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.

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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)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Why is bullying at the University of Newcastle so frequent and so deadly??

David Yamada in his Workplace Bullying Institute blog states that “Academicians are adept at intellectual analysis, manipulation, and argumentation.  When applied to the tasks of teaching, scholarship, and service, these skills reinforce the most socially useful aspects of the academy.  But many of us who have worked in academe have seen what happens when they are applied in hurtful or even malicious ways.”
“OK, so higher education is all about academic freedom, thinking about and expressing significant ideas, and challenging students to think outside the box, right?
Well, not nearly as often as you might think. Aspiring professors would do well not to be seen as being daring or bold. Those seeking academic appointments are counseled to stay on the good sides of their advisors, even if it means tempering their own views.”  Furthermore, ..“faculty are advised to play the same cautious game when it comes to courting those who will be voting on their tenure applications and reviewing their work. Engaging in some vigorous bootlicking doesn’t hurt, either."
The “professional success in academe places heavy premiums on jumping through career hoops, conforming to external expectations, and pleasing others in order to get ahead."
“It is sadly ironic that an endeavor that should celebrate creativity, original thinking, and public education all too often discourages these qualities.”
Many academics are “products of this very socialization process. First, the value placed on compliance empowers some to bully others who won’t go along. A minor “rebellion” such as declining to follow a suggestion for revising a paper or dissertation, or a major one such as refusing to vote a certain way at a meeting, can trigger retaliatory responses....
Second, the embrace of authority explains the frequency of “puppet master” bullying and genuine mobbing in academic workplaces. Especially in academic workplaces that cannot tolerate dissent or diversity of opinion, individuals seen as not being with the program may face an onslaught of hostility or isolation.”
So why is bullying within the University of Newcastle so frequent and so deadly? 
Is it a combination of compliance to academia AND the insiduous regional, boys’ club mentality of the Uni’s position in regional Australia? 

4 comments:

  1. Because the fish rots from the top down!

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  2. And the incest! I ask the management to seriously look into the issue of the husband-wife teams within the same unit, school, faculty, the mum-dad-son-daughter-son-in-lawduagter-in-law tribes working in different sections of the uni, to say nothing of the nieces and nephews, etc. It's unheard of in other universities. The uni's not in a position to keep any secrets because of the nepotism.

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  3. Bullying is a big problem in the school I work at as well. A group of teachers and students got together to stop the bullying. A great website that offers insight what people can do to end bullying is http://onlineceucredit.com/edu/social-work-ceus-ttt. It provided a lot of useful information for our group and it has made a difference on our campus.

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  4. Reminds me of a quote by Nelson Mandela -
    "When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free."

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