U-M launches faculty survey on threats and harassment

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The University of Michigan is seeking input from Ann Arbor campus faculty members in a confidential, online survey to gauge experiences with threats or harassment related to their academic work, teaching or research.

The survey — led by the Office of the Provost — launched May 13 and is part of the university’s broader commitment to better understand and address growing concerns and experiences of harassment, threats and intimidation among U-M faculty.

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In a May 10 email to nearly 9,000 faculty members on the Ann Arbor campus, Provost Laurie McCauley strongly encouraged them to participate in the survey and reaffirmed her commitment to gather input about the scope and severity of concerns among those who become the target of harassment.

The email echoed the statement of support for faculty that McCauley issued at the Feb. 15 Board of Regents meeting.

“At the University of Michigan, we firmly uphold the principles that empower our faculty to freely conduct research, express their ideas, challenge prevailing notions and engage in robust discourse without reprisal,” McCauley said at the meeting.

“In the performance of their academic duties, our faculty may incur criticism from within the university community or outside it. This is intrinsic to all academic vocations. We recognize there is a crucial difference between robust, civil disagreement with a person’s ideas and harassment designed to make an individual feel unsafe or interfere with their ability to teach and conduct research.”

Faculty being surveyed include those on tenure, clinical and research tracks, lecturers, librarians, archivists and curators, and postdoctoral research fellows.

They will receive an emailed link from the Provost’s Office with the subject line, “U-M Faculty Threats and Harassment Survey.” The survey will take respondents approximately 10 minutes to complete and will remain open until 5 p.m. June 7.

Responses will be confidential and authentication with a U-M login is required.

The survey will attempt to capture the prevalence of the problem and will be used to inform additional support for faculty. 

It is the result of recommendations by a working group of faculty and staff members brought together by the Office of Public Affairs to review existing resources and identify possible improvements.

Resources also have been posted on the university’s Public Affairs website, and include mental health, media relations, legal and technology support. ​​Anyone seeking additional assistance can email FacultySupport@umich.edu.

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