Supportive response

May 21, 2004

It is distressing to read of the unsupportive responses received by academics after "physical attacks, stalking and heckling by students" ("Female staff face abuse", May 7).

I am happy to report that such management inertia is not universal. I was repeatedly threatened by a student and, on one occasion, physically attacked. Within minutes, a student welfare officer and security guard arrived at the classroom to mediate.

When the aggressive behaviour escalated, I was provided with security guards. Ultimately, I was allowed to work from home. The response from staff and other students was supportive of my need to work in a safe environment and the student's need to address their difficulties. There was no hint of blame or dramatisation. Unfortunately, the student in question eventually had to be excluded.

Your article also suggests that this is exclusively a gender issue, but the student in this case was female and her next target was male.

Kate Crosby

School of Oriental and African Studies, London

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