The culture of disrespect

The growing concern of faculty mistreatment towards students in educational institutions
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Mutual respect and valuing each other is crucial for any healthy relationship, including the one between faculty and students. Here are a few reasons why:

·Students are the reason for the faculty's existence: The primary objective of the faculty is to educate students. Therefore, faculty must respect and value their students and prioritise their learning experience.

·It fosters a positive learning environment: When students feel respected and valued by their faculty, they are more likely to be engaged and participate actively in class. This results in a more positive and productive learning environment.

·It encourages trust and openness: Mutual respect and valuing each other's contributions help build trust between faculty and students. This trust encourages open communication, and seek help when needed, and providing faculty with feedback to improve their teaching methods.

·It promotes diversity and inclusivity: When faculty respect and value their students, regardless of their background or identity, it creates a more inclusive and diverse learning environment. This is crucial to promote equality and reduce bias in education.  Faculty must respect and value their students to create a positive, inclusive, and productive learning environment that promotes student success.

But unfortunately incidents of rude behaviour, harassment, and bullying by faculty members at educational institutions are becoming increasingly common.

Such behaviour can have a severe impact on students and can lead to long-term psychological trauma. The culture of disrespect and incivility in academic settings is a growing concern for students, faculty, and administrators alike.

According to recent studies, nearly half of all students report experiencing some form of mistreatment by faculty members. This includes verbal abuse, discrimination, harassment and punishments that are totally unlawful.

These incidents of mistreatment often go unreported, as students fear retaliation, stigma, or dismissal of their complaints. In some cases, the students are blamed for the behaviour of the faculty members, and their complaints are ignored.

The impact of such incidents on students can be significant. It can lead to a decline in academic performance, absenteeism, anxiety, and depression. In addition, such behaviour can have far-reaching consequences for the institution as a whole. It can lead to a loss of trust among students, faculty, and the community.

It can also lead to legal action and damage to the reputation of the institution. Students who experience mistreatment may lose confidence in their ability to learn and succeed, and may become disillusioned with the institution as a whole.

It creates a culture of fear and silence, where students are afraid to speak out against mistreatment or seek support. This can perpetuate the cycle of mistreatment and prevent students from accessing the resources and support they need to recover from the trauma of mistreatment.

It is, therefore, crucial for educational institutions to take proactive measures to prevent and address such incidents of mistreatment.

This includes creating a safe and inclusive learning environment, implementing policies and procedures to prevent harassment and bullying, and providing resources and support for students who experience mistreatment.

Faculty members should be trained to recognise and address the potential for mistreatment, and to provide support to students who are affected.

Students should be encouraged to report any incidents of mistreatment, and their complaints should be taken seriously. Institutions should also provide students with resources and support to help them cope with the trauma of mistreatment.

This can include counselling services, peer support groups, and access to legal resources.

It is also important for institutions to create a reporting system that is easily accessible and safe for students to use. This can include an anonymous reporting system, a dedicated reporting line, or a designated point of contact within the institution. Students should be informed of the reporting system and how to use it, and they should be assured that their complaints will be taken seriously and addressed appropriately.

Finally, institutions should conduct regular assessments of the campus climate to identify areas of concern and implement strategies to address them. This can involve collecting feedback from students, faculty, and staff, and using this feedback to inform policy and practice.

In conclusion, the growing culture of disrespect and incivility in academic settings is a significant concern. Students who experience mistreatment by faculty members can suffer long-term psychological trauma, and institutions can suffer reputational damage.

It is essential for educational institutions to take proactive measures to prevent and address such incidents, and to provide support and resources for affected students. Only by working together can we create a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students.

Farheen Saba, Research Scholar, Aquatic Toxicology MANUU Hyderabad & SKUAST-K.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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