This policy guidance is consistent with a Department
of Justice (DOJ) directive noting that recipient/covered entities
have an obligation pursuant to Title VI's prohibition against national
origin discrimination to provide oral and written language assistance
to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) persons. It is also consistent
with (1) a government-wide Title VI regulation issued by DOJ in 1976, "Coordination
of Enforcement of Nondiscrimination in Federally Assisted Programs," 28
C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart F, that addresses the circumstances in
which recipient/covered entities must provide written language
assistance to LEP persons, and (2) DOJ memorandum issued February 17, 2011, federal governments renewed commitment to language access obligations under executive order 13161 which reaffirms the original mandate and require federal agencies to take specific steps for full compliance.
II. LEGAL AUTHORITY
601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Section
2000d et. seq. states: "No person in the United States
shall on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded
from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected
to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal
financial assistance. " This is further ordered by Executive
Order 13166, "Improving Access to Services for Persons With
Limited English Proficiency," and United States Department
of Justice Guidance as published in the Federal Register, Vol.
65, No. 159, August 16, 2000.
National Science Foundation is an independent government agency
whose mission is to promote the progress of science; to advance
the National health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the National
defense; and for other purposes. This is primarily accomplished
through grants to United States (U.S.) colleges and universities
as well as museums, school districts, commercial organizations,
and state and local governments in a myriad of scientific areas.
These entities then award grants to scientific investigators. The
investigators with which we have contact are professors or research
scientists with advanced degrees employed predominantly at U.S.
colleges and universities. NSF also
grants a number of fellowships directly to individuals. The vast
majority of individual applicants are attending U.S. colleges and
universities with a few teaching in U.S. schools. With regard to electronic information, NSF has a website that is available for public access. There are approximately
3.4 million visits to the website annually. There is also a NSF
website (Fastlane) which is required for submissions of all grant
proposals. This website receives approximately 1.2 million visits
annually. There have been no requests for translated materials
from visitors to either website. However, as part of the federal government's renewed commitment, NSF is currently assessing its services to ensure language access to recipients.
There does not appear to be a current existing barrier that excludes
individuals with limited English proficiency from participating
in Federally assisted programs and activities provided by NSF.
We come to this conclusion based on the results of our current
assessment, and with the knowledge that, historically, English
is thought of as the primary language for education and research
in the U.S. scientific community.
If there are any questions related to this policy, please contact
the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.