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)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Workplace bullying involves everyone - new research

“Bystanders are not incidental, but are an integral part of the context of bullying, with some siding with the bully or victim, either actively or passively,”.

Dr Paull from Murdoch University concluded that there were 13 types of bystanders - from the  aggressive Instigating Bystander to the Submitting Bystander, who ends up becoming a substitute for the victim.

Respondents to our survey on bullying at the University of Newcastle reveal that the usual pattern of events is that once a bully starts bullying, co-workers very quickly side with the bully.  This pattern of taking sides with the bully continues all the way up management to the top.  Co-workers/colleagues collude with the bullying to protect their own positions.

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor 
who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler
 and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

Pastor Neimoller described the dangers of being a bystander:-

First they came for the Communists And I did not speak out 
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists And I did not speak out 
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the Jews And I did not speak out 
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.


  1. This is an important message to the "bystanders" at the University of Newcastle. Don't think you have any extra protection from the narcissistic bullying behaviour by keeping you mouth shut. The only protection will come when people do speak out, and there is a change in attitude about bullying. You may look at those who have spoken out against bullying and say - "they have lost their jobs, their careers, their lives....", but there are just as many WHO HAVE NOT SPOKEN OUT against bullying and who have lost their jobs, their careers, their lives...." you just may not know about them....and their pain is no less than any other victim. The difference is those who speak out will help stop more people being victims. They may have lost everything, but their are some people who still can be spared such a horrible fate.

  2. I believe most of these so-called "bystanders" are potential bullies because I have seen this happen with many of my colleagues who chose to stand by and watch me bullied. They also joined the bullies by believing the rumours and helping to spread the rumours perpetrated by the bullies. After a while, many of them became bullies themselves because the work environment at the UoN rewards bullies.

    Indeed, the UoN is a hotbed of bullying. Why? When there are so many of them in top management, you get a culture of bullying that becomes the order of the day.

    Hence, the Bulliversity of Newcastle.

  3. We heard from a friend that the School of Humanities has just appointed a Professor of History in Violence Studies.

    Since bullying is an insidious form of violence (emotional, psychological, physical, verbal, etc.) and it in widespread in that School, the Professor should make the school a major focus of his research into violence.

  4. Hi, you have a very good suggestion there. That would be at least socially relevant research with an immediate benefit to higher education itself which should be free of the scourge of bullying.