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, October 11, 2016

Sexual assaults and the University of Newcastle

"THE largest ever Freedom of Information investigation into reports of rape, attempted rape, and other sexual misconduct at Australian universities shows most victims have been wasting their breath reporting their abuse.
Only a tiny fraction of reported incidents in the last five years have resulted in any serious disciplinary action against offenders." (news.com)

"the universities themselves admit that the overwhelming majority of students who have experienced rape or harassment never report to their institution, meaning the figures uncovered by the FOI represent just the tip of the iceberg".

University of Newcastle: 14 reported cases, 2 suspensions, 2 expulsions noted

"(due to under-reporting, figures are not indicative of the actual rate of sexual assault, harassment or misconduct, and that higher report rates may reflect better reporting mechanisms. Therefore these results are primarily useful for understanding the proportion of disciplinary actions that were taken in relation to formally reported incidents in the last five years. These figures have been provided courtesy of Channel 7. Lack of disciplinary action may be the result of an inability to substantiate a complaint, or some other cause)." (news.com)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Academic to appeal commission's ruling - University of Newcastle

The Newcastle Herald reports the following:-

A former University of Newcastle academic who repeatedly swore during a lecture will appeal against a Fair Work Commission ruling to uphold the University’s right to sack him. Dr Colin Wilks was dismissed on Oct 26 last year for, among other things, saying ‘f…’ on several occasions during a lecture dealing with mental health issues on August 1 2014. He appealed the [university's] decision to sack him, however, the Commissioner found he had failed to meet the standards he was required to meet in his dealings with staff and students.

Dr Wilks, who had taught at the university since 1992, said he had been bullied by several staff members after he aired concerns relating to the introduction of a Theology Degree.

This, he said, had a significant impact on his mental health.

He said he was appealing the decision because, among other things, he did not believe the Commissioner adequately considered the circumstances that led-up to his outburst.

"This case has always been about bullying" Dr Wilks said.

“I only did the things I did because I was under extreme pressure"

A student who attended the August 2014 lecture complained to the university that she had been distressed by Dr Wilks’s conduct and by the view he put forward about mental health.

While Dr Wilks acknowledged that he swore he said the the [student who complained] "did not say anything about the fact I had sworn" and had misunderstood the point he was making about mental health.

“What she interpreted me as saying is that people who are mentally ill choose to be mentally ill, but that was certainly not what I meant” he said"

There is a Facebook page which has been set up to support Dr Wilks:-

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"Be nice"

Google has finally concluded that the key to good teamwork is "being nice".

"the best teams respect one another’s emotions and are mindful that all members should contribute to the conversation equally. It has less to do with who is in a team, and more with how a team’s members interact with one another." (Aamna Moden, Quartz)

Just think how different the workplace at the University of Newcastle would be if there was just a little respect, inclusiveness and fairness!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Victim of the University of Newcastle "fighting for their lives" in hospital

We have been alerted to the fact that

"One of the victims of Newcastle University is now fighting for their lives in hospital. 

I hope management are glad they have almost cost a decent person their life."

This is an extremely concerning and urgent matter.

From our survey of 195 staff/students of the University of Newcastle, 45 of them had considered or attempted suicide because of the bullying behaviour they had suffered at the university.  

Anyone with any information about this person and their situation is urgently asked to contact us at

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Last year, this year........


Last year, Caroline McMillen, VC of the University of Newcastle, was applying for jobs but with no success.
This year, Caroline McMillen, VC of the University of Newcastle, has signed up for another three and a half years, saying

That is exactly what I wanted. I have a clear sense that this is the right timing. Eight years in a leadership position is about right. That’s what all the literature says. Eight years is the right amount of time to make your mark,”

Previously, Caroline McMillen, VC of the University of Newcastle, refused to meet us to discuss the bullying and harassment at the uni because she has a "personal policy" (??) of not being in contact with anonymous people (while addressing us by name).

This year, will Caroline McMillen, VC of the University of Newcastle, agree to meet us to discuss the bullying situation at the university??

Monday, February 1, 2016

University of Newcastle riding high in the rankings

The University of Newcastle prides itself on being a

"Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation, acknowledging UON as a national role model for innovation and best practice on issues of workplace gender equality." (UoN website).

The University also loudly proclaims that it is in the top 3% of universities in the world (lying somewhere between 250th and 300th in the rankings).

THe University must therefore be thrilled with the latest rankings:  In the "Fastest Growing Sugar Baby Schools ranking, with the University of Sydney topping the list with 90 new members joining in past 12 months. The University of Newcastle was close behind with 85 sign-ups".

So what is this latest ranking?   This is the "Seeking arrangement" organisation for "young women and students who date older, rich men, known as “sugar daddies”, in return for lavish gifts and allowances".  “Young, educated and broke” Australian students are now “easing the burden with help from sugar daddies”.

One student in Perth received around $75,000 last year from her sugar daddy.  Seeking Arrangement says that their "arrangements" are an easy answer to crippling student debt.

In true gender equality style, the student from Perth"says it took a “couple of months” before they had sex". 

Will the University of Newcastle be adding this to their adverts and to their website


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and bullying

People who bully others have similar behaviours to people diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorders - they have
"difficulty recognizing the needs and feelings of others, and are dismissive, contemptuous and impatient when others share or discuss their concerns or problems. They are also oblivious to the hurtfulness of their behaviour or remarks, show an emotional coldness and a lack of reciprocal interest".

The DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder are:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, as indicated by at least five of:
1. a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement, ie unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative, ie takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes.
The survey of 195 individuals who described their bullying at the University of Newcastle have described similar behaviour from the staff that bullied them, especially those in higher levels of management at the University - the sense of self-importance, sense of entitlement, lacking empathy and unwilling to recognise the feelings and needs of others.  Lower levels of management can rely on the higher levels of management to destroy anyone who questions their grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement so that the status quo can be preserved.  Anyone (whistleblowers) questioning their superiority is removed, gagged and silenced.