Professor & Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology at Royal Roads University

Lola Olufemi and student/faculty social media harassment


Posted on October 26th, by George Veletsianos in learner experience, my research, networked scholars, NPS, open, scholarship. 2 comments

Below is a short interview with Lola Olufemi. The description from the BBC reads “Lola Olufemi is 21 years old and Cambridge University Students’ Union Women’s Officer. She found herself on the front page of a national newspaper, the face of a campaign to “decolonise” the English curriculum at Cambridge University. She discusses with Jenni Murray how she feels she’s been scapegoated by the media and her fears for the impact this could have on other young, black women wanting to speak out.”

I was watching this unfold yesterday, and witnessed the racist and misogynistic tweets fly by. One of which came from a professor at a well-known unversity, and as I responded at the time, what sort of academic responds in such a vile way to a person, let alone a student. As was shared on Twitter the institution has policies processes to deal with the harassing faculty member, but the questions that have been preoccupying my thinking over the last few months is the following: In what ways should our universities respond to the harassment that their students and faculty receive online, and on social media in particular? What are the institutional and individual responsibilities when we encourage students and faculty to be present on social media?





2 thoughts on “Lola Olufemi and student/faculty social media harassment

  1. Hi George,
    I’m glad you are drawing attention to the very disturbing incident involving Lola Olufemi: https://twitter.com/Cambridge_Uni/status/923131611109044224 & https://twitter.com/CUSUWO/status/923470391686909952.
    The question you go on to pose about how universities should respond to the harassment that their students and faculty receive on social media, resonates closely with the PhD I have begun this month, entitled ‘How can educators safely participate in social media?’ https://netsafely.wordpress.com/. I’m also aware that @MarkCarrigan is interested in the same subject, see https://twitter.com/mark_carrigan/status/922108339810701312, so it seems at least a few of us are thinking along similar lines.

    • Thanks for responding, Tony!
      Abslutely. See also chapter 6 (networks of tension and conflict) and chapter 8 (networks of inequity) in my book Networked Scholars. We have written one paper that is currently under review on this topic, and we have recently been awarded a grant to examine social media harassment of women scholars in more detail. We are hoping to have something more on this very soon. Good luck with your PhD!

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