A particular individual whom I've only had contact with via e-mail is angry that they didn't get to participate in an experiment I ran (yes, just that fact makes me glad I didn't choose them). I tried telling them that the experiment is over and not to contact me again but that simply made them even more aggressive; Taking a cue from stalker victims, I have since then been ignoring their e-mails, but they continue to become even more aggressive.

In my original e-mail contact with them, my signature had my physical address in it, and based on their previous behavior, I'm concerned that they may attempt to come to the department and cause mischief or possibly (in the worst case) even commit criminal acts. Unfortunately, I do not even have the person's name because they never wrote it in their e-mails, so I don't have much to go by even if I try to contact the police.

I have informed my supervisor of the issue, and he has not told me what to do: He merely explained the two possibilities (responding or ignoring) and the possible outcomes of each. I do not want to be responsible for any craziness which happens; What do I do?

I am particularly concerned because there is hardly any concept of security at the department at all. In fact, It's already the case that things get stolen from the department every once and a while.

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    "so I don't have much to go by even if I try to contact the police": The police has means to investigate, even if the only thing you have is an email address. If you think that you're being stalked and you fear that this person could commit a criminal act, go to the police. Jul 8, 2017 at 12:52
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    Contacting the police is a good idea if the person makes threats, if only for establishing a paper trail that could help if that person decides to accuse you of anything . But I wouldn't expect them to actively take any protective measures given just a history of anonymous emails. Jul 8, 2017 at 15:00
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    "I do not want to be responsible for any craziness which happens" No matter what happens, you are not responsible for it, the other person is. Jul 8, 2017 at 15:06
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    The police may be able to find the person based on the email address. Jul 8, 2017 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


How about:

I have told you not to contact me on this matter. If I receive any more threatening emails I will go to the police.

The best case scenario is they stop after receiving some form of the above. Depending on exactly how alarming the emails are, you could also go to the police now, as well as taking it up with someone else in the University -- check your university's grievance procedure and support services. While your supervisor was unhelpful, there should always be some way to escalate or someone else to ask. You can talk to your fellow students and researchers, people you trust, to find someone who is supportive and helpful. Try to get a restraining order against this person.

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