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President’s Message: Working Together to Stop Workplace Bullying

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Dear University Community--

A distressingly high percentage of Americans face bullying in the workplace, and in recent months a number of employee groups within CSU have raised concerns about this.  I believe it is something we all need to take seriously if we are to sustain, and build upon, the strong sense of community we enjoy at Humboldt State.

Today, in recognition of Anti-Bullying Day, I encourage you to educate yourself about the issue.  It is important to be able to effectively monitor our own behavior, recognize issues or signs of distress, and provide general guidance for those in need of assistance.

Bullying in the workplace is indeed pervasive.  According to a national survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute in 2014, fully 27% of American adults have experienced “repeated abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, humiliating, work sabotage or work abuse.”  Including witnesses, the survey found that nearly half of the workforce has been affected.  Other research has produced similar results.

The impacts are serious and can be long-lasting.  The effects of being bullied at work include stress-related diseases and health complications, depression, anxiety, lost work opportunities, and harm to family relationships.  Those who bully others are impacted as well, with, among other things, increased risk of substance abuse and violent behavior.  Organizations marked by bullying are dysfunctional, making them much less effective and productive.

Here at Humboldt State, workplace bullying could reduce the quality of education we offer and our ability to help our students succeed.  HSU is a place where we care too deeply about our mission, and about one another, to allow workplace bullying to occur unchallenged.  We need to do all we can to ensure we have a healthy workplace and strong community, one that values the contributions of all of our employees.

Many online resources are available related to workplace bullying, including information from the American Psychological Association here and from the Workplace Bullying Institute here. A good resource about various other types of bullying, created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is here.

If you need guidance dealing with bullying personally or in your area, please contact Human Resources at 826-3626. Counseling relating to bullying or other issues is available through the Employee Assistance Program, which may be reached at 443-7358.

With appreciation and best wishes,

Lisa A. Rossbacher, Ph.D.


Humboldt State University