Stand Against Targeted Threats and Harassment

We are dismayed that another faculty member, Johnny Eric Williams of Trinity College, has become the target of a flood of threats following reports about his social media postings by the right-wing media outlet Campus Reform. In this case, the college was shut down for a day so that law enforcement officials could investigate threats to the college and to the faculty member. This is the second time this month that an institution of higher education has had to close down in response to threats, disrupting education and creating an environment of fear on campus.

We condemn the practice, becoming all too common, of bombarding faculty members and institutions of higher education with threats. When one disagrees with statements made by others, threats of violence are not the appropriate response. Such threatening messages are likely to stifle free expression and cause faculty and others on campus to self-censor so as to avoid being subjected to similar treatment. Targeted online harassment is a threat to academic freedom.

We support and stand with our colleagues and campus communities whose academic freedom is threatened. The free exchange of ideas is incompatible with an atmosphere of fear.



Related statements and resources:

Resisting the Harassment of Faculty 

Recommendations on Targeted Online Harassment of Faculty 

1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure 

Publication Date: 
Thursday, June 22, 2017