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)

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.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cheating, Plagiairism. Soft Marking, etc etc etc

The University of Newcastle has a long and impressive history of ethical misconduct by students AND ALSO by staff.  The Sydney Morning Herald reports that

"Senior academics have raised concerns cheating at major Australian universities may be easier than many supervisors realise."

Cheating is not an issue at the University of Newcastle - anyone who raises concerns about any form of cheating (particularly if it is staff cheating) are vaporised, removed, exterminated, destroyed, obliterated and eliminated!

You don't believe this?
Well this is what happens about the plagiarism and cheating by academic staff (yes, staff) and students at the University of Newcastle?
  • senior lecturer reported plagiarism "against two fellow academics" (lecturer subsequently gagged by the university.  Six years after she made it, her complaint was upheld.  However the University of Newcastle said the plagiarism was only 'minor' and the offender got nothing more than a slap on the wrist".
  • senior lecturer "supported a student in a plagiarism claim, this time against another student" (lecturer subsequently gagged by the university).
  • casual staff member recently "watched another casual be dismissed for uncovering student plagiarism and preventing a cover-up" (Bullying at the University of Newcastle survey)
  • "one former Newcastle academic at the rally said she had complained about plagiarism and been told to "shut up about it" " (Newcastle Herald)
  • academic told by other academic staff to "ignore student plagiarism in assignments" and also reported "soft marking" and lecturers and clinical educators "not failing anyone". (lecturer lost job at university).
  • Research of leading research recipient and senior academic was plagiarised by a professor at the University - senior academic left the University. Senior academic told he should feel honoured to be plagiarised by a professor.
  • "two academics from the Graduate School of Business are accused of not attributing a student's work in an application for a research grant" (Uni bullying survey)
  • "I initially reported what was a clear and simple case of student plagiarism but within a couple of days ... the victimisation started.  I was branded a trouble maker".(Uni bullying survey)
  • "Blowing the whistle on plagiarism has almost always been at the centre of this unacademic and unethical behaviour by administration, starting with the victimisation of Michael Spautz who discovered a colleague had plagiarised his doctoral thesis."(Martin's paper)
  • "Two of my fellow colleagues.. have been removed from teaching positions... The first was removed after reporting plagiarism from a student to the course co-cordinator, and then the head of school when nothing was done about it.  No action has been taken on the plagiarism, but the tutor was given a warning, and told they will not be invited to teach the course again." (bullying survey)
  • and more
  • and more.....
Gary Kennedy (previously of Trades Hall Council) stated that "I have no doubts the university has problems with bullying especially with sexual harassment and when people speak up about plagiarism". (Newcastle Herald)

What about the Bayley-Jones doctoral degree scandal - she was awarded a PhD despite the fact that she had already submitted the same work for a degree at a British university.  Her PhD has never been rescinded.  Read about this in Professor Don Parkes' book "Doctored" (available online).
Cheating at the University of Newcastle???
The senior management, human resources, complaints officers, etc have said NO!
As they say in Little Britain, "the computer says NO"!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"Kafka-esque"?? "Deep behind the iron curtain"?? Is that where the University of Newcastle is?

A recent article in The Conversation starts like this...

"Imagine being dismissed from your job without being told of the reasons why and without being provided with any evidence of wrongdoing. This Kafka-esque scenario feels like a tale from decades ago and deep behind the iron curtain – but it is happening in Britain, right now. In fact, it is happening more and more."

Why is the writer surprised?  It has happened (and probably still does) at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Relating to such cases in Britain, The Conversation says that this raises

"issues of principles of fundamental concerns such as the right to a fair hearing provided under the European Convention of Human Rights, and equal treatment directives under EU law.  Numerous legal challenges have been raised."

Meanwhile back in Australia and especially Newcastle, "Unlike most similar liberal democracies, Australia has no Bill of Rights to protect human rights" (AHRC).  

Those of us who have lost our jobs at the University of Newcastle and have never been provided with reasons have no recourse to a Bill of Rights.  Recourse to the University's extensive library of policies is no help either - as long as the policy exists, no action needs to be taken.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

University of Newcastle shamed yet again - this time by the police force

A former senior constable appeared on The 7.30 report (ABC) last night to talk about the bullying and harassment she suffered in the police force.

She said  "she was shunned by many co-workers, one of whom spread false rumours about her having a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and warned others not to touch her belongings.
"I had left my wallet at work and I had a person go into the station to collect it," she said.
"In the foyer of the station, the bullying member said that I had four-five sexual partners on the go and that I potentially had STDs and that she would not go and get the wallet personally because she didn't know what she would catch."
She also claims the individual offered to another person to "taser, baton or shoot" Ms Lewis". 

She also said
"It's really hard to set up a new life.
"I've lost everything as a consequence of this workplace bullying."

Her account of bullying is eerily similar to the descriptions of bullying described in a survey by students and staff at the University of Newcastle.

In a submission to the Parliamentary Workplace Bullying Inquiry, student and staff at the University of Newcastle have described the bullying that they suffered.  The most commonly experienced bullying behaviours were "opinions and views ignored, treated unfairly compared to others, being humiliated, undervalued or ridiculed, and exclusion and ostracism. "
"The least commonly occurring behaviours were actual physical violence (4%) and injury as a result of violence (6%); nonetheless this means that 8 and 12 individuals respectively experienced physical violence and/or incurred an injury as a result of violence."

Many respondents commented on how they had been publicly ridiculed and humiliated e.g. student’s work described as “garbage”, employees told that they were “hate(d)” by their managers or that the manager “liked tormenting me”. Homophobic comments about students were made by bullies in front of other students. "

 Nicki Lewis, the police constable, added that she had considered committing suicide.

Similarly, respondents to our survey stated that the bullying behaviour had made 45 of them consider or attempt suicide.  They also reported suffering from depression, sleep problems, anxiety disorders, etc.

Nicki Lewis is one person who has come forward to share her experiences - the police have conducted an investigation into the bullying that female police have experienced.

What about the University of Newcastle?  No, it continues to ride high in the rankings of NOT INVESTIGATING THE BULLYING, HARASSMENT AND OSTRACISM that takes, and has taken, place at that institution.

The University of Newcastle World Rankings: Number 1 in the world for ostrich-like behaviour regarding bullying and harassment.

Image result for ostrich in the sand


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Is everyone laughing at the University of Newcastle's safety alert about texting while walking?

TWO, yes TWO, staff members have been injured when texting and walking.

"Reactions from staff - who obviously have the brains to work at a university, much less operate a phone while in motion - have been 100% predictable."

This "safety alert" has been reported widely throughout the world. 
  • University of Newcastle staff have been left puzzled by a "safety alert" not to text and walk (MANY NEWSPAPERS AND NEWS OUTLETS e.g. Sydney Morning Herald, Newsunited, Newsinformer, Newcastle Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times, Daily Mail UK, Daily Telegraph).
  • Newcastle University staff can't text without falling over.  (Gizmodo).
  •  University of Newcastle issues safety alert over dangers of texting while walking (Reddit) - "Makes me proud to be going to such a prestigious University when they release a safety alert like this, without even a hint of satire..." (Comment to Reddit).
  • Don't text & walk warns Newcastle University (Triple J)
  • Running With Scissors, 2.0: Uni Warns Staff Against Texting & Walking (Pedestrian) Mobile phones weren't named that for nothin'. Being able to go for a wander while messaging your mates is essentially a mandatory life skill in 2015, but the safety-minded folk at the University of Newcastle have deemed it fit to warn staff via email about the ~ v. dangerous ~ practice.
  • .Multiple University staff injure themselves due to texting and walking (Tweaktown - North America)
Nearly 200 staff and students describe their bullying at the University.
45 have attempted or considered suicide.

The University of Newcastle's  spin machine swings into action yet again.

Oh and be careful of bark and leaves on the path (according to the Uni's safety alert) 
That should be easy - according to the University's website,
"There are approximately 2,000,000 trees on our beautiful bushland campus!"

Image result for university of newcastle campus

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Priorities, priorities, priorities!

Nearly 200 respondents to our survey have reported and described the bullying they have suffered at the University of Newcastle.

"Bullying was described as “extreme and unrelenting”, “appalling, devastating, shocking” and “offensive and embarrassing”.  Respondents reported that bullying often resulted in sleep problems, depression, headaches and constant tiredness, as well as digestive disorders.  Of concern is the fact that 23.1% (i.e. 45 respondents) had attempted or considered suicide. A high number (40 respondents) had increased their alcohol and smoking intake; furthermore 42 suffered from hypertension and palpitations."

"Actual physical violence, although rare, was experienced by eight people and 12 incurred an injury as a result of violence. "

As a RESPONSIBLE EMPLOYER what does the University of Newcastle focus on?

TEXTING WHILE WALKING - no this is not April Fools Day.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald
"Associate director of health and safety Dr Maggie Goldie said two staff members had been hurt in "self-declared" text-walking accidents, and there were a handful of other suspected cases".
Image result for walking while texting  is worse than Image result for suicide
 So what does the University advise staff and student to do?
"Many of us are working on bushland campuses that have a number of hazards that we need to be conscious of such as leaf matter on paths, walking on uneven ground, other pedestrians including people on pushbikes and skateboards. We request that staff refrain from checking their emails and texting people on their smart phones while walking around campus so that they concentrate on getting to their destination safely."  Also contact the Injury Hotline, notify your supervisor and log an online incident report.

The usual University of Newcastle behaviour - when there is a real but difficult issue to deal with, do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to hide it - then focus on something utterly ridiculous like texting while walking. Alison Ferguson