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)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

No longer gagged!

KH (see submissions on the Workplace Bullying Inquiry website), a former staff member of the University of Newcastle, stated in her submission that

"in July 2008 under considerable duress I signed a confidentiality agreement (aligned with a ‘voluntary’ redundancy) stating that I would not discuss my employment with a third person or take legal action against the University. However, I will always regret being complicit in a cover up of malicious workplace behaviour at the University             ."

Under the parliamentary privilege afforded to submissions to the Workplace Bullying Inquiry, KH now has the opportunity to have her experiences of being bullied out of the University of Newcastle published in the public domain.

In her submission, she details the extremely punitive and ongoing bullying she received by the staff and management in her School, Faculty and in the senior echelons of the university.

Her maltreatment included a survey by the university to determine whether her “return would adversely impact on the working environment for staff and/or the operations of the area".  This survey of discriminatory questions was completed by eight staff members, even though only two had any personal involvement with KH's dispute.  How much lower can an organisation sink!

At last, the extreme lengths that the University of Newcastle goes to to get rid of ethical and hard-working academics is there for the public to read.

13 comments:

  1. I am shocked and horrified to read this.

    I think there should be an immediate royal inquiry into the "practices" of the senior management of the UoN, past and present in order to restore public confidence in higher education in the university.

    I think the media should report on this IMMEDIATELY to alert the general public and students and staff at the UoN to the obvious violation of Ms KH's basic human right and dignity perpetrated by an institution of higher learning.

    Convicted criminals and paedophiles are treated better in the Western world.

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  2. KH former Geography senior lecturerAugust 8, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Thank you for providing the link to my story.
    Now that the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying has released my submission for publication I feel a strong sense of freedom.
    No words can ever convey the pain that I experienced at the University of Newcastle. Notwithstanding the psychological and physical torment that I suffered, I was made to feel ashamed that I had reported bullying, and as noted in the documents made an outcast from my discipline, school and Faculty and finally forced out of academia.
    Perhaps now, finally after all these years of suffering I can return to Newcastle and hold my head up high
    Thank you for your compassion, empathy and basic human kindness - characteristics that are lacking within UoN

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  3. In this country, we award people with big limbs and win medals in sporting carnivals, but we neglect people like Professor KH, whom I know to be a beautiful human being and a highly acclaimed scholar loved by her students.

    Her only fault was her integrity and outstanding achievements which made her a threat to her colleagues, the bullies that get promoted at the UoN.

    Professor KH is a huge loss to the UoN.

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  4. Someone should have called the Police and had the architects of this crime arrested.

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  5. You report bullying. Then not allowed to return back to work because the real bullies would not be able to handle co teaching with you? Not vice versa? You were willing to work again with the bullies yet the bullies were unable to work again with you because you had rightly identified them? This was supported? You were dismissed from the University? I cannot believe that you would be subject to such inhuman behaviour. This is insane. You most certainly deserve a medal. Well done on exposing such utter nonsense! A person with your integrity does not deserve to be working with such cowards. Well done on moving forward with your life and leaving such a disgraceful institution.

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  6. To KH, yes, you most certainly should hold your head very high. Others, however, should lower their heads in shame.

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  7. Victimised by UoNAugust 9, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    As an ex-staff member who was also bullied out of the uni, I am extremely pleased to see that KH has had the opportunity to provide a report on her experiences. The way she has in the past, and now, conducts herself would be a credit to any workplace. I am hugely saddened that she is no longer able to contribute to the academic world but she continues to make a huge contribution as a volunteer.

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  8. In Sweden, bullying gets one 13 years in prison. If that is anything to go by, those who bullied KH at the UoN and perpetrated this horrendous crime depriving her of her basic human right should have been locked up for 15 years.

    We want the VC to issue a formal apology to KH and admit once and for all the rampant bullying that has plagued the University with a guarantee that she will take concrete action against offenders.

    Heads should roll at the UoN and the bullies should be stripped of their promotions immediately!

    If the Nazis are still being hunted down and put in prison in their 90s more than 65 years after the war ended (hope the bullies of the UoN won't have that sort of longevity), the UoN bullies should watch out: We will pursue you wherever you will be.

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  9. What is evident from your case KH is the HR of the UoN should be renamed MR - Mobbing Resources. Clearly their role is to support the mobbers and clearly not the ethical humans. Appalling what you had to go through. Staff unable to get over a poster need to be subject to psychological intervention.. They are the ones with issues.

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  10. Thanks, I felt complicit for leaving UoN and not fighting. I hope this wave of interest sets a new high water mark for how people work collaboratively in academia.

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  11. Are you all aware that staff given "voluntary" redundancies and potentially forced redundancies now are permanently excluded from ever being reemployed at the uni in any capacity - how will the VC attract the Best and Brightest when she will effectively exclude so many potentially brilliant staff from returning to the University through no fault of their own?

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  12. She can rely on the best and brightest bullies, who number in the hundreds there.

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  13. Why are the victims of bullying at UON blamed? Why do they have to move or stay away? Why doesn't management have the guts to deal with the bullies. Nothing is done, why bother reporting it, the bullying is allowed to continue. It will until UON is serious about stopping it. I know a group of bullies that have made at least 5 staff members worklife a misery everyday, yes it has been reported months ago and several times, but it still continues, have the bullies been approached? No of course not, lets do the typical UON strategic measure ignore it.

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