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)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Policy on bullying and harassment - University of Newcastle

According to the University policy No. 393,
harassment means verbal or physical conduct which, because of its severity and/or persistence, is likely to create a hostile or intimidating environment which may detrimentally affect an individual's employment or education.
bullying and workplace violence means any on-going anti-social behaviour that offends, degrades or humiliates a person, and has the potential to create a risk to health, safety and wellbeing.
These are some things the staff and students from the University have told us about. 
-      Thefts from your office
-      Your office suddenly moved to a remote part of campus
-      You are seconded to another short-term position and then your original position vanishes
-      You are not allowed in certain buildings or even not allowed on to the university campus
-      You are not permitted into your own office during working hours
-      Your supervisor passes your research off as their own
-      You are restricted as to who you can contact.
-      You are not allowed at meetings.
-      Your competence is discussed openly at meetings.
-      Promotions, sick leave, holidays are “difficult” to get.
So is this bullying and harassment? 
NO – apparently the university does not consider this to be bullying or harassment.
Is bullying at the University of Newcastle like the elephant and the blind men?  None of these blind men could identify the elephant, despite its size. 

Can no senior members of the University of Newcastle identify bullying and harassment, despite its frequency and impact?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Poster Policy at University of Newcastle








Face-painting? - in line with university poster policy.










Laser-tag? - in line with university poster policy.









Clairvoyant Reading? - in line with university poster policy.




PreviewAnti-Bullying? - NOT in line with university poster policy

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Demanding an apology for being bullied



SIX Macquarie University staff have demanded an official apology from their VC for not acting on claims of bullying in one research centre.

They had pursued their claims up the hierarchy to their Vice Chancellor but no action was taken.

In the survey on bullying at the University of Newcastle on this website (165 respondents),
  • 13.4% made a complaint and it was found to be "unjustified"
  • 51.8% reported that no action was taken by their supervisor or by Human Resources.
Also 8% cannot tell us what happened because they are bound to silence by this university.

But wait a minute, 4.5% of the survey respondents had made a complaint and were satisfied with the outcome.......  Did they get as far as our VC Professor Nick Saunders?  Do they have a secret method that 95.5% of the other respondents don't know about?

Monday, March 21, 2011

·         40 years’ experience in mental health
·         Chair of the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council
·         Chair of Hunter New England Health Medical Appointments Advisory Board and Clinical Ethics Committee
At Royal North Shore Hospital, he has conducted “a series of mandatory information and education sessions for all staff to reinforce the zero tolerance policy in relation to bullying”
He will present on “how you meet the challenges and handle the stresses in your work and life” at the MFAA Conference in June 2011.
How can it happen that 165 staff and students at the University of Newcastle report that they have been bullied?

Staff and students leave the university because of bullying

Responses to our survey, comments on this website and now on our "straw poll" indicate that a substantial number of people are leaving the university because of bullying.  We have no way of knowing how many people have actually already left.

Based on our straw poll (taking an average of the categories provided), the number of people known to have left due to bullying is 121. 

From our survey with 165 respondents so far,
  • 11.6% have asked for a transfer within the university
  • 42.8% are thinking of leaving or have already left.
The university is losing students and staff because they cannot tolerate the bullying culture of the university.

No matter how the statisticians try to re-interpret these numbers, even if one person leaves due to bullying surely this is too many?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Survey on bullying

We are currently gathering and analysing the responses we have had to our survey as at the end of February.   We have been saddened and horrified at the nature of the bullying that has been reported but we are very grateful to all of you who have had the courage to contribute to the survey.

In fairness to staff and students who may not have been aware of our campaign over the end of year/new year closure/break, we will continue to leave the survey open to anyone who wishes to participate.  Your responses are confidential and we are not collecting any identifying information (including ISP addresses).  We would value your responses and hope that all the information we gather can be used to stop bullying at this university.

If you know of anyone who has been bullied at this university, please alert them to this website and survey in case they may wish to respond.  The link to the survey can be found on the right-hand side of this website.