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The World’s First Global Initiative against Bullying in the Academic Community

One of the main goals of THINK Academia is to spread awareness on what academic bullying looks like

Cactus Communications (CACTUS), a science communications and technology company, launched “THINK Academia,” an initiative that envisions a global academic culture that is free from all forms of bullying. THINK stands for Thoughtful, Humane, Inclusive, Nurturing, and Kind­—all the qualities that CACTUS believes are necessary to create a better, safer, and more welcoming work environment for researchers globally.

Commenting on this initiative, Abhishek Goel, CEO & Co-founder, CACTUS said, “The CACTUS Mental Health Survey was only the beginning of our quest to support researchers and the academic community. Over the past few years, a growing body of evidence has pointed to an alarming incidence of bullying within academia and academic institutions. To address this issue and bring it to the fore, CACTUS is launching the THINK Academia initiative. We believe that the vast majority of researchers are willing to declare their support for best practices and also fully inform themselves on what constitutes academic bullying. THINK Academia will work towards creating a better academia—one where bullying is no longer ignored.”

In 2020, the CACTUS Mental Health Survey—with over 13,000 responses from researchers globally—found that over one-third (37 percent) of survey respondents had experienced some form of bullying or discrimination at the workplace. Also, nearly 40 percent of respondents indicated that their organizations lacked stringent policies to avert or act against such hostile behaviors in the workplace. The data further showed that bullying is one of the major factors negatively affecting the mental health and well-being of researchers.

One of the main goals of THINK Academia is to spread awareness on what academic bullying looks like, including certain acts and behaviors that might be subtle, non-verbal, and invisible. We are encouraging researchers and academics to embody more positive behavior, to lead with kindness and empathy in their interactions, and to be more mindful of their actions and behavior. CACTUS is also urging academic institutions to create safer channels of communication and to implement policies that prioritize their people’s safety, health, and holistic well-being.

This initiative is calling several stakeholders within academia, including individual researchers and academics, universities, research institutions, academic societies, research-related organizations, and others, to sign the THINK Academia pledge and join us in our mission towards creating a global academic culture that is free from bullying.

- This press release was originally published on the Cactus Communications website