Handling Harassment in Higher Education and Understanding Your University Bullying Policy
Bullying does not stop when a child leaves high school. Parents might think that once their son or daughter graduates from high school, then they are free from immature adolescents and schoolyard bullies. Bullying can also be present in colleges and universities. Discover more on how to use a University Bullying Policy for your own benefit!
Rutgers University was the scene of one such instance. On November 2013, NJ.com broke the story of football player and Rutgers student, Jevon Tyree, who was allegedly bullied by the team’s then-defensive coordinator David Cohen. Cohen was said to have confronted Tyree after the cornerback missed 5 days of practice due to an injury. Tyree said that Cohen came up to him in study hall and proceeded to use profanities and threatened to head butt the teen. Cohen was fired after the incident was brought to the attention of Head Coach Kyle Flood.
This is only one of many instances of bullying within university and college campuses. In fact, bullying may be more rampant after high school since the behavior rarely reverses itself in such a short span of time. Ms. Ikuko Aoyama, a doctoral candidate in educational psychology from Baylor University, presented her work on sex differences in cyberbullying at the American Educational Research Association in 2010. While presenting her research, she said, “ I don’t think many high-school students who experienced cyberbullying will suddenly change once they enter college, even though they may be more mature.”
University Bullying Policy lists Worldwide
In order to protect their students, many colleges and universities have specific policies regarding bullying. Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania defines bullying as, “unwelcome or unreasonable behavior that demeans, intimidates, or humiliates people either as individuals or as a group. Bullying behavior is often persistent and part of a pattern, but it can also occur as a single incident. It is usually carried out by an individual but can also be an aspect of group behavior.” Their university bullying policy also includes a detailed description of the procedures for reporting such an incident.
Before his untimely death, Senator Frank Lautenberg introduced a new bill to require colleges and universities to create policies against bullying. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2011 is named after Tyler Clementi, a college student who committed suicide after being harassed and bullied for being a part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community. Since 2011, the bill has yet to pass the senate.
The University of Birmingham in the UK also has its own university bullying policy that outlines a number of ways to address harassment. One section deals with the informal addressing of harassment. It suggests, “If a person believes they are being subjected to harassment there are a number of ways to deal with the matter quickly and effectively. An ‘informal approach’ can effectively address the unwanted behavior without recourse to formal procedures. Informal approaches can have the advantage of resolving the situation quickly and with minimal disruption to relationships.”
University Bullying Policy: Workplace Bullying in Universities
Unfortunately, it is not alway the students who are victims of bullying. Many lecturers and junior faculty are often the subject of workplace bullying on campus. People who work in academia are faced with tough competition for jobs; creating a volatile environment for those on the lower rung.
A study conducted by Times Higher Education found that bullying is prevalent within institutions and it mostly comes from middle management. This survey, titled THE Best University Workplace Survey, was done to discover how academics, support staff, and professionals all felt about working in UK higher education. About 100 comments in the survey mentioned institutionalized bullying or victimization of staff members within their universities.
Many victims of this kind of bullying are undefended by senior management and left to fend for themselves. In the end, many victims choose to leave their jobs in face of such circumstances.
Tips on How to Deal with Bullying in College
An institution’s university bullying policy is an important lifeline for those being harassed on campus. It is important for parents and students alike to be familiar with their college’s rules about bullying as well as the recommended procedures when handling such events. In some cases, a formal report to the university is required which would prompt an investigation into the allegations.
For those victimized by bullying on campus, it is important to seek immediate action. A formal report or complaint should be drafted immediately since no action can be done without it. Grave actions done against a student are usually sanctioned with severe penalties if proven to be true.
In cases where the incident is a minor one or there is no physical or emotional damage, an informal addressing may be best. This can be done to settle the matter quickly and discreetly without the need for formal investigations. Confronting the harasser in a neutral and safe environment is key. It is always best to try to resolve conflict peacefully before turning to university authorities.