APSCUF’s February 2018 legislative assembly approved the following statement about the threat of targeted harassment of faculty members:
Whereas, new efforts by private groups to monitor the conduct of faculty members pose a real threat to academic freedom;
Whereas, some websites now specifically identify faculty members they claim discriminate against conservative students and enable would-be stalkers and cyberbullies to target those faculty members;
Whereas, individual students have named individual faculty members on Reddit and other forums that instigate cyberbullying and other forms of harassment, including threats to physical safety;
Whereas, the targeted harassment of faculty members because of what they publish or say in the classroom or online is an emerging threat to academic freedom;
Whereas, the targeted harassment of faculty members is intended to silence and intimidate the targeted, and can also result in the self-censorship of other faculty members;
Whereas, the targeted harassment of faculty members can discourage the discussion of controversial topics in the classroom, limit research in some disciplines, and prevent faculty members from discussing matters of public concern;
Whereas, academic freedom must include the freedom of faculty members to speak as citizens;
Whereas, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) does not dispute the First Amendment rights of organizations or individuals to express opinions, nor does it advocate government censorship or sanction against them;
Whereas, APSCUF fully endorses the efforts of the American Association of University Professors to protect faculty members who are the subject of targeted harassment and promote awareness of this problem;
And whereas, faculty members who have been the victim of targeted harassment are encouraged to report such harassment to APSCUF;
Be it resolved, that APSCUF strongly condemns efforts to intimidate or silence faculty members, and APSCUF urges Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education and its universities to defend academic freedom by condemning the targeted harassment of faculty members and defending those faculty members who have been or will be targeted;
Be it further resolved, that APSCUF requests Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education and its universities work with APSCUF to enforce laws and create regulations that prohibit the surreptitious recording of classroom discourse or of private meetings between students and faculty members.
Be it further resolved that the State APSCUF president share this resolution with the chancellor and Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, and that APSCUF chapter presidents share this resolution with university presidents, and that APSCUF continue to advocate for System and university policies that address the targeted harassment of faculty members.