College campuses, including graduate schools need tougher anti-harassment policies

Colleges have strengthened their harassment policies but often do not enforce them. Harassment needs to be defined and clarified and policies need to be clear. Students should have a comfortable way to report bullying they witness. Those that file reports should not be further harassed nor should there be retaliation. These policies need to be in writing and all parties need to read and sign. This should include academic bullying that is beyond the expected competition between students.

Back when I was in college, both undergrad and grad schools, no such policies existed or they were written but never heeded.

In undergrad at Bennington in 1981, a professor took me aside and needled me badly. I believe alcohol was a factor (his). I was shocked to see him acting the way he was. I had no recourse.

Emerson profs were good to me, but I did notice favoritism during the time I was there. I was never on the receiving end of the negative favoritism. Some profs made disparaging comments about the other students in my presence. I never realized just how wrong that was.

Graduate school had a Student Handbook. I doubt most students even read it. We were busy. Early in 2005 I was bullied and called a “fat pig” by other graduate students. I even reported this. Nothing was done.

I noticed a few students were dropping out. I asked them why and mostly I heard stuff like “I will never go back there.” I didn’t find out why. I transferred to the other campus and went on with my studies. We were very chummy for sure.

All that chumminess ended when grad school ended. They were cruel to me on Facebook. Finally I got a cruel email from my advisor. I went to the dean. Nothing happened.

I ask why these policies are there to begin with if they are not followed nor enforced, and regularly broken.

I am happy that my current workplace makes you READ and sign their harassment policies. Most don’t even realize…These policies are there to protect us all.

Feedback and comments welcome!