Bullying at the University of Newcastle (Australia)

We are working to highlight and stop academic workplace bullying at the University of Newcastle, Australia. We are a group of staff and students who have been bullied for speaking out about misconduct.

Help make a difference –

*answer our survey,

*contribute to the blog, or

*contact us.

This will help us gather as much information as possible so that we can put an end to this bullying with its’ decades-long history.

“Systemic bullying, hazing and abuse generally are identified with poor, weak or toxic organizational cultures. Cultures that are toxic have stated ethical values that are espoused but not employed, and other non-ethical values which are operational, dominant, but unstated.

Such cultures thrive when good people are silent, silenced, or pushed out; when bad apples are vocal, retained, promoted, and empowered; and when the neutral majority remain silent in order to survive. Those who are most successful in such a toxic culture are those who have adapted to it, or adopted it as their own”. (McKay, Arnold, Fratzl & Thomas, 2008)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

At least the University of Newcastle is consistent!

“The University of Newcastle, ...... faced many difficulties, and instead of admitting there were problems and endeavouring to correct them, generated poor public relations by appearing to refuse to admit that any problem existed, “ Biggs 2002

University of Newcastle rides high in the rankings

The rates of workplace bullying in Australia are amongst the highest in the world (ABC news)

The University of Newcastle wants to ride high in rankings compared to the rest of the world - it certainly rides high in the workplace bullying rankings in Australia and would probably rank high in the workplace bullying rankings of the world.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

University of Newcastle still searching for a Chief Information Officer!

The University of Newcastle is once again searching for a Chief Information Officer - in the last two years, the turnover in this position has been rapid with Mark Pigot only staying for three months last year.  Why did he not stay?  Was there bullying? 

This issue has been previously discussed on this website.

Now the position is being advertised again -

As we stated before, is there an issue moving the University up the rankings from near 300th place to being a "world leader"?

Or is the issue related to the leadership of the University as per the job advert?
"Under the leadership of the Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Caroline McMillen, the University of Newcastle is embarking on an ambitious new strategic plan, NeW Directions 2013-2015. Delivery of the goals and targets in this plan will require an outstanding leadership team."

Is it normal for Chief Information Officers to appear and disappear so frequently ?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Yes, we do need whistleblowers!

"The reality is that all organisations hate having their inner workings exposed, the more so if it incurs collective odium and risks jobs. The wagons gather into a circle to defend a wounded superior. The gossip-mongers get to work on the whistleblower's reputation. Why could he not just live and let live? What is the harm in a bit of misconduct?

More to the point, whistleblowers are rarely club players. They are usually driven to break ranks through a sense of moral outrage that eludes their colleagues, despite knowing that it will probably bring pain and ostracism. It is thus easy for the organisation to dismiss them as weird, as grasses, snitches, friends of any enemy, even if the enemy is the public interest."
"I see whistleblowers as strange, brave and necessary mavericks. I realise why any organisation spits them out like poison. They break the glue of discipline, the bond of faith between individuals that is required for any joint enterprise. They threaten the institution in claiming to decide for themselves what should be the boundary between confidence and disclosure.

Yet as organisations and, above all, government get ever more powerful, making them account for their activities becomes ever harder. All dealings between individuals require a degree of confidentiality, but, especially in public bodies, the line between secrecy and transparency must be patrolled. If it cannot be patrolled from outside – if misconduct is rife – the last resort is from within. That requires exceptional protection which few at present seem to get." (full report)

Those of us who have been harassed, victimised and bullied out of our jobs at the University of Newcastle spoke out (but within the University) about misconduct - usually University academic staff misconduct. 

Universities are publicly funded -
-   Do you as taxpayers want your hard-earned money supporting academics who behave unethically?
-   Would taxpayers prefer us to keep quiet about what we saw and experienced, and just kept quiet and  joined in with the misconduct and unethical behaviour?
-   Do you want your money used by the university to pay for legal fees to defend these unethical academics?
-   Do you want your money used by the University to pay and gag whistleblowers so that their voices cannot be heard?
-  Do you want your money spent on educating students to a high level?
- Do you prefer your money to be spent on huge salaries for senior management ($800,000)?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Guilty of discrimination?

In beyondblue's latest survey, they found that

"one in four people still think people with depression are dangerous to others."

As a result of vicimisation and harassment at the University of Newcastle, there are many of us who  suffer from depression (as well as other psychological disorders such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder).

Are we dangerous?

The University of Newcastle has treated us as dangerous by physically removing us from our offices, physically and psychologically isolating us, stopping us from entering buildings and even our own offices, preventing us from speaking by gagging us, preventing us continuing to work, stopping us putting up posters, trying to censor our blog, restricting our movements, not responding to our emails, refusing to meet us, etc etc etc.

According to beyondblue, considering depressed people as a danger to others
"feeds into discriminatory attitudes and the stigma associated with depression, which often stops people getting the help they need,'' 
So is the University of Newcastle (which loudly and extensively promotes a respectful workplace) guilty of "discrimination"?

Monday, March 24, 2014


"In 2010 I submitted a Workers Compensation Sick certificate stating my illness was a result of workplace bullying, harassment and victimization. ........

In 2012 the Workers Compensation Commission (WCC) determined that my psychological injury was permanent and caused entirely by the bullying and workplace harassment I had experienced from the University of XXXXXXX.  I was awarded compensation. Days latter the University of XXXXXXX released a statement to the XXXXXXX Herald, denying that it was liable for my injury. My experience is that the University of  XXXXXXX can do or say anything it wants. In my case I observed the University of XXXXXX provide knowingly incorrect and often contradictory information to different legal jurisdictions (NSW Police, Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) and Workers Compensation Commission (WCC)), the Australian Human Rights Commission, the NSW Ombudsman, Employer Choice of Women Committee, medical practitioners, and the press. I have also observed how senior management protects select individuals in the organization by not only failing to follow policy and by corruption of policy process, but also through the use of University funded legal assistance." (emphasis added).(Parliamentary Workplace Bullying Inquiry - Website)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Soft marking at the University of Newcastle?

"THERE is no evidence some universities are softer markers or have lower academic standards than others, according to a four-year study across 11 universities. 
The Office of Teaching and Learning project, headed by Kerri-Lee Krause from the University of Western Sydney, found no patterns in assessment outcomes and learning standards across universities or disciplines."

Meanwhile at the University of Newcastle.........................

“Soft marking” by XXXXXX  - students were given additional marks solely based on making an inquiry about an assignment/exam, not on the merits of their inquiry/complaint or what their query actually was."

"Also “soft marking” by casual staff – markers and clinical educators stated and continue to state that they know that Speech Pathology does not want students to fail so they adjust the marks accordingly. I have been told as recently as mid-2009 by a casual marker that “soft marking” continues to be commonplace and that she had no problem with that."