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.

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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, July 22, 2014

Uni apologising???

The University of Newcastle has apparently apologised to the thousands of students whose details were published online.

"Deputy Vice-Chancellor Andrew Parfitt says the incident was caused by a configuration error with one of its servers."

Better late than never .... it happened 18 months ago.

 "We certainly know the configuration error occurred about 18 months ago and we realise that's quite unacceptable.

How much longer do we need to wait for the University of Newcastle to apologise for the breaches of privacy against many of us whose reputations have been purposely and calculatingly destroyed by academic staff spreading rumours about us?

It is so easy to apologise to students whose privacy has been breached by a "configuration error".

What about academic staff whose privacy has been breached by other academic staff - senior lecturers, professors, lecturers from the Faculties of Education and Arts, Science and IT etc etc?
Would that mean that the Uni would have to actually deal with the harassment, victimisation and bullying from senior academic staff?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Smoking ban versus bullying ban?

The University of Newcastle is moving towards a total smoking ban. 

What would save more money and benefit more people - a smoking ban versus a bullying ban/

Smoking results in increased medical costs - usually after people have been smoking for many years and would therefore not be so much of a burden to the University itself.

In contrast, bullying results in
  • increased medical costs (blood pressure, migraines, insomnia etc), 
  • family and relationship breakdown (and associated costs)
  • depression (and associated costs).
  • unemployment ( and associated costs and the loss of expertise and experience).
  • paying employees to silence and gag them so they don't speak about the bullying they suffered. ($250,000 to 400,000 each)
BUT University of Newcastle is very skilled in bullying people out of their jobs and destroying them and putting the medical, health and other costs firmly on to the person who has already suffered from bullying.

So why should we be excited about a smoking ban - people who smoke have a choice - those of us bullied out ot the university of Newcastle and whose lives have been destroyed HAD NO CHOICE.  Silly us, we were following university policy.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lots of noise about not tolerating workplace bullying

"While all universities make a great deal of noise about their intolerance of work place bullying, in the final analysis, there is little in the way of protection when academic staff are on the toe of the management boot. The dictatorial approach has made it all but impossible to hold a dissenting opinion and universities are much the poorer because of this."
Australian Universities: A portrait of decline:  Donald Meyers (2012)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Wasting taxpayers' money

"Seventy of the UK’s universities spent a total of nearly £19 million over four years on settling employment disputes, with a lawyer warning that higher education was spending more than employers in many other sectors in defending claims." THE

This included the cost of Human Resources personnel, internal legal staff and employing external lawyers.

One university (Cranfield University) paid out the largest total amount over the four years: £1.44 million.

We know that the University of Newcastle has a large internal legal unit to deal with employee disputes.  We also know that the University employs barristers, external lawyers and "independent" investigators to defend the university against disputes including complaints about bullying and gagging/silencing clauses.  There is also the cost of additional Human Resources staff, a complaints department and numerous marketing and public relations staff to promote the various anti-bullying programs that the University rolls out.

How much public money has the University of Newcastle spent in defending its staff at all costs against claims? 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thorough and independent investigation needed

"There needs to be a thorough and independant investigation of all departments at Newcastle Uni . A family member of mine worked at the University for years, employed as a casual but with a workload far beyond anything expected of tenured staff. For years he was routinely bullied until finally he had a complete breakdown. He is now receiving ongoing counselling and he and his family are trying to move on after the devastation" (Comment - Newcastle Herald website).

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Concerned with the quality of education students are getting?

"I have seriously considered killing myself since I was bullied out of my work here for FOLLOWING policy and being concerned for the quality of education that the students were getting. Even after three years, the thought of ending it all is ever-present. I have done my best to keep my huge stress and despair quiet as I know that any sign of that is often used by the bullies and their friends as a means of getting rid of you or as a reason for your "mad" behaviour. My friends have "gone missing", family is close to breaking up, all other work disappears and previous close colleagues suddenly no longer know you...... This is what happens when you dare to speak out for the truth at this university, when you try to act for the benefit of students and your discipline and when you are not obsessed with POWER and your journey to the top." (website comment).

Monday, May 26, 2014


"Ostracism is just one of the many forms of bullying, it is also the most debilitating malevolent practice by bullies in their desire to eliminate a person from the workplace. To be shunned and treated like an outcast as though you have committed some unforgiveable crime strips away your self esteem, and breaks your heart and soul. 

I can forgive them for the many of the horrendous things that they did to me, but the wound of being ostracised by my colleagues and staff in my discipline, School, Faculty and eventually the University will stay with me for the rest of my life"
  (victim of bullying at the University of Newcastle).