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)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fantasy at the University of Newcastle

If you heard the following, what would you think?

  • Senior academic has valuable items stolen from their office
  • A research group of academics physically prevent a group member from entering a group meeting
  • Departmental staff are surveyed to find out how upsetting it is for them to just see a fellow academic, let alone speak to them.
  • A senior academic uses data from patients without their consent or knowledge
  • Ongoing sexual harassment of students by an academic is "covered up" by the head of school.
  • Academics present student research as their own work, without acknowledgement.
  • A whistleblower who reported misconduct to their line manager is suddenly shunned by fellow academics throughout Australia.

Someone's imagination running away with them?
A novelist writing a crime novel?
Someone's vivid dreams?

Believe it or not, these are all real events that have happened at the University of Newcastle! Novelists, don't worry about imagining facts - Truth is definitely stranger than fiction!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Relax - all is now well at the University of Newcastle!

The staff at the uni have just received the following email from Kevin McConkey, entitled PROMOTING THE WELLBEING OF STAFF - A SAFE AND RESPECTFUL WORKPLACE:-

Apparently, the university has "the well-being of our staff community" as a top priority.  The uni is "commmitted to the values of honesty, fairness, trust, accountability and respect in our work environment".  

There are two resources that will ensure a "safe and respectful workplace that supports appropriate behaviours and is free from bullying and harassment".

1. Respect - Workplace Behaviour Workshop: These are the workshops mentioned previously on this blog - it gives "strategies for identifying and dealing with inappropriate behaviours, harassment or bullying".

2. EO Online: There is an online program that "provides an overview of broader equity principles and issues".

As the saying goes, "McConkey's in heaven, all's right with the world".

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The Newcastle Herald has reported on the “real” employment figures In the Hunter.
“Academics at the University of Newcastle described spending years as ‘‘sessional’’ casuals, and of spending a decade or more on rolling contracts, never able to gain permanent ‘‘tenure’’. “

It is widely known that the University of Newcastle has one of the highest rates of casuals of any of the universities in Australia.  That suits the current management style.  If you are a casual, the university can pick you up and discard you in any way it chooses.

Anyone who speaks up about ANYTHING will just be dropped by the University – we have been contacted by a number of casuals who say this. 

“Union officials described a world in which casual workers were almost invariably too scared to speak up about workplace wrongs because they knew they would lose their jobs if they did.”

What an ideal situation for the senior managers here  - THEY DO NOT EVEN NEED A REASON TO GET RID OF YOU!!
Calling all researchers investigating casual labour – casuals at this university
 could tell you a thing or two!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Respect - Workplace Behaviour" and The University of Newcastle

The University of Newcastle is rolling out a series of workshops on "Respect - Workplace Behaviour"

As the HR blurb states,
"this workshop provides an overview of how anti-discrimination law and University diversity policies, including the Code of Conduct, impact on your workplace on a daily basis, specifically in relation to harassment and bullying.
The workshop includes the legal framework, your rights and responsibilities and realistic strategies for identifying and dealing with harassment and bullying. The workshop includes real life examples and case studies." (emphasis added).

Anyone at the University of Newcastle wanting to attend?   Here are the dates:-

9, 13, 15, 23, 27 February
6, 12, 14, 27, 28 March
17, 18 April

Perhaps the high number of workshops indicates the size of the problem of bullying and lack of respect at this University.

This is an opportunity to ask about "REALISTIC strategies".
Do any of these sound "realistic"? - make a complaint?? speak to HR?? speak to your boss?? speak to senior management?? etc etc 
These are not realistic because they have not worked at this University, as indicated in our survey and on this blog. What other strategies will they suggest?

So they want "real life examples"?  Here is an opportunity to tell them about our "real life examples", and our experiences of using"realistic strategies for identifying and dealing with the bullying" that  we have experienced!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Cold Facts of Bullying in the Workplace

  • Employees experiencing workplace bullying on a regular basis - 37%
  • Bullied employees losing their jobs - 44%
  • Bullies losing their jobs - 1.5%

  • Amount of suffering of those being bullied - PRICELESS