AAUP@FHSU


In Depth: Academe Tackles Targeted Harassment

The latest issue of Academe magazine comes at a timely moment, as it takes an in-depth look at the right-wing assault on academia. The issue includes a series of articles that specifically examine the targeted harassment of faculty.

A profile of the AAUP chapter at Trinity College in Connecticut offers insight into how the newly formed chapter mobilized over the summer on behalf of Professor Johnny Williams after he was attacked on social media and subsequently suspended by the school’s administration. A group of sixty colleagues demanded that the administration rescind its decision, and the chapter’s executive committee issued a statement of support for Williams, citing concerns about academic freedom, due process, and the stifling of “critical engagement with issues of race.” Read more here.

A feature article by Joshua A. Cuevas of the University of North Georgia documents how he was targeted by white supremacists waging a cultural war on what they perceive as the left-wing, intellectual elite. He details the waves of attacks he personally endured as a victim of targeted harassment and argues, “Academia has been too timid in countering such movements. We should not have to speak in hushed tones when we condemn hate groups. We should not have to be apprehensive when we promote democratic ideals and equality.” Read the full piece here.

If you’re interested in Friday’s Facebook Live conversation with Joan Wallach Scott and Hank Reichman, check out an interview Scott gave to Bill Moyers this past fall. Scott says that while attacks on academics are not new, the Trump election empowered a number of different groups whose aim is to stop the teaching of critical thinking. Check out the interview here.

In a final article of interest, Anita Levy, a senior program officer in the AAUP’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance, provides summaries of several reports of harassment that the AAUP received after asking faculty last year to share their experiences. She notes that in many cases, the triggering event that led to the harassment occurred in the course of faculty members’ normal academic duties as teachers, researchers, or concerned citizen-scholars addressing the public. Read more here.

We’d still like to hear from you—share your stories or thoughts on targeted harassment using the hashtag #FacultyUnderAttack and we’ll post selections on our social media feeds. And remember to join us on Friday for the Facebook Live conversation on targeted harassment. To read all these articles and to see all our resources for the week, check out our page on One Faculty, One Resistance.

The AAUP


Targeted Harassment: What to do

What do you do if you or a fellow faculty member on your campus is subject to targeted online harassment?

In the current political climate, this has become everyday reality in higher education, and the AAUP has developed some resources to help guide you and your colleagues when these situations do arise. All of the resources can be found on our One Faculty, One Resistance site.

We’ve created a one-page guide to help you prepare to respond to cases of targeted harassment. By actively engaging with your administration to plan for cases of targeted harassment on campus and ensuring that institutional regulations or collective bargaining agreements reflect that academic freedom includes the freedom of faculty members to speak as citizens, you can help establish procedures for an institutional response when incidents occur.

We also developed a brief guide to social media policies. We believe that while institutional policies can provide guidance to faculty members who post in an official capacity, any such policies must recognize that social media can be used to address matters of public concern and thus that their use by faculty members speaking as citizens is subject to Association-supported principles of academic freedom.

Those guides along with a form to submit cases of targeted harassment and a look at some of work intervening on behalf of professors who have been targeted can be found on our One Faculty, One Resistance website.

Remember to share your thoughts and stories using the hashtag #FacultyUnderAttack

Mariah Quinn
Senior Program Officer, Digital Organizing


Fighting Targeted Harassment: Join Us January 22-26

Threats of violence. Vicious attacks from right-wing propaganda sites. Firings and forced leaves. The silencing of faculty.

In addition to harming individual faculty members, campaigns of targeted harassment pose a profound and ominous challenge to higher education’s most fundamental values. The right of faculty members to speak or write as citizens, free from institutional censorship or disciplinary action, is a core principle of academic freedom.

The AAUP is at the forefront of fighting targeted harassment. We work directly with affected faculty, campus administrations, and our chapters and state conferences to ensure that faculty members’ academic freedom and due process rights are protected. And our sister organization, the AAUP Foundation, provides direct support to faculty members whose careers are impacted by targeted harassment.

This month, we’re doubling down: starting January 22 we’ll devote a week to the topic of the insidious problem of targeted harassment.

We’ll kick off with an overview of the work we’re doing and let you know how you can raise your voice in the fight. We’ll share some guidelines about targeted harassment and social media and get you the most up-to-date resources on the subject.

You’ll hear from a faculty member who was the target of an attack that led to his suspension, and learn how the work of his AAUP chapter led the administration to step back and acknowledge the fundamental importance of academic freedom for the common good and the advancement of truth.

On Friday, January 26, we’ll hold a Facebook Live chat with Joan Wallach Scott and Henry Reichman, members of AAUP’s Committee A and two leading voices in the fight for academic freedom. You can RSVP here; we’ll send a reminder in advance.

We want to hear your voices! Tweet or post using the hashtag #FacultyUnderAttack and we’ll share your stories on our social media feeds.

The fight against the targeted harassment of faculty comes at a time when harassment has been increasing significantly. In these uncertain times, the more we stand together, the more we can accomplish.

Stay tuned.

Julie Schmid
Executive Director, AAUP