Solidarity and Support for Our Faculty
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
As we begin the spring semester, I share a message of solidarity and support. You may be aware that in recent weeks, a few of our faculty were targeted by social media campaigns that seized on incidents in their classrooms and twisted them into polarizing headlines designed to sensationalize, stoke anger, and drive website traffic. As a result, our colleagues have been on the receiving end of vitriolic posts/emails, harassment, and even threats of physical violence. This is disheartening to say the least, and I write today to assure you of my and the university’s unwavering support for those faculty who have been attacked in this way.
Increasingly, higher education has become a battleground for those who see our academic freedom and unfettered pursuit of scholarship and inquiry as a threat to their identity. These disturbing developments must never be permitted to distract nor prevent you from providing a world-class education to our students. I strongly affirm the university’s support for our faculty and your right to develop your own classroom curricula and pedagogical approaches, to conduct your research, and to pursue your creative endeavors.
The university is working diligently to intercept inappropriate emails and monitor threatening social posts, and track and respond to media coverage. LMU Campus Safety Services conducts extensive investigations and engages law enforcement agencies when appropriate. Our social media and PR teams in MarComm will continue to provide support and guidance to faculty who face challenges on social platforms, in the news media, and in the public sphere. I thank these colleagues and our community members who have offered these supports, as well as those among the faculty, our department chairs, our deans and dean’s offices, and within other areas who tirelessly provide assistance to our affected faculty.
In the coming weeks, I will be convening a working group to discuss these issues and collaborate to develop policy, provide guidance, and ensure proactive support for our faculty. I will continue to share more information about these efforts.
Thomas Poon, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost
Professor of Chemistry