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CSU launches new policy to protect against bullying in the workplace

Bullying has been and always will be a problem, but it’s unfortunate that mature adults still have to act against issues of bullying and harassment in the workplace, said Pamela Bishop, social work instructor at Colorado State University.

CSU recently implemented a bullying policy dedicated to creating an environment that promotes working and learning in a way that respects the staff, faculty and students of the University community.

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The policy defines bullying as any “harmful, mistreatment by words or actions that are intended to shame, embarrass, humiliate, degrade, demean, intimidate, and/or threaten an individual or group.”

Bob Schur, executive director of the Department of Policy, Risk and Environmental Programs at CSU, wrote in an email to the Collegian that “there was no single impetus for an anti-bullying policy at CSU, many universities in recent years have started to implement similar policies as a reevaluation of behavior in the workplace and standard codes of conduct.”

The campus climate survey showed that in the past year, one in five of the respondents had experienced some sort of discrimination or harassment in the workplace.

The policy intentionally defined bullying in a clear manner, so as to not attack normal or expected behaviors in the work place as being unfriendly, Schur said.

Lauren Hawes, a first year business student, said it is important to protect staff and administration just like students are protected.

“Looking at the whole picture, if my professors are feeling harmed or unsafe, it can have an effect on how they are teaching us,” Hawes said.

In a SOURCE release, Mary Stromberger, a professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and head of the Faculty Council, said: “Faculty and all employees deserve to work in an environment free from bullying … this policy will help protect faculty from harmful behaviors that hurt our well-being, while still protecting our rights to academic freedom.”

According to the 2014 workplace bullying survey, 30 percent of people have experienced some sort of workplace harassment, and 70 percent of those accused deny those behaviors.

On the other hand, Bishop is concerned by the lack of confidentiality mentioned within this policy.

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“I would like to assume that things will stay confidential, but it is important to note that if a victim reports acts of bullying or workplace harassment, retaliation may occur,” she said.

The campus climate survey states that 28 percent of the respondents reported a fear in negative consequences if they were to report an issue in the workplace.

Bishop also said that employees and staff should be mandated to record incidents of workplace harassment or bullying in order to give the victims a stronger argument.

“Without some sort of proof or record, it could just be the word of the victim against that of the bully, and that’s not always so convincing,” Bishop said.

The campus community as a whole played a significant role in creating this policy, Schur noted. They outreached to many organizations on campus and made sure that that they got the result of community collaboration he said.

“This campus should be a safe and healthy environment for everyone,” Hawes said.

Collegian Reporter Israa Eldeiry can be reached at news@collegian.com or via Twitter @israaeldeiry.

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