I have been in the field of Classics for over 20 years as both a faculty member and an administrator and, as a result, have had broad experiences with issues associated with harassment. Harassment is a broad umbrella that includes not only sexual harassment and bullying, but what have been called “micro-aggressions”, defined as “brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership” (Sue 2010, xvi). Micro-aggressions cause work-related stresses that over time can impact one’s ability to function in the workplace. Beyond micro-aggressions creating repeated tensions and stress, harassment can be physical and is always psychological. The ubiquitous presence of others through email, social media, and other forms of electronic access makes for a challenging and ever-evolving workplace. Many of our universities have faced Title IX investigations, and this can impact the way faculty conduct their jobs as well.
Whether it is bullying or harassment between faculty (junior, adjunct, senior), or with administrators, staff, or students, the academic workplace is one where explicit hierarchies are often in tension with assumptions of equality and collegiality that hide implicit hierarchies. It is not always easy to see the truth of harassment situations, and universities are often concerned not only with the well-being of the individuals involved, but also with the reputation of the college. My contribution to the panel will be to provide insights into the myriad manifestations of harassment and their impact from the perspective of a university administrator.
Harassment and Academia: Old Battles and New Frontiers