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COLUMBUS, Ga. — Research by Frank Mixon, professor of economics in Columbus State University’s Turner College of Business, was used in the creation of a new California law that protects students against bullying and mobbing, a group form of bullying.
The law mandates that universities and colleges in the California State University and University of California systems adopt and publish policies on harassment, intimidation and bullying in the rules and regulations governing student behavior, which, at a minimum, includes each campus’ website and any printed materials concerning student behavior.
By publishing policies on bullying, the California legislature is expecting they can be more easily practiced.
“This law will help if the policies that are published are followed,” said Mixon.
Mixon’s study, “An Economic Model of Workplace Mobbing in Academe,” published in 2012 in Economics of Education Review, examined the presence and implications of mobbing against a university professor by university administration. He used differential game theory to develop an economic model that predicts whether or not, or under what conditions, a faculty member might be forced to resign.
Mixon’s own experiences as a victim of mobbing at a former institution motivated the study, which he authored with João Ricardo Faria of the University of Texas at El Paso and Sean P. Salter of Middle Tennessee State University. After exposing a controversial administrative action, Mixon was saddled with an overly burdensome course schedule that included unnecessary travel to a campus more than 70 miles away. He was able to leave the institution quickly thanks to a curriculum vitae packed with current research that improved his career mobility. Others are not so lucky.
While Mixon’s research dealt exclusively with administration-on-faculty or faculty-on-faculty mobbing, his model can be easily adapted to understand student-on-student mobbing. His study was listed as a resource used to draft the California bill in 2015. The law (CA Educ Code § 66302) was approved last year, effective Jan. 1, 2017.
Mixon is the director of the Center for Economic Education at CSU. He was recently recognized during CSU’s 2017 Faculty & Staff Recognition and Excellence Awards ceremony as the winner of CSU’s Teaching Excellence Award.