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Audrey Watters

Adding Your Name to a List

2 min read

A comment, left on Facebook, to a post urging professors to add their name to a Watchlist, created by a conservative website, of liberal professors to keep an eye on.

I feel like this is a terrible and dangerous idea, one that reflects a privilege that many scholars do not have.

Having your name and your work pointed out by conservative lists or stories means being doxxed. It means being threatened. Repeatedly. It means having your family threatened. Your parents threatened. Your children threatened. It means having your students threatened. It means having you school threatened. It means having your livelihood threatened. You are emailed constantly with death and rape threats. The phone rings off the hook. Your mailbox is filled with hate-filled letters and postcards.

I realize that the AAUP is supposed to stand up for faculty in these situations. But what really has it done? What has it done to protect adjuncts?

We have seen in recent years, conservatives targeting faculty of color. Particularly women of color. Many of these scholars' departments and schools have failed to back them loudly in public. People have lost their jobs. Most schools have absolutely no plan of how they'll respond to this. Most faculty have zero notion of solidarity.

Instead of adding yourself to a list in some feel-good gesture, gather your department together and come up with concrete steps of how to protect one another -- the most vulnerable among you, including grad students -- when a conservative site targets you. What will the department head or the president say to the media? How will school security respond? How will classes be handled? Who will answer your email? Are there options for counseling? Will academic freedom and research actually be protected?

This is no joking matter. It isn't a badge of honor to be on a list like this. It's a fucking nightmare.