Omerta 14 said and announced that other changes would follow. In this Omerta we will explain that another requested change was the prohibition for CREA members to work over the weekends. At that time, a letter from the CREA deputy director to the Rector asked if that included a ban on attending European scientific research meetings out of working hours.
On Friday, August 17th, four CREA members received the conditional approval of an article in PLOS ONE, the world’s most important open-access, non-profit journal of the Public Library of Science. The condition was to make some changes and send them on Monday 20th August. The only possibility to achieve such condition was to work non-stop over the weekend to have it ready within the established deadline. It has now been published. This is a common practice in the international scientific community even at their highest levels, as is the case of this journal. Many CREA members have done doctorates and postdocs in the best Universities in the world and sometimes we have worked Saturdays and Sundays and we found, not only that the University was open, but also that there were great scientific and prestigious Professors working there too.
The deputy director’s letter was never answered by the Rector at that time. Perhaps someone might think that it was for fear to leave in writing a piece of nonsense like this that clearly harms science, the country, the University of Barcelona. In fact, if our University has already been internationally discredited for having eliminated a forerunner ethical code that had been approved without problems precisely when it included the rejection of gender violence (see Omerta 14), this problem would have increased even more, clearly stating in writing the impossibility of participating in these international scientific meetings. Neither could they argue that someone paid by CREA was forced to work outside the hours established in their contract because, although this was a very frequent practice in other research groups then, it had never been done in a research centre like ours, which has among its members people who have even presided work councils.
There are still people who think that the real reason for these two changes had to do with an objective that was not officially written down, but that the sexual harassers had managed to make people say a lot in the corridors: CREA must be destroyed. Obviously, hindering our ethical commitment against gender violence and prohibiting the usual productive functioning of the international scientific community would have destroyed our research centre. But, as our director those days told the mentioned Rector, we were not going to do it. He clearly told him that, even if we were made to remove this ethical code, we would continue to support all the victims and ensure that all Universities had the obligation to create equality commissions. He also told him that, in case we were not explicitly prohibited in writing, those of us who wanted to would exercise our freedom to work whenever it was scientifically necessary.
We have done so and we will continue to do so.