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, May 28, 2011

Are the 10 senior executives at University of Newcastle earning their $3.5 million in 2010?

So, Nick Saunders is worth more than twice what Julia Gillard gets!!(see Newcastle Herald report).
Trevor Waring, the Chancellor and psychologist, who could not help a staff member who was being bullied for whistleblowing, "assessed Professor Saunders’ overall performance in 2010 as ‘‘outstanding’’ and that Professor Saunders successfully met the criteria in his performance agreement" (Newcastle Herald).

We know why he's smiling!

Obviously Nick Saunders is getting better at his "performance" at covering up any dissent - his performance pay of $119,394 for 2010 was better than in 2009 (only $55,265).

So, did Kevin McConkey earn his $489,623?  He is also not able to do anything about bullying.
What about the deputy vice-chancellor research Michael Calford? - he got $386,613
Then there's, deputy vice-chancellor services Sue Gould - $410,931.

What about the other senior executives?  Did any of them actually earn their share in 2010?
What actions did they take to make this University a better, fairer and more productive place?

All suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Petition to the Ombudsman

Stop bullying at the University of Newcastle, Australia

We, the undersigned, petition the Ombudsman to instigate an open enquiry into allegations of workplace bullying / harassment at the University of Newcastle, NSW, and concerns about the way senior management have dealt with complaints about such bullying.

In a survey (166 respondents), conducted via the web-site Stop Bullying at University of Newcastle (Oz), the most common effects of bullying were:

• Sleep problems 75.8%,
• Depression 68.9%
• Headaches 46.2%
• Constant tiredness 36.4%

Of major concern is the fact that 24.2% (32 respondents) had suicidal thoughts.

At the University of Newcastle, workplace bullying has become part of a management culture, and policies on workplace bullying are ignored or are ineffectual in dealing with the problem. Unions recommend victims and witnesses of bullying avoid making complaints if they wish to preserve their career. Survey results of bullied victims report:

• 42.8% of respondents were planning to leave the university
• 34.8% were looking for or had found work outside the university
• 27.7% had asked for or already been transferred to another area of the university
• 31 respondents had themselves, or knew of others who had, been given a payout with a gagging clause

Dissatisfaction with the way bullying is dealt with at the University of Newcastle has come under public scrutiny. Significant amounts of tax payers’ money has been used by the University to cover up the serious nature of bullying in this workplace including so called “independent investigations”, paid for and supervised by the University. Survey results indicate:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Whistleblowers and gagging clauses

Our recent poll on this website has indicated that at least 12-15 whistleblowers have been gagged by the University of Newcastle.  Therefore they cannot speak out or support other people who are whistleblowers and/or victims of bullying.  Whistleblowers have been given payouts to keep quiet, usually when they have bullied and isolated and have reached their lowest and most vulnerable state.  Payouts and/or blackmail tactics are also used with people so that the university can get rid of them (e.g. "you keep quiet and we will say you resigned, not fired").

Gagging clauses have become a major safety issue in the National Health Service in the UK and is a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.  This doesn't help us here in Australia!

The amount of money involved in the payouts from the University of Newcastle must be substantial and adds to the cost of the University as well as abusing tax-payers' money.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Former Newcastle uni academic recounts battle

Mattthew Kelly of The Newcastle Herald has written an article about the recently published book, DOCTORED!, by Don Parkes, a long-time former academic at University of Newcastle.

Parkes has written about "Coral Bayley-Jones academic fraud scandal that haunted the university for more than 20 years".  In the Herald article, this scandal is described as  "THE University of Newcastle's handling of one of its most troubling controversies over the past three decades".

All that Don Parkes got was a formal apology but the PhD awarded to Ms Bayley-Jones was not revoked.

The response from the University of Newcastle to the book???

MOTIVATED: Former University of Newcastle academic Don Parkes with a copy of his book. - Picture by Darren Pateman, Newcastle Herald
"Vice-chancellor Nick Saunders said that the university stood by the apology it had made to Dr Parkes in 2005.
"I continue to wish him well," he said."

Have Nick Saunders' wellwishes helped anyone, currently or previously connected with this University?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

ICAC and police at the University of Newcastle - any further news?

Newcastle Herald 

Campus fraud inquiry

Author: Donna Page
Date: 26/11/2010
Words: 139
Source: NCH
       Publication: Newcastle Herald
Section: News
Page: 13
THE University of Newcastle is remaining tight-lipped about two fraud investigations taking place at its Callaghan Campus.
Questions were put to university management yesterday in relation to the matters, but a spokeswoman declined to comment.
It is understood the Australian Federal Police are involved in one matter and a former Industrial Relations Commissioner is heading an investigation on behalf of the university.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption's executive director for Education and Fraud and Corruption Prevention, Dr Robert Waldersee, visited the university this week to talk to senior managers.
Dr Waldersee was invited to the university in an effort to "raise awareness and encourage identification and prevention of fraud and corruption at the university".
The university's council papers said the university was "actively managing a number of disclosures made to ICAC in the last few months".
- Donna Page

Have you heard anything else about this? 
Any ideas? 
What are these "disclosures made to ICAC"?
What part of the university is being investigated?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Don Parkes' book DOCTORED is now out!

The eagerly-awaited book by Don Parkes, entitled Doctored!, is now available at :-

Don Parkes was an academic in Geography at the University of Newcastle for almost thirty years.  He spoke out about the doctoral research of Bayley-Jones and the lack of appropriate action by the University.

Readers who want a paperback copy can advise Don at 106publications@idl.com.au .
He does not have a price at this time as COST + postage will have to be charged.  Until I have some idea of minimum numbers, it is hard for the local copy/binding firm to give me a price. There will be NO INCOME to Don and difference over time will be donated to a just cause. He estimates the cost to be in the region of $40.00 for 360pp.

A paperback copy will be lodged at Auchmuty Library at the University once Don has an ISBN for the book.

This book will be an enlightening and insightful read about the shameful happenings at this University in the 1980s and 1990s and the loss of yet another valuable and principled academic member of staff.

The added perks of being an academic at the University of Newcastle

There are two employment perks (maybe more?) that are not stated in job vacancies at the University of Newcastle.  It is our duty to make the public and future applicants aware of these - they many not be mentioned during the interview process. 

*** If you plagiarise someone else's work, present it as your own at conferences and have abstracts published in journals, you will be given counselling.  Just think how quickly you can get promotion by doing this - and you get some free counselling as well!

***If you see something in another academic's office that you particularly want, get into their locked office uninvited when you are sure they are not there and take it.  There are probably some valuable paintings and artefacts, as well as work equipment and materials, in other people's offices that you could sell on eBay to supplement your academic salary.  The perk of this (apart from the financial incentive) is that the university will remind you of your responsibilities towards other people's possessions (does this mean that your responsibility is to relieve other people of their possessions or work-related items?).

So don't forget to ask during your job interview - there may be additional bonuses and perks for other "activities" at this university!