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)

Monday, July 2, 2012


Kevin McConkey has lost half his job - he has lost the Academic portfolio.  This is not a surprise to us from what we have heard about his performance.

A new Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) is being recruited.

We could provide a few criteria for applicants -

  • No, plagiarism is not OK
  • No, getting rid of people who report plagiarism is not OK
  • No, seeking power rather than focussing on teaching students and research is not OK
  • No, rewarding and/or promoting staff who collude in bullying and harassment is not OK
  • No, encouraging staff to collude in cover-ups is not OK.
  • No, hiding behind "policies" is not OK
Will rachel@rlcsearch.com think carefully about the future of the University and be brave enough to actually recruit someone who has education AND ethics??


  1. It's interesting that the University allows him to shift to whatever portfolio he likes. He wasn't even appointed to the DVC Global Relations job so he obviously doesn't have the qualifications for it. He was appointed to the DVC (A) job and made a mess of that, but took on the GR job when the previous DVC (GR) left under very cloudy circumstances.

    Imagine anyone else shifting from Chemistry to Physics anywhere in the Uni or the world for that matters.

    Why is he allowed to jetset around the world, flying first class?

    We still remember 2008 when he and the recently retired PVC (Ed & Arts) and Co. stayed in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel ($1,500 per night) in Mumbai half an hour before the bombing started. Not a bad place to stay for uni marketing and certainly a high-flying life/job for which he obviously didn't go through a formal competitive process as would be required of the rest of us and for which he is not even qualified.

    What can a psychologist sell/market to foreign countries, one wonders?

    1. The art of being a psychopath!

    2. It's the evil of being a psychopath. Damn it!

  2. Wow! I'll go get a few beers to celebrate!

  3. What the hell do we do with all the bullies he's promoted?

  4. No, selling jobs of loyal uni staff to private and foreign interests is not OK.

  5. He's received many gifts from foreign countries that cost many times over $100 dollars, the limit set by the uni.

    Has he registered those gifts and given them back to the Uni, which should be the only rightful owner of these gifts? No.

    This is the time for him to do the right thing!

  6. What about all the innocent lives he's wrecked?

    We want justice and we want to set a date for that, soon.

  7. Lost and gone foreverJuly 3, 2012 at 8:48 AM

    McConkey told me he could do nothing about the bullying I had received because he was "only" the DVC!

  8. The Uni should not find it difficult to select a new DVC from all the bullies that have been promoted at the Uni.

  9. What a scary thought! Please don't depress us.

    Hi Carol, are you listening?

    Please, for the sake of the town and the poor students, don't recycle the bullies.

    Get us someone from as far away as possible to stop the incest and in-breeding of bullies here.

    Get someone from one of the Scandinavian countries. They have a reputation for zero tolerance of bullying and injustice.

  10. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and the culprit deserves absolute punishment.

  11. I've always been opposed to capital punishment, but I do think it should be applied to leaders of countries, large organisations whose crimes and draconian decisions affect the lives of thousands of people. It definitely should not be limited to blood crimes such as genocide.

  12. Position sought:

    DEPUTY VICE-CHANCELLOR - The University of Newcastle

    UON 2025 Vision

    The University of Newcastle aspires to be a global leader in each of its spheres of achievement.

    Through engagement with partners, the University will deliver world class innovation to support the development of strong regional communities.

    This is an exciting time to join the University of Newcastle.
    The Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Caroline McMillen, and UON staff are committed to building on the University's strong record of achievement in equity, excellence and engagement to realise the ambitious agenda articulated in the UON 2025 Vision.

    The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will play a key role as a member of the senior executive team in charting the strategic direction and trajectory of the institution to achieve its strategic objectives. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will provide strategic, innovative and accountable leadership to position the University to achieve its goals in: student access, participation and success; the quality of academic programs; teaching and learning performance; an outstanding student experience; and a dynamic academic culture.

    This position requires an energetic and inspirational leader, capable of promoting a culture of excellence and innovation, and working with staff and students to implement sustainable change. Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills will be essential to build and maintain successful relationships across all campuses and with government, industry and the community. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will
    also represent the University in senior national and international fora.

    The successful candidate will have an outstanding track record as a senior leader and manager in higher education, and have the skills to develop evidence-based strategies and policies that deliver world class results.

    An attractive remuneration package will be offered.

  13. This is a unique chapter in the history of the UoN, one of real distinction.

    We have vivid memories of that particular reign.

  14. We wonder where he's seeking guidance on a day like this. the Shangri-La country perhaps!

  15. The Uni's eerily quiet with so many people doing so much good work, coming up with people-friendly policies and activities.

    It's too good to be true.

  16. Newcastle University is the most racist place I've been to and I have often wondered how much this has something to do with the person who has the overarching responsibility of overseeing so many vital operations there.

  17. What an honour to be promoted by Professor McConkey!

  18. What sort of person must you be?!

  19. The very thought of it makes me sick considering how he bullied me. Pure terror.

  20. How many people did he drive out of the international office?

    A staggering number!

  21. I am putting in for the job - my qualifications are:

    1. I didn't make a gigantic disaster of my previous job

    2. I am ethical and I don't bully people

    3. I actually have education.

  22. I want to apply for this position.

    I don't give jobs to cronies.

    I don't replace good and qualified workers with bad and unqualified ones.

    I am not jealous of people who are more capable or better than myself because I think organisations need good and capable people.

    I don't replace academic programs with money-driven ventures.

    I don't deliberately create disharmony in my workplace.

    I communicate openly with everyone instead of spreading gossips and rumours to get my "jobs" done.

    I unite people around the goals of the UoN.

    I am the ideal candidate for the job.

  23. I qualify for the job because I don't use precious university legal resources to liquidate "targets".

  24. I wonder how many of the bullies he's rewarded for aiding him in his personal agenda will be at his funeral.

    I know the innocent people he's destroyed will spit on his tombstone.

  25. There was a lot of bad karma followed by some good karma in recent weeks.

    God has eyes and has been watching the affairs of the UoN!

  26. Where has he ended after his reign of terror at the UoN for 7 years?

    In the rubbish bin of history, remembered for his ruthlessness and singled-mindedness for personal power and glory, promotion of cronies and selling of university interests to fatten his own wallet.

    He has killed staff and student confidence in the uni.

    McMillen has a tough job to do to clean up the mess, if she can ever clean up the mess.

  27. About time! He put me through months of hell, trying to show how much power he has. He is the biggest bully in the University. Do the uni a favor get rid of him. I'll be first in line at his farewell parade!

  28. Try being bullied out of your job and completely destroyed by him!

    I'd be the first to get to his funeral.

    Has he got children? God forbids.

    Bullies like him who's done colossal damage to a publically funded institution of that size should be castrated so they don't pass on their evil genes to pollute the human race.

    It's bad enough the students, staff and the community have to live with all the bullies he's promoted and put in positions of power. Where is hope for the good people of this world.

  29. What an honour it is to have an entire blog post devoted to the discussion of your professional "ethics".

    I salute the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for distinguishing himself in this outlandish manner. You have done the University of Newcastle proud!

    I know you are now only left with the Global Relations portfolio and I hope you will give the UoN a good name around the globe with your "exemplary" behavior which hundreds of us here at the UoN will never forget!

  30. It's official! McConkey is leaving, voluntarily, having forced so many staff out of their jobs with false allegations intended to destroy them.

    Now that McConkey's no longer in charge, the UoN management should look into all the excesses committed under McConkey's "leadership", including, but not limited to the criteria used for recent promotions.

    There has been much anger and confusion about these mysterious promotions and it's high time the uni came clean about them.