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)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How would management at the University of Newcastle cope?

2 comments:
"Workplace bullying is a severe denial of one's dignity, an offense that tramples over livelihood and personhood." (Yamada)

"..we are talking about a form of interpersonal abuse" (Yamada)

  • What would senior management at the University of Newcastle do if they were bullied at work?
  • How would senior management at the University of Newcastle cope if they were bulied at work?
  • What would senior management at the University of Newcastle do if they were ostracised from their work and their colleagues and others they have collaborated with?
  • What would the senior management at the University of Newcastle do if they were suddenly without a job?
  • How would the senior management at the University of Newcastle manage their depression and suicidal feelings?
  • How would the senior management at the University of Newcastle cope with losing friends and family relationships?

Can the senior management at the University of Newcastle look at themselves in the mirror and have a clear conscience about what has been done to so many of us?

Monday, March 2, 2015

How do you solve an organisation's problems?

2 comments:

An organisation has a management issue with the harassment and victimisation of whistleblowers.
 What do you do to solve the issue?

The University of Newcastle 's way to deal with such issues is to

-  get rid of whistleblowers
-  gag whistleblowers
-  ignore senior management who use terms like "toxic" and "victimisation" to describe the University
-  get your lawyers to shut down a Youtube clip about bullying at the University of Newcastle.

This anti-bullying group's attempts to deal with these issues has been to

-  gather information from past and current staff and students as to the nature of their treatment (195 respondents).
-  raise these issues with management at the University of Newcastle
-  ask for a meeting with Caroline McMillen, VC of the University.

Anyone raising the issue of bullying has been criticised by Caroline McMillen for 
 "trashing one’s colleague from the comfort of one’s sofa on the pretence that anonymity is somehow a necessary protection."
On the basis of this, Caroline McMillen refused to meet our group, stating that it was her own policy not to meet with anonymous people - despite us giving her our names and despite her responding to us by name.

Good management skills?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Work performance management.... or is it bullying?

1 comment:
Comments on this website and that of the Newcastle Herald show that some people feel that the behaviour labelled as "bullying" is part of the normal process of work performance management.

So what do you think?
Is this work performance management?
Is this bullying?

Comments by respondents to our survey of bullying at the University of Newcastle:-

  • forced to sign on documents without giving chance to read. Swearing at me and hit me when I denied to sign the document without reading. 
  • The program convenor had a complaint made against her and she told other staff that it was me. Things got really bad from this point.
  • Being forced to perform tasks outside of current job description with no negotiation, expected to work longer hours ie work 8hrs but only paid 7hrs, must share diary with supervisor & note where I am at all times
  • I have had my job threatened all year - told if I do not work all public holidays and some weekends which required then I will lose my job. ALso feeling intimidated so that I can not take a lunch break without feeling as if this is doing something wrong, punished for taking annual leave. Been told by my manager that she hates me and I want to complain but I am too scared to do so.
  • "don't try getting another job at the Uni - you won't while I am here"
  • Being lied to. Having items stolen from my desk drawers.
  • 1. Having my funding threatened, being threatened with explusion
  • 2. Taking credit for ideas or work I had done. Sending me to meetings with insufficient information.Preventing me from using initiative - bully felt professionally threatened
  • 3. Being dismissed from a position on unfair grounds.
  • 4. Suggestions (by deans, DVCs, HOS etc) that family members (1 student, 1 academic) at the Uni would have degree/career interfered with if I persisted in my complaints.
  • 5. Railroaded in conversations to the point of intimidation. Having an 'answer' for everything, including outright lies to undermine my reputation.
  • Threatened that I might lose my job. The bully made it clear that she was responsible for my appointment and that she could influence whether it continued or not.
 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

No prizes for guessing who got this lecturing position!

No comments:

Recruiting a lecturer at the University of Newcastle?  - this is how it is done.

University of Newcastle policy on "serious and substantial waste" includes "staff being remunerated for skills that they do not have, but are required to have under the terms or conditions of their employment".

ESSENTIAL CRITERIA
Person interviewed for position
University of Newcastle Whistleblower
PhD
No PhD but may intend to enrol.
PhD from a university usually ranked in the top 10 Universities in the world
Eligibility for practising membership of (professional body) and involvement in relevant professional bodies and networks.
Yes
Yes
A track record of research excellence demonstrated through scholarly publications in highly ranked journals.
No publications

Substantial record of scholarly publications both as a sole author and as a team member.
Demonstrated potential for success in competitive grant acquisition.
No grant applications
Substantial record of competitive grant applications, including an NHMRC post-doctoral fellowship
Proven ability to deliver high quality, innovative teaching and effective course administration.
No teaching or course administration experience
Experience of delivering high quality teaching and course coordination in most of the subjects taught in the speech pathology degree.  Teaching experience in Australia and internationally.
Knowledge of contemporary issues, policies, practices and debates in the discipline.
Possibly
Yes
Capacity to successfully supervise research higher degree candidates
Unable to supervise higher degree candidates as she does not have a higher degree herself.
Proven record of supervision of Honours, Masters and PhD students.
Capacity to make contributions to administrative leadership at School, Faculty, or University level. 
Possibly with experience
Record of experience of contributing to administrative leadership at all levels.
Demonstrated ability to work in a collaborative team. 
Probably
Yes

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tony Abbott learns what to do from the University of Newcastle

No comments:
Tony Abbott's reaction to the most comprehensive report conducted into children in detention was

Firstly, to bury it for as long as possible

Secondly, to ACCUSE "the Human Rights Commission of being blatantly partisan and saying it should be ashamed of itself. This is a direct attack on the professionalism, competence and impartiality of the commission president, Gillian Triggs, a lawyer of 46 years experience".

We conducted a survey of the bullying experiences of now over 195 individuals (staff and students) at the University of Newcastle.

University of Newcastle management have

Add caption
Firstly, tried to stop us from gathering information and from supporting other victims (getting Google to block our YouTube video clip, stopping us from putting up posters at the University of Newcastle, threatening to call in the Federal Police to investigate us, etc.).  The University has stated that this blog "contains material that may be considered offensive and contains information that may be misleading".

Secondly, to deny that bullying and harassment is an issue at the University (as reported in the Newcastle Herald and on the University of Newcastle's website).

Thirdly, to refuse to meet us to discuss the findings of our survey so that steps can be taken to improve the situation.  We have been told by the Vice-Chancellor that she does not meet "anonymous people", DESPITE THE FACT THAT WE GAVE HER OUR NAMES!

So, when news is bad, shoot the messenger who brought you the news!  

How well Tony Abbott has learned from the University of Newcastle.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Corporate psychopaths - no comment needed!

No comments:
"Do you work with someone who has a glib and superficial charm, but who is also a manipulative and pathological liar with a complete lack of remorse or guilt?

In this timeless 2005 story from ABC TV's Catalyst program, reporter Jonica Newby examines the phenomenon of the corporate psychopath — a character-type which seems to be prospering in these days of short-term goals and high-staff turnover.

Corporate psychopaths lack empathy, but can succeed in job interviews because they come across as very confident, full of self esteem and with no doubts and no hesitations.

It's not until much later, often after they've climbed their way into positions of power, that the telltale symptoms of broken promises, occasional fraud and an inability to retain good staff expose their destructive impact. " (ABC Health)

View ABC video here.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

IMPRISONED BY THE US GOVERNMENT OR SILENCED AND VICTIMISED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE?

No comments:
It is great news that the CIA whistleblower, John Kiriakou, has now been released from prison.  He was a CIA analyst and blew the whistle on the agency’s use of waterboarding and was subsequently locked up for 30 months.

The recent release of the report of CIA torture has demonstrated that what he reported was true and he feels vindicated.

He also points out the irony that he, as a whistleblower, was  charged and imprisoned whilst the people who carried out the torture remain free.  He says "that there is no prosecution of CIA officers who obviously violated the law; those CIA officers who were conducting interrogations in which prisoners were killed. I have no idea why there is no outrage, and why those officers are not being prosecuted."

Kiriakou's case highlights the issues for whistleblower - whether they are taken to court by a government or silenced in other ways by companies and organisations.

Kiriakou said that he did not set out to be a whistleblower  "No whistleblower really sets out to be a whistleblower. I saw a policy that I believed was not just wrong, but was criminal, and I decided to speak about it."
THOSE OF US AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE WHO REPORTED WRONGDOING AND MISCONDUCT DID NOT REPORT IT JUST BECAUSE IT WAS WRONG BUT ALSO BECAUSE UNIVERSITY POLICY DIRECTED US TO REPORT MISCONDUCT/ WRONGDOING.

Kiriakou has spent almost three years in prison, away from his family.
THOSE OF US BULLIED OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE HAVE SUFFERED HUGE FAMILY AND RELATIONSHIP ISSUES, AS WELL AS THE LOSS OF FRIENDS/COLLEAGUES.

Kiriakou and his family have suffered financially but have been supported by donations.
THOSE OF US BULLIED OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE HAVE SUFFERED FINANCIALLY - VERY FEW HAVE MANAGED TO GET BACK INTO THE WORKFORCE AND MANY OF US HAVE HIGH MEDICAL BILLS.

Kiriakou says "I have been overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from average Americans across the country".
THOSE OF US BULLIED OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE HAVE HAD NO SUPPORT - IN FACT THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE HAS OCCURRED.  WE HAVE BEEN IGNORED AND OSTRACISED BY THE UNIVERSITY, PREVIOUS COLLEAGUES AND THE WIDER ACADEMIC COMMUNITY.

Kiriakou had the opportunity to present his case in court.
THOSE OF US BULLIED OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE HAVE NEVER HAD THAT OPPORTUNITY - WE ARE SILENCED.  OUR COMPLAINTS ARE KNOCKED BACK AND MANY HAVE BEEN 'GAGGED' BY THE UNIVERSITY - THEY HAVE BEEN PAID BY THE UNIVERSITY NOT TO DISCUSS WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM.

Kiriakou says that none of those responsible for the torture have been charged/punished.
THOSE OF US BULLIED OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE FOR WHISTLEBLOWING HAVE SEEN THE ACADEMICS WHO COMMITTED THE WRONGDOING OR WHO COVERED-UP THE MISCONDUCT NOT BEING HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR BEHAVIOUR - IN ADDITION, MANY OF THOSE ACADEMICS HAVE BEEN REWARDED WITH PROMOTION.

We are in no way attempting to minimise or dismiss Kiriakou's experiences which must have been overwhelmingly difficult for him and his young family.

WE ARE JUST TRYING TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE WAY THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE HAS TREATED THOSE OF US WHO WERE WHISTLEBLOWERS HAS HAD  DIRE CONSEQUENCES FOR US AS INDIVIDUALS, OUR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS, OUR WORK AND OUR CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIETY.