidence-based” inquiry and policy is a constant source of innovation—economic, technological, medical, and in human well-being—and a prime impetus for the respect in which US scientists are held throughout the world. Further, the SSRC is in agreement with our fellow social science organizations in believing “diversity” has been an essential strength of this country from its beginnings, and banning related terms belies the truth of our shared history and inextricably linked future.

The SSRC joins the American Anthropological Association, the American Historical Association, the American Sociological Association, the American Statistical Association, and other scientific and engineering organizations as signatories on an American Association for the Advancement of Science letter to Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, that underscores the importance of reliability of scientific information and the integrity of scientific research. The American Political Science Association similarly issued a statement “urging federal agencies to reiterate their commitment to scientific freedom, evidence-based policymaking, and freedom of expression.” The American Psychological Association “urge[d] the administration to support evidence-based government programs.

The SSRC believes principles of scientific freedom and integrity must be maintained, free of political influence.