Penn State forming faculty safety committee, after threatening messages
Penn State is forming a faculty safety committee to look at ways to address faculty safety both inside the classroom and out, following incidents of faculty receiving threatening messages earlier this year.
Kathy Bieschke, vice provost for faculty affairs, said her office is pulling together a faculty safety committee that will build on previous work. The topic came up at a September Faculty Senate meeting.
“It’s not just in regard to the classroom, but also in regard to the other issues that have come up in terms of emails faculty have received," Bieschke said. "We’ve also gotten questions about other things we could do to enhance faculty safety that we’re going to explore in that committee.”
The topics of college students' changing mental health needs and the impact that can have on faculty came up during the Penn State Faculty Senate meeting Tuesday.
Faculty Senator Annie Taylor asked about the status of the faculty safety committee, saying online faculty have encountered what she said were "rare" situations that have left them fearful.
“They are fearful that even though it’s an online course students might not live that far away, might find them at home, might find them on campus," Taylor said. "I have heard stories like this more recently in our on-campus situations.”
In July, some Penn State faculty received racist and threatening emails. Those were turned over to the police.