Ban the bullies

March 14, 2003

Edinburgh University PhD student Brian Dempsey has no empathy for academics who encounter unacceptable student conduct (Letters, THES , March 7). This reminds me of the 1970s, when men who sexually assaulted women at work claimed they were "just having fun" and women were "oversensitive". But times have changed. Everyone deserves dignity and respect in the workplace. What is important is recognition of the ways in which harassment can occur - for instance when students bully lecturers.

Dempsey's remarks would be absurd if he had not insulted my informant ("Give me an A or you're dead", THES , February 28). Dempsey implies she could not discuss complaints rationally. My interviewee was subjected to a persistent campaign of allegations by a student desperate to get more marks than she deserved.

Every day since my THES article appeared, more people have been contacting me with horrific stories of unacceptable student conduct. They are delighted that this problem has been highlighted. The first step has been taken to make student harassment of academics unacceptable.

Deborah Lee
University of Derby

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