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  • Writer's pictureClara Wajngurt

Academic Climate After The Pandemic With Respect To Bullying

Academic Climate After The Pandemic With Respect To Bullying

Bullying in academia is unfortunately widespread. Professors and administrators have shown abuse of power, manipulated bystanders to be on their side, devalued the progress of colleagues through put-downs and negative critique, and have sabotaged the careers of their colleagues. This especially happens in the laboratory sciences and in the graduate programs with doctoral students.

In spite of their stellar academic achievements-these bully professors and bully administrators succeed and move up in their jobs. They move to the top echelons in college hierarchies and they exhibit favoritism, seclusion, and isolation from many colleagues they find to be threatening. According to Tauber and Mahmoudi (February 2022), these bullying academics are really mediocre in their stellar achievements, and so resort to bullying as a tactic for moving up the rungs of academia. As they move up and isolate, destroy, ostracize, and sabotage-they remove their competition. For example, one female scholar in the Netherlands received a multi-million dollar grant-and very shortly after receiving this grant-she became the target of harassment including physical attacks. This must stop. We need to treat each other with dignity and respect.

Academic environments with their freedom of discourse and variegated research, the pressure to perform and engage in tenure through full professor requirements, exacerbates bullying incidents. With the advent of the pandemic, there have been resignations and layoffs in the college environment, and this can also lead to a greater bullying climate. Personality traits for professors, chairs, supervisors, and administrators that include meanness and dominance generate fertile ground for bullying. Inherent to the academic culture of publishing or perishing, this fertile ground provides the seeds for bullying.

We need to provide our universities, with processes that investigate bullying, bullying and civility policies so that transparency and resolution are achieved. These processes would include a confirmation that bullying occurred, support and nonretaliatory action

for the target as well as formal and informal complaint procedures. Sometimes if there is a union statement about conduct or ethical behavior or an existing ombudsperson at the university-this could help.

But we must start fighting for these processes to occur at our universities now so that bullying will be tackled.


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