Minister of Education Anna Ekströmtalks in front of an aidience at a seminar
Minister of Education, Anna Ekström, says that she and the government take the issue very seriously and will follow it closely.
Photo: Ulrika Herstedt

Well-attended seminar on threats and harassment

On July 4, the interim report on threats and harassment against researchers and university teachers in Sweden was presented at a well-attended seminar in Visby. The seminar was opened by Minister of Education Anna Ekström, who emphasized the importance of researchers receiving support in participating in the public debate.

“I shudder when I see that so many are exposed to threats and harassment. The report shows that we need to do more for researchers who want to participate in the public debate. I and the government will follow the issue closely and I take the issue very seriously” Anna Ekström concluded.

David Brax, researcher and senior analyst at the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research at the University of Gothenburg, presented the interim report. The figures paint a picture of a serious situation, where four out of ten of the respondents were exposed to threats and harassment. Students and colleagues are the most common perpetrators.

A panel consisting of sector representatives Hans Adolfsson, vice chairman of SUHF and Vice-Chancellor at Umeå University, Kerstin Tham, Vice-Chancellor  at Malmö University, Sanna Wolk, union chairman SULF and Fredrik Bondestam, director of the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research, then discussed what can be done.

The panel agreed on that broad cooperation in the entire sector across is central. Support structures are needed and we all need to be better at supporting and preventing. Threats must not be silenced but should instead be lifted to the surface.

On the same day, the interim report was presented at another seminar, arranged by Malmö University. The seminar was broadcast live and is also (in Swedish) on the Almedal website afterwards.

In Sweden, exposure to hatred and threats has been studied in other occupational groups with exposure to the public (eg politicians, journalists and cultural workers), but this survey is the first of its kind on the exposure of researchers and university teachers. The study is a collaboration between SULF, The Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions, SUHF, and the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research at the University of Gothenburg. The interim repost is only available in Swedish.

Read more about the interim report

The live broadcast is available in Swedish at the Almedal website