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)

Friday, September 30, 2011

University of Newcastle in the news!

The University of Newcastle is in the papers and on the radio - but not good news....

Germov was no sooner promoted to/rewarded with the position of PVC - Faculty of Education and Arts than he was embroiled in a crisis regarding the Bachelor of Arts degree - staff were apparently not given an opportunity to discuss major curriculum changes despite the review of the program being completed in April.  Furthermore, a

"redundancy would be offered to a lecturer in Chinese language studies and the course removed from the arts faculty to the Confucius Institute at the university".

 Well, Germov did state that

“I’m motivated by ‘making a difference’ to people’s lives".

From our online survey of staff and students who have been bullied, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences had more than its fair share of bullying whilst Germov was Head of School.  Germov has certainly made a difference in a number of people's lives, but not the difference they wanted!

McConkey has been in the newspapers and on the radio regarding the allegations of collusion made to international students in the Faculty of Business and Law.  This is ongoing - but McConkey has had to say SORRY.  Now there are accusations of discrimination against international students.

What's next......

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Academia versus Codes of Ethics?

Numerous academic disciplines have professional codes of ethics/codes of conduct to guide their members.

For example,

In the Teachers’ Code of Professional Practice (Australia), teachers must treat "..colleagues with courtesy and sensitivity to their rights, duties and aspirations" and act against "any form of harassment or unlawful discrimination managing and reporting perceived misconduct appropriately".

Australian Association of Social Workers states that "Social workers will relate to both social work colleagues and colleagues from other disciplines with respect, integrity and courtesy," and "will address suspected or confirmed professional misconduct, incompetence, unethical behaviour or negligence by a colleague through the appropriate organisational, professional or legal channels."

Speech Pathology Australia states that "We treat our colleagues with honesty, fairness, respect and good faith. In particular, we....identify and act on concerns we may have about colleagues’ professional competence or conduct".

Friday, September 9, 2011


"We were pleased that the university was at last acknowledging that they had serious problems in dealing with plagiarism. The university’s approach to date appeared to be motivated more by a desire to avoid damage to its reputation than to impartially investigate allegations." (NSW Ombudsman's Annual Report 2003-2004).

This was stated by the Ombudsman after a complaint of plagiarism by a postgraduate students was quashed by the University.

Our survey reveals that many of the staff/students have been bullied because they reported plagiarism or because they supported students whose work had been plagiarised.

2011 - has anything changed?