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 15, 2012

Employer of Choice for Women Citation for 2012? Sorry, we didn't quite understand that.

The new VC, Professor McMillen has just announed this citation because "the university is an employer that supports women to succees in their careers and balance family responsibilities".

The university has "many career enhancements programs and opportunities designed to support the development of our professional and academic femal staff".

But what about these women - 114 of them who have responded to our survey on workplace bullying?

The experiences of these women who still work at the Uni and those who have been thrown out are described on this blog - you don't even have to buy it like McConkey's "100 Women".

Bringing together stories from women staff and students right here at this university, 114 Women exposes the bullying, harassment and discrimination at the University of Newcastle of one hundred and fourteen courageous women.  Women profiled include staff and students like teachers, social workers, scientists, speech pathologists, language experts and other women who have suffered as they work conscientiously and competently at the University. 
In their stories, women provide the details of why they have been bullied, the effects on them, their work and their families, and the cronyism and corruption that the University tries to keep hidden.  From eminent staff to undergraduate students, the women in this collection will horrify and disturb you by sharing their personal stories of considering suicide, suffering physical and psychological difficulties, losing their work and income, being ostracised and gagged.
For any upcoming celebration, 114 Women is the perfect gift for family and friends of all ages. It will provide a nightmarish but thought-provoking picture of what is really happening right here at the University of Newcastle.
This is a free publication – All details provided at http://stop-b-uon.blogspot.com/


  1. Congratulations http://stop-b-uon.blogspot.com.au! You have finally brought the plight of me and my fellow female colleagues out into the public arena. This is a wonderful forum for those of us who have been denied a voice at the UoN. However the uni goes on about its achievements, my personal experience here tells an entirely different story, a story of horrendous abuse and bullying by men in power as well as several vicious women. The new VC is a woman so I hope she can do something about it. I also hope she has the wisdom to distance herself from the perpetrators and not to be hoodwinked by them.

  2. If I'd known what it would be like to work in this place, I'd never ever have anything to do with it. I wouldn't wish this place on my worst enemy. You get destroyed for being ethical and uncompromising in enforcing the uni's official rules.

  3. One senior female member of uni management has been on stress leave for more than a year! One wonders whether she'd ever chosen the UoN as her employer if she'd known what would be in store for her before she came to the job. Poor woman!

  4. She must be coughing blood regretting that fatal decision she made.

  5. Bullied into oblivion by womenMarch 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    I worked long and hard at Newcastle Uni over almost a decade - I was employed as a casual or on short-term contracts. What "career enhancement and opportunities" have I got from trying to work ethically and follow uni policies? I have no job, no career, physical and psychological injuries, lost friends, disillusioned kids and a stressed partner. I was bullied out by a group of women, frantically grasping power at any cost - who cares about morals anyway. And the bullying women - they have benefitted by advancing their careers! Good on you, Newcastle Uni.

  6. Helping professionals drunk on powerMarch 15, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    We can all sleep easy at night now that McConkey is going to get his annual bonus for getting this citation! He obviously does not have a conscience about the bullying he does nothing to stop. A psychologist with no conscience - he fits right in with the other psychologists, doctors etc. Perhaps they all do the same course - "How to qualify in a helping profession by destroying others"!

  7. Dear Vice Chancellor,

    Please watch out! There are quite a few female bullies in power at the UoN. Make sure you don't empower them even more as they are the most dangerous to their own kind. I am all for empowering the underdogs and those who deserve it, but not for giving any more power and privileges to those who have got there by walking over dead bodies and the UoN has quite a few of those - they are deadly. My recent experience tells me, they would do anything, particularly to their own kind, to get there.

  8. Judge a university by the women that work in it!

  9. I'm applauding your work to expose bullying. I was a prof. at a university in the United States and I swear I could have written the post submitted by "Bullied into oblivion by women" myself. The economy is terrible, I can't find full-time employment inside or outside of higher education. I hope many other bullied people at universities around the globe follow your lead!

  10. The problems is within higher education. The truth of the matter is once you are out of it, you have no power to influence change from within. The UoN is served by interest groups who will gang up to suppress anyone who dares to change the status quo, anyone who has integrity and tells the truth, particularly when the status quo is corrupt and badly needs changing. Public interest has no place in such contexts. One good example is the fact that some of my colleagues (in leadership positions) talk in private about students, our major clients, as if they are maggots, but their public statements make them sound like they are the most caring saints under the sun. Never seen so many hypocrites in my whole life!

  11. And I bet these above-mentioned hypocrites get all the teaching excellence awards.

  12. I must say Newcastle uni is the saddest place I've worked at. As a woman, I am really ashamed and embarrassed, but I have no choice because I need to pay the bills. Some of the things that happen there are quite horrifying.

  13. Last year I contacted the Employer Choice for Woman Committee, and presented my experiences of bullying and harassment to them, that I believe demonstrated that the UoN was not eligible for the award. The response was that it was my word against the uni's. I was told that I would have to prove my case for them to retract the award. I have proven my case through the Workers Compensation Committee. So will the award be retracted? If not, I guess the award is just given out to anyone who applies.

    1. Hi Michelle, it's a fantastic idea. I do think the dozens of us should write to the Employer Choice for Woman Committee as a group and that will carry a lot more weight. We will definitely cite your win against the uni as evidence it doesn't deserve the award. Sandra K.

  14. A protestor against the UoNMarch 19, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    I agree with Michelle and Sandra. I'mmore than happy to participate as well. My case is being investigated by NSW Ombudsman at the moment. According to my case investigator, it seems to be a strong case.

    He was so surprised re my experience. I was told by him that 'It seems that this university puts the rules in paper but it doesn't truely obey any of them.'

  15. Ex-Public Servant of the Western SuburbsMarch 20, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    To A protestor against the UoN, can you please talk about your case with the NSW Ombudsman in a generic sense. I had some troubles whilst at Premier and Cabinet here in Sydney, and when I approached the NSW Ombudsman to investigate the inadequacies of the departmental investigation, the Ombo cited that it didn't involve itself with matters of employment, ie grievances, bullying, etc. Are the Ombo looking at bullying in your case? Regards JS

  16. I am a UoN academic with grievances. I concur with the ex-public servant as I want to take my case to the Ombusman. I've been told it's a useless exercise for employment issues, grievances, bullying, etc.

  17. A protestor against the UoNMarch 21, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    To my friends: Ex-Public Servant of the Western Suburbs and a UON academic with grievance: In my case, bulling, vilification, harassment and psychological abuse was heavily involved. However, the main game was on numerous procedural errors that UoN made. In my view, that was the main reason that Ombudsman agreed with following up the case. Although they agreed to investigate the case, so far, I have not got any slightest positive feedback nor on behalf of the UoN neither on behalf of my case invstigator re the outcome of this dirty game. The UoN replied to my grievance points reluctantly which has been lodged to the Ombudsman on behalf of me in details and Documented.

    After 6 months of pulling and pushing to get justice, I'm comming to this conclusion little by little that UoN is such an unbelievable place in this world where in 'impossible is impossible'!!! They just keep ignoring confidently that there is a case.
    They ingonring this case in spite of the fact that one journalist, two attoreys , one human right activist and the DEEWR staff admitted that it does exist a case.

    The most important thing re my case is since the UoN doesn't have any proof against my complaint, strangly, they are trying hard to invent a case against me. Anywhere in my file that the University doesn't have any email or written document against me, it has been said that 'this matter has been discussed with the student OVER THE PHONE' and student refused to get our advise on this matter!!!!!!! In some points, it says' due to a technical error in the system, the file has been corrupted and the document is not available anymore'!!

    The big question is' Why this 'technical error'!!must happen for my file not for any other student's file?

    It seems to be a new sterategy of UoN senior managers to deal with strong cases with an 'OVER THE PHONE'-named sterategy .

    This is absolutely hilarious. If I could put the clock back, I would never ever never- I emphesize NEVER EVER chose that shit place for studying. Now, considering the huge amount of time and energy and money that has been wasted over this matter,I must say,It is too late to find a new direction in my life. I can neither start a new life not can come back to my same routine life in the past. I'm on a two way giving up with the case and look for a new future or keep fighting to get what I used to have in the past....

    My suggestion to you is drag them to the media, news, ADT or legal channels if you have time and money for that since they are not afriad of any safe and unable channel like Ombudsman. Ombudsman is no danger for such a dangerous gang.
    targeting their publicity is sth that they seem to be kind of scared of that.

    All I have to say about senior managers working at this University is" I have not seen anything like this before anywhere in this world".

    It seems that we are not dealing with normal human beings. That's why our mission seems to be seriously difficult to be done through right and normal channels.

    As a student it is a good idea to make a complaint against UoN to the DEEWR as well. As a staff, I suggest to 'UON academic with grievance' that 'Michelle Adams' can help you more since she's gone through this ordeal before and could prove her case eventually. Although the university didn't agree that she could come back to work!

    They would say to you ' leave and never come back' even if you throw up the truth on their face!!...

    This university is hopeless. Such a big shame for Australian government if they want to protect this corropted place anymore. Truely disgusting.

    Anyhow, I'm keep fighting.I don't give up until I get a satisfactory outcome or I will drag them to the media and news to reveal their 'under the carpet's scandal'.

  18. I think the message from "A protestor against the UoN" is just "don't give up". The Workers Compensation Commission has determined that I have a workplace injury, and it took over 3 years for that outcome, and still the UoN tries to deny any wrong doing. My career might be over, but my fight is not. With so many people publically on this web site and privately by email, phone, and personal communication reporting such horrific stories of workplace bullying, victimisation and harassment we have to do everything we can to change this narcissistic culture. The only way to make it stop is to keep speaking out and not be intimidated. I still hope for justice, and this will only come when the UoN is answerable for the atrocities it has committed against so many staff and students. This WILL happen if people "don't give up", but continue to believe in what they are doing. I applaud those who have the strength to do this, and for those of you not sure, know that there are many of us who are here to support you the best way we can.

  19. To A protestor against the UoN: I am the UoN academic with grievances and I was horrified to read of your harrowing ordeal at the hands of the UoN bullies and the devastating effect it's had on your life. Please be assurred that I and many others share your view of how the university operates because we have very similar tales to tell. As Michelle Adams said, we should never give up our fight because there would be too much at stake if we stopped doing what is just. We also owe it to many other victims of bullying to keep up with the fight for a just and humane Australia. Please keep us posted about things. I live for the day when all the victims of bullying at the UoN will get to tell their story of victimisation to the world and the bullies are exposed, however powerful they are.

  20. To Michelle Adams: Could you please shoot the number of one attorney whose is familiar with fantastic policies of the UoN in victimisung studenst and staff? I would like to seek her/his legal advise? can s/he do Probano work for a student who her studies has been unfarily terminated by the university and has no money or any financial support from the family side?

    You have put it here in this webiste before but I can't find where it was.

    WE all fight for the justice to come out someday.

    Thanks Michelle

    1. Dear Suicider,
      I am very concerned for you. Don't feel that you are alone with what is happening to you. Many of us have felt the same pain you are feeling and we are all here to support each other. We will help you in any way we can. My solicitor is David Jones from Carrol and O'Dea, Newcastle. I have referred several people to this practice.
      There is an email on this web site and if you would like to talk to me or others privately please use this email address and we will get back in contact.
      In the mean time it is important for you to be with people who care for you. They know you and how unfair you have been treated. You need to remember that you can win against the University...but it takes time, and support.
      You are not alone. If you feel you can not cope any more please see your doctor and explain what is happening. It is not unusual for people experiencing the stress you are to need medical help. I have had to ask for it, and so have many other people in our anti bullying group. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather an indication of the severe affect of bullying and victimisation can have on you. You have already shown that you are strong person in your comment....it shows you aren't going to take the bullshit the UoN is trying to feed you....but it easier to be with people who are in the same situation, so PLEASE email if you need further support.

    2. Dear Suicider, I feel so much for you. Like Michelle, I want to offer you my support and my sympathy. Please don't do anything drastic. Go and see a doctor/social worker/psychologist and be with people who understand and care about you. Go and see the NUSA president and the officers. They are all very good, caring and supportive people and they have a lot of experience in dealing with the uni and will point you in the right direction. Please hang in there and know that there are many of us, students and staff who are or have been in a very similar situation. Get in touch with us via the email. PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP. I'm thinking of you.....