“Who Are They Targeting This Week?”: Supporting Faculty During Incidents of Targeted Harassment by the Public


Voicemails from strangers reciting your home address. Emails and messages that reference your child’s name. Receiving such an onslaught of harassment that you can’t open your inbox for weeks without cringing. Deciding to leave a tenured position and move out of state for safety reasons. These are all examples faculty shared with me during interviews about their experiences being targets of harassment by the public. Targeted harassment is when groups or individuals engage in aggressive and organized campaigns targeting faculty members, which are meant to silence professors or censor their curriculum (Ferber, 2018). Faculty face an ongoing threat of harassment by the public for their teaching, research, or personal identities. During these incidents, the overwhelming emails, messages, social media comments, phone calls, doxxing, and even threats of rape and death contribute to silencing, self-censorship, and a lack of safety -- all of which prohibit faculty from fully engaging in academia, the profession, and with the public (Doerfler, 2021). Now imagine having to navigate this fast-moving situation on your own or scrambling to work with colleagues or department chairs in real time, because your institution has no support plan in place for when this happens. It doesn’t have to be like this. During this presentation, I will discuss the issue of targeted harassment of faculty, and I will share findings from my research about informal and formal mechanisms of support, as well as strategies for scaling support at department, college, and university levels.

Author Information
Nina Flores, California State University Long Beach, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ACEID2024
Stream: Higher education

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Virtual Presentation

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon