This is in accordance with the updated threat management routines at the university. A new resource web page (uio.no – temporarily only in Norwegian) provides guidance to both employees and managers. The website also lists, among other things, various support services related to the Unit for HSE and emergency preparedness, the Occupational Health Service Unit, and the Department for organization and personnel.
– The web page also provides a form and a checklist that can help the person who has been exposed to threats and the immediate line manager to quickly get started with documentation and securing evidence. We will inform the organisation about the new website, so that everyone can familiarise themselves with it, says Svein Stølen, Rector at the University of Oslo.
– We are pleased to have this web page in place, and hope it can provide an increased sense of security to all our employees. Unfortunately, many of them experience threats and harassment in connection with their work at the university.
Challenged by the Centre for Research on Extremism
The work on the new routines started after the tenth anniversary of 22 July last year. At that time, some of UiO's researchers at C-REX - Centre for Research on Extremism experienced unpleasant inquiries.
– C-REX challenged us on whether our routines for handling threats and harassment were good enough, and we saw it as an opportunity to have a closer look at what was there and make updates, says Stølen.
– Threats against researchers are something managers in all parts of the sector must take seriously. Unfortunately, we cannot expect the problem to disappear, but we can ensure that researchers have as safe and good a framework for threat management around them as possible.
Concerned about freedom of expression and democracy
NRK recently asked 224 climate scientists at 15 different institutions (nrk.no – Norwegian only) across the country about threats and harassment in connection with the UN Climate Change Conference (CoP27). Of these, 35.3 percent responded that they have received unpleasant feedback after speaking out about climate research, and 31.3 percent responded that the feedback has caused them to feel uncomfortable about speaking out publicly.
– Freedom of expression must be protected. A vibrant democracy and well-functioning society depend on a lively public debate. When hate speech and threats cause participants to withdraw from politics and the public debate, the result is a slow undermining of democracy that gives cause for strong concern, says Stølen.