In looking at a Chronicle of Higher Education discussion of the Huntville tragedy, I discovered a URL for a site about mobbing, with lots of interesting articles.
Have you ever seen a flock of birds turn on one of its own? Apparently that’s the source of a common label for a sort of group bullying that can go on in academia and elsewhere. It’s Mobbing. In its full-fledged form, it involves a wide-range of harrassing behaviors, including very explicit public rudeness, negative letter-writing, refusal of ordinary requests, denial of standard opportunities, and so on.
One site takes Ward Churchill to be one of mobbing’s victim, as did the jury, apparently:
Colorado professor wins wrongful-termination suit
Ward Churchill’s ‘little Eichmanns’ reference to victims of 9/11 started a storm that led to his firing.
April 03, 2009|DeeDee Correll,BOULDER, COLO. — The University of Colorado professor who likened 9/11 victims to a Nazi leader was fired in retaliation for his controversial remarks, a Denver jury ruled Thursday.
Jurors in the wrongful-termination lawsuit filed by Ward L. Churchill agreed with the embattled professor’s contention that he was the victim of a “howling mob,” not the perpetrator of academic misconduct.
It’s effects can be severe, and include post-traumatic stress disorder. One letter writer to CHE raised the question of whether the Huntsville perpetrator had been the victim of mobbing. We certainly don’t know now, but it is a reasonable question, I should think.
I’m afraid that the recurring standard advice I keep seeing is to leave, to get out. It really is toxic. Of course, that’s the sort of situation where one might be tempted to say “But if you go, then they win.” But the point is that it is already a lose-lose situation, though the target may be the only one to realize it. Other advice includes staying away from it as much as possible.
Here’s a useful set of links to sites on mobbing, including school bullying. Some of these are meant to help victims, while others are about the research being done on the phenomenon. Since legal issues can be involved, there are links to sites in several different English speaking countries.