Overlooking Harassment and Threats to Faculty Compromises Academic Freedom

Updated: Mar 15, 2020

Emma Whitford of Inside Higher Ed recently reported that Albert Ponce, a political science professor at Diablo Valley College, received threats to his safety in October (2017) and more recently this August (2018). Faculty of the English and Social Science divisions of the Senate called on the college's administration to issue a statement condemning the harassment. Diablo Valley's president Susan Lamb responded via email that she was working with campus police to address the threats, but would not publicly denounce them as it would "escalate the situation."

Similar situations of faculty harassment are ongoing across the country. The AAUP has collected and documented self-reported faculty harassment stories since Spring 2017. They published a short list of examples thus far received in early 2018. The report revealed many similar non-responses on the part of administrations to address ongoing threats and harassment.

A campus on which faculty can be intimidated, harassed, threatened is a campus without academic freedom. It is the responsibility of academic administrators and presidents to fight back against those who create these threatening environments. Speaking out, letting those anonymous bullies and violent predators know they cannot proceed without a fight, is an absolute necessity these days.

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