Guide for Managing Harassment

Updated: Feb. 15, 2024

Social media can be an excellent tool for sharing information and opinions. However, there are instances where students, faculty and staff may become targets for online harassment, intimidation, even threats.

The following is a list of tips and resources available to the U-M community in the event they are experiencing harassment, threats or intimidation.

University resources

  Remember that safety is the #1 priority

The Division of Public Safety and Security can help assess the situation and ensure that support and investigative action can begin immediately. In any situation that involves concerns for physical safety or immediate danger, call 911 or DPSS at 734-763-1131.

  Review digital presence

  Responding to media

The Office of Public Affairs can manage media requests, offer guidance and provide training for individuals who want to speak to reporters. To contact the Public Affairs team, call 734-936-5190 or email public.affairs@umich.edu.

  File a report

If the behavior is coming from a member outside of the U-M community, contact DPSS.

If the behavior is coming from a current U-M student, consider an initial consultation with the Office of Student Conflict Resolution.

Additionally, members of the University of Michigan (faculty, staff and students) may consider filing a complaint through the Office of Student Conflict Resolution under the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities. OSCR maintains privacy to the extent allowable by law, but is not a confidential reporting resource.

If the behavior is coming from a U-M employee and involves a protected-class (race, color, national origin, age, marital status, disability, religion, height, weight or veteran) status, file a complaint with the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office. Please note: ECRT is not a confidential reporting resource.

If the behavior is coming from a U-M employee but does not involve a protected class status, contact the appropriate unit level Human Resources office.

  Legal support

The level of legal support the university can provide varies based on context of the situation.

For example, if the targeting is based on U-M responsibilities, the Office of General Counsel may be able to offer legal support and advice. If the harassment involves litigation against a faculty member, the university’s defense and indemnification protections may apply; OCG will manage the legal defense.

If the targeting involves a person’s comments/viewpoints/actions as a private citizen, the university cannot provide direct legal support or representation. Individuals should consider outside legal counsel, as needed. The University of Michigan Legal Services Plan may serve as a potential resource.

  Mental health support

The following resources are available:

For faculty and staff
The Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office (FASCCO)

Michigan Medicine staff and faculty
Michigan Medicine Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilence (OCWR)

For students
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Uwill

Statement on doxxing

The university unequivocally condemns the deliberate harassment and targeting of members of our community by doxxing, a dangerous form of online intimidation, or any other violation of privacy.

Doxxing is the sharing of phone numbers, home addresses, identification numbers and other sensitive and previously private information, such as personal photos, that could make an individual identifiable and potentially exposed to further harassment, humiliation and real-life threats including stalking and unwanted encounters in-person.

The university will work directly with those within the community who are individually targeted to offer resources and support and assist in any way possible to address the harm. Those who experience incidents where they believe their safety has been affected are directed to contact DPSS to make a report. Reports of Campus Climate Concerns can be filed through the Dean of Students Office. If students, faculty or staff want to report incidents anonymously, they may file a Campus Climate Report through the Dean of Students Office.

Statement of support from U-M Provost

U-M provost Laurie McCauley has spoken out in support of faculty who become the target of harassment stating, “At the University of Michigan, we firmly uphold the principles that empower our faculty to freely conduct research, express their ideas, challenge prevailing notions, and engage in robust discourse without reprisal.

“In the performance of their academic duties, our faculty may incur criticism, from within the university community or outside it. This is intrinsic to all academic vocations. We recognize there is a crucial difference between robust, civil disagreement with a person’s ideas and harassment designed to make an individual feel unsafe or interfere with their ability to teach and conduct research.

“In addition to the harm that threats and harassment cause our faculty as individuals, such behavior, often deliberately, has the potential to compromise our academic mission. The University of Michigan is committed to offering the breadth of its resources and support to faculty experiencing threats and/or harassment.”

Laurie K. McCauley
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
William K. and Mary Anne Najjar Professor