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)

Friday, July 27, 2012

University of Newcastle in the news for bullying

An article has appeared in the Daily Telegraph about bullying, suicide and the University of Newcastle (by Bruce McDougall).  
The updated figures from our latest summary of survey results (submitted to the Inquiry) show that 45 (FORTY FIVE) respondents (out of 195) had attempted or considered suicide - 23%.
Here is an excerpt from the newspaper.
"ABOUT 20 bullying victims at one of Australia's leading universities have attempted or considered suicide, an inquiry has been told.
One female academic became so traumatised she tried to kill herself in her campus office, she told the federal parliamentary committee into workplace bullying.
Microbiologist Dr Michelle Adams later told The Daily Telegraph she swallowed "tablets" in February last year during a long-running campaign to stop bullying at Newcastle University.
"I am now medically retired and ... under the medical care of both a psychiatrist and a psychologist," the 46-year-old mother of two said.
Dr Adams told the inquiry she suffered "almost 10 years of bullying, harassment and victimisation" after reporting academic misconduct in 2003.
"When one act of bullying involved the theft of ... tuberculosis from my research laboratory, at least one colleague was of the opinion that 'things go missing all the time',"she said.
"When I explained I was scared the attacks would escalate to violence I was told I was 'over-reacting'."
In a letter to NSW and federal MPs, Dr Adams said an anti-bullying group at the university had collected "evidence about 20 victims of the bullying have either attempted or considered suicide".
The issues at Newcastle follow revelations during the inquiry that staff relations at the University of NSW had become so dysfunctional some employees spend days "crying in the toilets".
The anti-bullying group at Newcastle told the inquiry 175 current and former staff and students had responded to an online survey.
In March this year Dr Adams was awarded more than $60,000 by the Workers Compensation Commission.
The University of Newcastle last night said it had "worked with Dr Adams for a number of years ... to determine the factual basis for her allegations and concerns" but had not been able to put her mind at rest on any issue she raised.
New Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen said the university was committed to a workplace free from bullying: "Our staff embrace the code of conduct and I have found they are deeply committed to equity and excellence.""
The saddest thing about all of this is that no-one at the Uni has the guts and decency to say "Let's properly investigate the bullying issue, deal with it appropriately and set up adequate systems to deal with it if it happens again in the future!"

There are too many brooms sweeping too much under too many carpets at the Uni.


  1. We hope Prof. McMillen has convinced herself about the university in relation to bullying because she hasn't convinced anyone else.

    What she said to the paper is an insult to all the 195 staff and students (and those who didn't respond the to the survey) who have been bullied at that institution.

  2. To anonymous July 27, the journalist reported the facts available - see the submission by MA to the Parliamentary Inquiry is available on the website:

    Updated statistics on Bullying at Newcastle University will be available as more submissions are released by the Parliamentary Committee.

  3. I always find it interesting to see the University of Newcastle comments in respect to my case -
    it just makes me more determined to support the push for new laws to protect people against bullying. I am sure attitudes would change when senior managers like the VC are held accountable for workplace bullying, especially if they can personally be charged as criminals. Let's hope the Parliamentary Inquiry does make a difference and makes BULLYING a CRIMINAL activity.

  4. Michelle, totally agree with you.

    Let's hope we put a few UoN bullies behind bars for their crimes against humanity.

  5. Sadly, it's THE capable DVC who's been on stress leave, a real tragedy for the uni.