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)

Saturday, February 26, 2011


A new website has been launched - "Unileaks" - described as a "copycat for academe" of Wikileaks.  It is Australia-based - see this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education


or have a look at the website if you are interested.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Survey on Bullying at the University of Newcastle

We have had a survey respondent who is keen for his/her voice to be heard and doubts that we would report this.

Well, here goes.  In general terms (to maintain confidentiality), they want us to know that they have worked in many organisations/companies and have found that the University of Newcastle is the fairest place they have worked.

Thank you for the time you took to add your view.  You may be somewhat confused by the survey - we are not trying to find out how many people have or have not been bullied.  We obviously know and understand that the majority of staff and students have not been bullied.  We are concerned about those who have and our survey aims to find out details of the bullying they have suffered. 

To clarify this,
-If you want to know how patients consider their treatment in hospital, you will NOT gather information from people who have NOT been in that hospital.
-If you want to know what people feel about a highway going through Merewether, you are NOT going to gather information from every person in the entire Hunter region.
-If you want to know what people enjoy about hot air ballooning, you are NOT going to survey people who have NEVER been in a hot air balloon.

So thank you for responding to our survey.  Your views have been noted here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Survey closing at the end of February 2011

The survey gathering information on bullying at the University of Newcastle is closing at the end of February 2011.  We will then be collating the responses.

Please let others who may have been affected know about this so that they can complete the survey (if they wish to). 

The more responses we have, the stronger is our case and the greater the possibility is of preventing other people suffering such destructive behaviour.

We thank all of you who have supported the website and responded to the survey.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The history of bullying at University of Newcastle

One of our anonymous contributors has initiated a discussion on the " "dubious" history of the UoN that have involved bullying as well as other.... techniques" and has asked for the opportunity to start compiling a list of these "long-suffering" souls.

On the right-hand side of the website, there are links to articles, book chapters and newspaper articles giving some information on the well-known reported cases.

So here goes ....

Michael Spautz (see John Biggs' insightful and detailed chapter and Brian Martin's report)

Don Parkes - Bayley-Jones (see the same chapter as above)

Michelle Adams (who courageously continues to fight for the truth) (see newspaper articles - mostly Newcastle Herald).

We are sure that there are others - please contribute to this list.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bullies being rewarded

Our latest website straw poll shows that 90% of respondents reported that the person who had bullied them was rewarded in some way by the university and 9% were not sure.  The number of people responding to the poll was relatively low (31); even so, this means that at least 28 bullies at the university were rewarded in some way.

As far as the nature of the rewards, what we know is that a number of these people have been rewarded by promotion, from associate professor to professor or from lecturer to senior lecturer.  As stated in a previous blog, rewarding bullies is one of the features of "predatory bullying" i.e. "Bullies protected and promoted, where abusive behaviour was both tolerated and rewarded within the organizational context.” (Hutchinson et al 2006, p 239).  According to Hutchinson et al (2006), when bullying is rewarded by promotion, the chance of the behaviour being accepted as ordinary and acceptable and becoming widespread within the organisation is increased. 

Also, maybe rewarding these bullies makes it clear to them that if they want to progress, they should continue this behaviour so that they remain part of the "in-group".  This may also mean that they will not be bullied themselves.

What do you think?