Threat taken seriously

August 22, 2003

According to Lawrence Cohen ("How to make a campus a safer haven", THES , August 15), Natfhe believes that research carried out for the Nuffield Foundation "exaggerate(s) the threat of violence facing academics".

This is surprising given that Natfhe has previously been quoted in The THES as welcoming the publication of the research as a valuable contribution to the debate on the need to provide a safe working environment for our members.

We do not believe that the research exaggerates the risk faced by our members, and we congratulate Deborah Lee of Derby University and the Nuffield Foundation for highlighting the need for all higher education institutions to provide a secure and safe working environment.

Many of our members continue to experience threatening behaviour and harassment from a small number of students. Much more needs to be done by employers to ensure that academic staff are able to work without the fear of threats, violence or intimidation.

Andy Pike
National official, higher education

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