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)

Sunday, September 16, 2012


In March 2010, Professor Nick Saunders stated that "there was simply no evidence of a culture of bullying" (Newcastle Herald).

At the same time the unions said "there was a "large volume" of cases in which staff and students reported ongoing bullying and harassment on campus" (Newcastle Herald).

Professor Saunders said "bullying and harassment was not tolerated and it was clearly against the university's code of conduct".

"More than 20 people contacted The Herald in response to yesterday's report about an academic who says she suffered years of harassment after reporting plagiarism" (Newcastle Herald)

Under the management of Nick Saunders, 195 staff and students reported being bullied, victimised and discriminated against at the University of Newcastle, often for reporting misconduct.

The long history of intimidation and harassment at the University of Newcastle has been recorded in various publications (see chapter by John Biggs, paper by Brian Martin on Spautz, Don Parkes's book, etc - see links in right-hand panel).

Under the management of Nick Saunders, anti-bullying posters on campus were removed, a You Tube video about bullying at the university was blocked in Australia and four posts on this blog (regarding Nick Saunders) have been removed after a legal request.

So far three submissions of extreme bullying for reporting misconduct at the University of Newcastle have been approved for publication on the Workplace Bullying Inquiry website (nos. 8, 25 and 53).  There are others awaiting approval.

Nick Saunders said "he did not believe bullying or harassment was a problem at the institution" (Newcastle Herald).


  1. It would be interesting to look into the number of academic staff who were gagged by the UoN under the leadership of Professor Saunders (and those who are still in senior management) and the reasons why they were gagged.

  2. KH Geography academic bullied out of UoNSeptember 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    As the previous VC is so intent on suppressing all 'free speech' concerning bullying at the University of Newcastle I wonder how long this blog will stay in the public arena?

    But please continue the fight. It is only by speaking out about injustices and despicable workplace practices that we will be able to stamp out workplace bullying

  3. In the interest of the country, Four Corners should do a special edition on the coverup of workplace bullying at the UoN.

  4. We should see it as a victory because the truth we told on this blog has got them in damage control mode.

  5. I reported academic misconduct, which was proven to be true. For "dobbing in my mates" I was subjected to years of bullying and harassment leading to a Workers Compensation Commission determined permanent psychological injury. I asked Professor Saunders to intervene, he did, and I was subsequently terminated. I had only one meeting with Professor Saunders, where I felt like he treated me as nothing but dog crap, stuck to the bottom of his shoe, that he could not get rid of fast enough. The trauma of what happened to me for doing my job and reporting academic misconduct will stay with me for the rest of my life. Not so much the bullying and harassment that followed the initial report of the academic misconduct, but the way I was treated by the University after I asked for the bullying to stop.
    So I am sacked, and the person who was guilty of academic misconduct was promoted.
    My advice to everyone at Bond University (including the Chancellor), is never question or disagree with Professor Saunders. It was a hard lesson for me to learn that under some leaderships, academic freedom of speech does not exist.

  6. My biggest concern is the "legacy" of bullying left behind at the UoN, which we, the staff with have to live with on a daily basis.

  7. And of course the remaining members of that leadership team.

  8. Professor Saunders, I object to your claim that "there was simply no evidence of a culture of bullying" (Newcastle Herald). My removal from position was purely a result of years of bullying that was perpetrated from top down.