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  • Writer's pictureClara Wajngurt

Why Are Doctoral Students More Prone To Being Bullied?

Updated: Dec 15, 2018

In higher education we find that students enrolled in doctoral programs are often bullied.First there occurs social isolation when students are being bullied-because if one comes forward, there will be rejections from professors and staff-especially if the stated perception is not coincident with what the majority feels.There is frustration from bullied students because faculty and staff dismiss incidents of bullying as workplace conflicts.Students who complain about uncivil treatment from faculty, staff or other students are considered as too weak to pursue their doctoral studies or  simply troublesome.The bullied students are often separated from others either overtly-like through ostracism or covertly-like through gossip. As a result, university doctoral students  who are bullied often keep a low profile and learn not to interfere with any non-desirable groups.

All of this is inevitable as a result of the hierarchical nature of the university setting and the social structure of acquiring tenure. An unbalanced power struggle between two people--like a dean and a professor, pressure to publish or perish, competition for scarce resources, limited accountability, and competitive research agendas contribute to the uncivil and bullying atmosphere of the university and its doctoral students.

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