Crisis of Complicity?

December 13, 2017

Each year, selects one impactful word that represents the world, “for better or for worse.” For 2017, the word is “complicit”:


Complicit means “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having partnership or involvement in wrongdoing.” Or, put simply, it means being, at some level, responsible for something . . . even if indirectly. says that on March 12, 2017, there was an increase of 10,000% of searches for the definition of “complicit.” Why? It was the day after the Saturday Night Live satirical ad in which Scarlett Johansson played Ivanka Trump.


National Public Radio and the New York Times have excellent takes on “complicit” as 2017’s word of the year. Neither, however, address higher education – an environment in which we know it is an issue. So I ask you, ProF readers: is there a crisis of complicity on your campus? If so, what are the implications? Why do we allow bad behavior to continue? How can we affect change?

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