Bullying In Higher Education
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Bullying In Higher Education

Even professors get bullied

Bullying In Higher Education

"Bullying won't be tolerated," it's a slogan you see in every school; but what about Universities and Colleges? The interesting thing about bullying in higher education is that if a student is getting bullied one of two things will happen: the student will work it out themselves, or Student Life will get involved (if the student doesn't think they can work it out themselves) to put an end to the bullying. If, however, a professor is getting bullied by peers or the people in charge of them, nothing happens. No one rushes to their aid, no one speaks up, the professor lowers their head to avoid conflict until they can transfer. I find it odd that the very people telling us that bullying will not be accepted, are bullying. Professors are not allowed to talk about it with students, so I know very little on the subject.

It seems silly that they wouldn't be able to go to their higher-ups and put in a grievance, right? Well actually, they can. They can fill a grievance about the person bullying them, however, the person the case is filled against is allowed to ask who filled a grievance against them. That means the bully is able to know who potentially got them in trouble. Which, in turn, could lead to more bullying because the professor tattled on the bully. There is also the possibility that someone on the board is friends with the bully, and doesn't like the professor that is getting bullied. The friend could try to do everything in their power to stop the bully from getting in trouble and tell the bully everything that was said. So really, it's a double-edged sword to seek help.

Recently, one of the professors at my college didn't get his tenure approved. He not only fills all of his classes, but often has students take his class that don't need a history credit; their major has nothing to do with history, but everyone wants to take a class with him. He also meets all the requirements to get tenure. The reason he was denied: another professor (with a little bit of pull in the community) doesn't like him. They used the excuse of him being disorganized as well as his own personal business against him. I know of many professors in the college that are as well disorganized -- maybe even more so than he. Why did the board allow someone to deny a gifted professor tenure merely because they don't get along? So he is getting kicked out of a school that he loves, the student's he's advising are up creek without a paddle, and he only has the length of a school year to take all of this in and find a new job.

There is another situation similar to that one, where an alumni wanted to stay and maybe teach a few classes while being involved with the Black Friar's Playhouse (the only recreation of Shakespeare's indoor theater in the world). The student, however, decided to teach at a different University because one of the Administrators doesn't like them and instead of making the situation worse, they decided to just pack up and leave. So again a gifted (potential) professor is being chased off due to bullies.

Why are the Administrators allowing bullies in higher education? It seems they want to teach us that the little guy never wins; that there will always be bullies, so if you just keep your head down and don't speak up or speak out you'll be fine. Professors should not be afraid to make bold decisions, ask bold questions, or encourage bold actions from their students. Professors should not have to live in fear of getting fired due to a bully. What's worse is that no one talks about it. Professors feel as if they can only go to a few trusted peers with their bully problems, and while most of the peers will try to find a way around the bullies, there often is not a way around the people in charge of you and the peers are scared they'll get bullied too.

Speak Up, Speak Out, Bullies Should Not Be Tolerated Anywhere!


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Chris Barbalis

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