Bullying in Universities and Colleges

Bullying in Universities and Colleges

Individuals at the college and university level are considered an elite group in which society places its hope in. The community considers them well educated and respectable individuals who will help develop the nation and bring new opportunities to other people. It has placed its faith on these people as it feels they are hardworking and determined to acquire more knowledge and experience in their preferred careers. Nonetheless, among these individuals, is a group of individuals who end up disappointing society’s expectations. In many cases, they do not live up the community’s expectations due to drug abuse, peer influence, among other bad behaviors. One of these actions is bullying at the university level. This paper seeks to evaluate this topic by conducting a literature review and identifying the opinions held by different individuals regarding the topic. Bullying is the infliction of physical or emotional torment with the aim of attaining satisfaction from the perpetrator. The inflictor is usually a person in power both at the physical or authoritative level who uses his or her influence to make others suffer, to please him or herself. In most cases, bullying occurs at the primary and secondary levels of education where students use their power to torment others. These students are usually from rich families or bigger and stronger compared to their victims. In recent years, this trend has been passed on to the university level of education with many students being accused of tormenting their colleagues. Moreover, lecturers have also engaged in this vice to get what they want and extort students. However, what is the cause of these acts and how can they be stopped. This article seeks to give a literature review of bullying in universities and give solutions to these troubles.

According to (Hannah and Marsh, 3) the prevalence of bullying in universities has continued to increase in the last five years. Based on their research, more than 300 academics were accused of university bullying. These included laboratory directors, professors, and fellow students. At the university level, it is hard to understand how bullying takes place. All individuals are educated and have the necessary knowledge to know that bullying is wrong. Based on (Hannah and Marsh, 4), former university students complained of how attempts were made to sabotage their careers, received oppression to deliver better results, and Human Resource departments that were focused more on retaining university’s reputation, rather than their education. In supposing these claims, the Royal Society President, Professor Venki Ramakrishnan stated that corruption was very much engraved in workplaces, and investigations in different departments like the education sector should be done to investigate and eradicate this oppression in education sectors. According to Venki, different departments like sports and the film industry and filled with bullying. The goal here is to cope with competition or show dominance in this field. In campuses, it is no different both students and supervisors who are bullies want to show off their dominance to the colleagues and also use this opportunity to obtain privileges. It is important that solutions are found to this issue. It is essential to note that teaching staff and school administrations can also bully students. For instance, a professor may coarse a student to bribe them by force to give good grades. These bribes may be in the form of money or even sex. Until recent years, bullying was associated with teaching staff. However, as times progressed student have also engaged in this vice and caused many damages

According to on (Hannah and Marsh, 7) different academic figures have called for an end to the secrecy behind bullying in universities. For instance, Professor Donald Athene of the Churchill College, in Cambridge states that this oppression has caused many individuals not to fulfil their potential due to the bullying they face in institutions of higher learning. The effect caused by this low exploration of potential not only negatively affects the victims, but the society as well. There are reduced levels of development resulting in low innovativeness in the community. According to (Chula and Chris, 258), bullying of adults by other adults continues to increase in different fronts. The authors suggest that institutions of learning, workplaces, and family settings are major places where oppression takes place. They attribute this behavior to perceive psychological tendencies like Machiavellianism and narcissism. These characteristics depict an abusive person who is condescending and likes to be in control. (Chula and Chris, 260) show different empirical evidences that show how bullying continues to increase in various settings. Family members like step brothers have been seen to abuse their little siblings and other kin due to their physicality of influence. Machiavellianism is a character trait that depicts one’s desire to satisfy their interest and will do this at any cost, even at the expense of others. These desires may not always be achieved, and coercion is needed.  Professors may threaten female or male students to have sex with them or else they will tamper with their grades. On the other hand, narcissism is a disorder that enhances the sense of self-importance in individuals. Just like Machiavellianism, narcissists will do anything to achieve the objectives. (Chula and Chris, 265), are convinced that bullying at university levels can be attributed to the desire to fulfil individual feelings at the expense of others feelings and wants.

A survey conducted by (MacDonald et al.) sought to examine the prevalence of cyberbullying among college and university students where a total of 439 learners were part of the study.  According to the results, 8.6% of these individuals were cyberbullying their colleagues in school. Additionally, 38% and 21.9% of these individuals either knew someone or had experienced cyberbullying while in school. Based on these statistics, (MacDonald et al., 453) concluded that technology had enhanced the rates of bullying in schools. Through the internet, students and teachers obtain information that individuals would not want others to find about. Using this data, they are coursed and give in as they have no choice. Moreover, electronic devices can be used to blackmail their colleagues and teachers. Based on research by (Okwemba, 45), bullying in Kenya is higher compared to other places in the world. He is convinced that bullying will never stop unless solutions are discussed. Those oppressed become oppressors and the trend continues as the time progresses. From high school, these behaviors may be passed on to university, and eventually in workplaces. These behaviors may cause low grades and eventual failure in important tests. Moreover, productivity at work may be reduced, causing companies not to achieve their goals. The African Mental Health Foundation is convinced that solutions to bullying must start at an early stage to ensure the trend is slowly killed off. In Kenya, Universities experience a lot of bullying. Many reasons contribute to bullying, like fighting over girls, showing off, or rip them of particular belongings.

According to research carried out by (Perry and Sarai, 342), different organisations that seek to stop bullying, only concentrate on the primary and secondary levels of education. No emphasis has been put on identifying and solving bullying that occurs in higher education centres. Based on the questionnaire method used, 64% of the students who responded had seen bullying take place in their schools. Of these, 27.5% were directly involved in the act like victims. Moreover, the study identified that verbal oppression was the most prevalent form of harassment in higher schools. It is good to note that males and females can both be victims and oppressors. The character of an individual is the determining factor in how he or she behaves towards others. According to (Rudick and Dannels, 530), punishing bullies is not an amicable solution to harassment in educational centres. For instance, suspending or expelling a student for harassing others may not be a solution, as they are likely to act in the same way even outside school. Moreover, they may take more extreme measures to ensure their victims feel the full extent of their wrath. (Rudick and Dannels, 531), suggest the adoption of other ways like advising the perpetrators and victims know the effects of bullying and how they can best deal with these problems.

(Rudick and Dannels, 531) conducted a survey on bullying in Taiwan. The study showed that levels of victimisation in schools are highly prevalent. Moreover, it also showed that special students were not exempted from these evil acts. Individuals take advantage of their condition to harm, thereby ridiculing and belittling them. (Sinkkonen et al., 155) conducted empirical research in Finland. In the study, 2805 students participated, where 27% of these individuals agreed to either experience or witness bullying taking place. Additionally, it also notes that the victims responded to their oppressors in an active or passive basis. For the latter, they gave in and accepted to be victimized and let the bullies have their way. This form of response resulted in low grades among the victims, reduced esteem, and finally depression. For those who respond actively, fights may ensue, leading to injuries to both parties. In severe instances, Death has been the final result as individuals tried to defend themselves their oppressors.

It is clear that the problem of bullying continues to increase in learning institutions. Recently, bullying has found its way to institutions of higher learning like colleges and universities. Different researches conducted show that this problem is being addressed at primary and secondary levels of learning. Nonetheless, no approaches have been made to solve the issue on campuses. Both students and the teaching staff engage in this vice, with the former being the victim. Passive response to victimisation causes reduced self-esteem and low grades. In other cases, those oppressed adopt the same methodology and start victimising others. Research shows that Machiavellianism and narcissism could also contribute to the increased prevalence of bullying in universities. It is, however, important to find better solutions to bullying than just punishing. This will ensure that the behaviour is reduced not only in learning institutions but also in workplaces.