NOT FAR ENOUGH: HOW WORKPLACE HARASSMENT POLICIES FAIL TO PROTECT SCHOLARS FROM ONLINE ABUSE
Keywords:online abuse and harassment, networked scholarship, public scholarship, workplace policy, digital policy
Over the last decade online spaces and digital tools have become a central part of scholarly work and research mobilization (Carrigan, 2016). However, the integration and reliance on these technologies into scholars’ work lives have heightened their online visibility, which has opened the door to new experiences of online abuse. Previous research shows that online abuse has negative impacts on scholars’ work, and that they are left to deal with the consequences of online abuse primarily on their own, with little support from their institution (Authors, 2018a; 2018b). Given the importance of online spaces/tools in scholars' lives and the detrimental impacts of harassment, colleges and universities must recognize the risks associated with online visibility and have policies in place that address those risks. In this paper we analyze 41 workplace policies that deal with harassment and discrimination from Canadian Universities and Colleges to understand what these institutions propose to do about online abuse. We use Bacchi’s (2012) ‘What’s the problem represented to be?’ (WPR) approach. This approach encourages examination of the assumptions and conceptual logics within the framing of a problem in order to understand implicit problem representations. Early analysis identified two problems common across the 41 policies that limit their ability to offer protection and/or support in many cases of online abuse: the first limitation focuses on who the policies apply to, and the second on where the policies apply.