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)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bullying from the top down

Kathryn McEwen, a specialist in workplace behaviour and author of the book Building Resilience in the Workplace, believes that

‘workplace bullying is more likely to occur in organisations where there are high levels of stress and conflict, job insecurity, unrealistic demands… high competitiveness, job ambiguity and poor leadership.’ (emphasis added)

Also, "the leadership team in a workplace has a huge impact on the culture of the environment.".

Her comments echo what we have always maintained - the endemic bullying culture cascading down from senior management at the University of Newcastle allows bullying to flourish.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Another gentle nudge!

We initially chose not to moderate the comments on this website – we did want everyone to have their say, report their experiences and air their concerns about bullying at the University.   We have been encouraged by how much activity there is on this website and how many visitors we continue to have. 
Recently we have had to moderate comments - we try to be as fair as possible.  However, this is a gentle reminder to use this blog as a forum on bullying at the University of Newcastle – this includes the discussion of related issues (e.g. whistleblowing) which involved bullying.  

We would ask you please to find a more suitable forum to express your views and concerns on other aspects of the University of Newcastle.  Alternatively, you could set up your own blogsite.

Thank you for helping to keep this blog focussed on the bullying that has occurred, and continues to occur, at the University of Newcastle.

Is Australia becoming a sissy state regarding bullying?

Robert Wilson, the President and CEO of Workers Compensation in the USA, considers the code of practice to address bullying from SafeWork Australia to be too broad - saying they are "broad would be a blatant understatement."

He notes a number of issues with the code:-
  • It "even prohibits "eye-rolling responses" that might "diminish a person's dignity". "
  • "Workers left idle or underutilized may be able to file for workers' compensation, as the code lists "not providing enough work" as a form of "indirect bullying".
  • "Also in the "indirect bullying" category; a manager who constantly changes deadlines or sets timelines that are difficult to achieve may trigger such a claim. 
  • "Employers are advised to ban pranks and discourage "exclusive clubs or cliques", so workers are not "ostracized" by colleagues."
His favourite part is that "Safe Work Australia cannot actually use the words "bully" or "victim" in their proposed rules ....... felt that the terms would "label" people. The latest draft instead reads that people who behave in such a manner might be "unintentional" bullies."

He goes on to say
"They ban bullying in the workplace, making it a compensable event, but cannot label the bully as a bully, because it is apparently a hurtful and bullying thing to do. I suppose the unintentional bully could then go out on workers' comp as well, having been victimized by a mean and vicious label. At this rate it won't be long before the whole country is sitting at home pouting and waiting for a check".

Wilson states that he has "long felt a strong affinity for the Aussie population. My mental image of them is that of a rough and tumble lot, working and playing hard; enjoying life and living large". 

He concludes by saying  "I am not a proponent of workplace bullying, and do not support such behavior in any way, but these draconian restrictions strike me as absurd. At some point we have a responsibility for our own lives, and there are other remedies available to us when confronted with a real, rather than imagined, office bully".

Perhaps Mr Wilson would like to read about the nature of bullying that we have experienced at the University of Newcastle - that might change his mind about workplace bullying in Australia.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


You know that someone is being bullied
you watch someone being bullied
If you do nothing, that is exactly the same as walking by/ignoring someone who is injured or ill,
as in this video clip

If you ignore someone who is injured, their state of health may deteriorate and they may even die.
If you ignore someone who is being bullied, their state of health may deteriorate and they may even die.

We know too well that at the University of Newcastle, others knew we were being bullied but for the sake of their job position and status DID NOTHING - just colluded with everyone else in the cover-up.

Friday, October 26, 2012

For all of those at the University of Newcastle who knew of or watched the bullying and did NOTHING!

“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ 
Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ 
But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ 
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, 
nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.”
(Martin Luther King)

University of Newcastle ex-staff submissions

From the Bad Apple Bullies website:-

Submission number 8 to the National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : STOP BULLYING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE

Submission number 8 to the National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying concerns workplace bullying at an un-named Australian University : K.H (PDF 1,015KB)
The STOP BULLYING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE blog identifies KH as a former geography senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle  : http://stop-b-uon.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/no-longer-gagged.html#comment-form

Submission number 25 to the National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : Dr Michelle Adams, Newcastle University.

Submission number 25 to the national Inquiry into Workplace Bullying is identified as the submission of Dr Michelle Adams, a former senior lecturer at Newcastle University :   M.A. (PDF 1,063KB)

There are many comments on the STOP BULLYING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE website supporting the submissions made by KH and Dr Michelle Adams.

Submission 53 to the National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : Workplace Bullying at an un-named Australian University.

Submission 53 to the National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying concerns the bullying experienced by SS at an un-named Australian university : S.S (PDF 1,720KB)
SS discussed some anomalies related to a lectureship appointment (a conflict of interest, etc.) with the faculty representative in Human Resources.
"Reprisals against me were swift, immediate and devastating."
Two days after the HP meeting, SS was told that she was hostile and could not work with a team.
SS was told to relocate her office, etc.
SS is now unemployed.

Workplace envy and bullying

"Victims of workplace bullying are often different in some way to the perpetrator or some homogeneity of their current work group. In Australia, McGrath (2010a) found a relationship between workplace envy and workplace bullying, suggesting that a worker’s possession of comparatively superior traits to those of the perpetrator or group can be a risk for bullying. The results echo those of international studies, where victims were found to possess desirable difference traits such as being competent, engaged and motivated (Strandmark & Hallberg, 2007) or being better qualified than the perpetrator (e.g. O'Moore, Seigne, McGuire, & Smith, 1998). 

When such talented workers are envied, perpetrators of bullying may covertly sabotage their work, take credit for their work, remove their job responsibilities in their area of expertise, or withhold a deserved promotion. Sensitive people may be particularly vulnerable to such bullying. Given that victims of bullying often resign rather than report the bullying, the findings present an unmeasured loss of talent to the Australian economy. Indeed the true prevalence of workplace bullying in Australia is most likely obscured by the dearth of representative research data across the national population, the victims’ reluctance to report the problem and the concealed nature of many workplace bullying behaviours."

McGrath 2012 (emphasis added) - SUBMISSION 87 to the Workplace Bullying Inquiry

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Equity and diversity at the University of Newcastle

"The University of Newcastle values and celebrates diversity and is committed to providing a safe and respectful environment in which to work."

?+#@%*&()?!+#@^% CRASH ?!+%@(*#?!&%

(falling off our chairs laughing)!

Opportunity for those of us bullied out of the School of Humanities and Social Science

A number of us were "removed" from the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle (under John Germov), despite being well-qualified, experienced, with a good publication record and being hard working.

Now look what is happening?

"The School of Humanities and Social Science is seeking Expressions of Interest for casual academic work in the following
· Ancient History and Classical Languages
· Community Welfare and Human Services
· English and Writing
· Film, Media and Cultural Studies
· History
· Languages - Chinese, French and Japanese
· Linguistics
· Philosophy, Religion and Theology
· Sociology and Anthropology
· Social Work
· Speech Pathology".

Would we be considered for this casual academic work?

NOT UNTIL PIGS CAN FLY...................

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Is this why Professor Nick Saunders is so worried?

If you Google "Nick Saunders Bond University", SEVEN of the first TEN results come from our website.  The other three relate to newspaper/website reports of his appointment. Even the results about him that have been "removed" are reported.

www.bond.edu.au › About BondNews & Events
11 Sep 2012 – Emeritus Professor Nicholas Saunders AO has been appointed to the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Bond University, bringing with him ...
3 Sep 2012 – NICHOLAS Saunders has been appointed deputy vice-chancellor at Bond University. Professor Saunders retired as vice-chancellor of the ...
5 days ago – Professor Nick Saunders, ex-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Newcastle, has taken up his position at Bond University. He is the Deputy ...
10 Sep 2012 – Nick Saunders, now DVC of Bond University, has an enviable record of achievements from his time as Vice Chancellor of the University of ...
5 Sep 2012 – Labels: Bond University, bullying, freedom of speech, gagging clauses, mental health, misconduct, Nick Saunders, University of Newcastle, ...
6 hours ago – In mid-September, four posts from this blog relating to Professor Nick Saunders (now at Bond University) were removed by Chilling Effects after ...
14 Sep 2012 – FOUR posts about Nick Saunders and his new post at Bond University have been removed from this blog, after Google received a legal request ...
4 Oct 2012 – Has Bond University got out the red carpet? On Monday next week (8th October), Professor Nick Saunders will begin his new reign at Bond ...
5 Oct 2012 – Reporting on the fact that Nick Saunders has a new job at Bond University - as reported in newspapers and on the Bond University website.
7 Sep 2012 – Professor Nick Saunders, former Vice-Chancellor of University of Newcastle, has been appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost of Bond ...

Perhaps this is why Professor Nick Saunders (and possibly Bond University) is nervous about this website.

Still waiting.......

In mid-September, four posts from this blog relating to Professor Nick Saunders (now at Bond University) were removed by Chilling Effects after they received a legal request to do so.

All these posts referred to Professor Nick Saunders and his new position at Bond University - the posts merely quoted newspaper and website reports of this appointment.
A video of ours which included information on Nick Saunders was blocked by YouTube in Australia. Surprisingly, it continue to be available via Facebook - see link. 
This is the email we received about our posts being removed:-

Blogger has been notified that content in your blog contains allegedly infringing content that may violate the rights of others and the laws of their country. The infringing content that has been made unavailable can be found at the end of this message.

The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Chilling Effects athttp://www.chillingeffects.org. You can search for the notice associated with the removal of your content by going to the Chilling Effects search page athttp://www.chillingeffects.org/search.cgi, and entering in the URL of the blog post that was removed. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel.

The Blogger Team

http://stop-b-uon.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/saunders-off-to-bond-university-as-dvc.html  "
 We have still had NO REASON for the removal of these posts.  According to Chilling Effects,

"The cease-and-desist or legal threat you requested is not yet available.
Chilling Effects will post the notice after we process it."

How easy it is to silence free speech!  Video clips blocked, website posts removed, putting up posters about bullying at the University of  Newcastle prevented by Security, ...... WHAT NEXT..

Monday, October 22, 2012


The Sydney Morning Herald states that "Bullying is an issue for the whole community"  The editorial maintains that people with power and influence (e.g. Alan Jones) can look after themselves.  It is the "bullying of the powerless demands a collective response to stop it".

We do not feel that we are a powerless group but we do agree that bullying and investigations into bullying to require a collective response.  This is why we have repeatedly called for an investigation into the culture of bullying at the University of Newcastle. 

The SMH reiterates the fact that
"The human and business costs are huge: a 2010 Productivity Commission estimate put the costs of absenteeism, illness and low morale and productivity at between $6 billion and $36 billion a year. The problem is not confined to business. The State of the Public Sector report tabled in the Victorian Parliament last month found 36 per cent of public servants had witnessed workplace bullying in the past year and 20 per cent had directly experienced bullying. Only 3 per cent had made a formal complaint."

The SMH also states that
"victims must be given the confidence to report bullying, which comes from knowing complaints will be acted upon.  Only cultural change will ensure that people in positions of responsibility have zero tolerance of bullying. ... The campaign against bullying should be above party politics and include the whole community. The state can do more to raise awareness of the illegality of bullying and of the harm it does, but responsibility for change rests with all of us.

All too often, bullies can depend on the rest of us remaining silent when others are victimized. Changing this culture of passivity will take time, but the surest way to stop bullies is for everyone else to stand united against their conduct."

We have seen the culture of bullying flourish unchecked at the University of Newcastle, with most people standing by in silence or colluding in covering the misconduct.  We have been victimized because we refused to stand by silently and refused to collude in covering up misconduct.

We continue to call for an investigation into the bullying that has been happening and continues to happen at the University of Newcastle.

Why is there no-one courageous enough to undertake such an investigation?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Nick Saunders and Bond

Professor Nick Saunders, ex-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Newcastle, has taken up his position at Bond University.

He is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and is part of the senior executive group.  He sits on the University Management Committee.
If anyone really wants to know some information about him, see Bond University's website

If you want a fuller picture of what he did at the University of Newcastle, search this blog and watch the video posted here.


David Yamada, a workplace bullying expert, has asked

"Can some targets of severe workplace bullying become so angry and embittered by their experiences that they are unable to move forward in their lives?"

"In 2003, Dr. Michael Linden, a Berlin psychiatrist, proposed recognition of a new condition, Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder (PTED), asserting that a traumatic event could trigger “embitterment and feelings of injustice” that impair one’s “performance in daily activities and roles.” These reactions can be so strong and enduring that they render someone helpless to address the situation."

Yamada also notes that
"PTED rings true based on my knowledge of the experiences of some bullying targets, especially those who have experienced job loss and career impacts. At times, the anger and embitterment run so deep that they disable individuals from taking actions in their self-interest."

Yamada concludes that
" the concept of PTED helps us to understand that anger and bitterness may be natural responses to trauma and injustice, in some cases becoming disabling. "

This feeling of bitterness is often expressed by those of us bullied out of the University of Newcastle.  It is very very difficult to overcome this paralyzing bitterness and move on to do anything else with our lives.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rape vs bullying

"One would not expect a victim of rape to have to 
single-handedly identify, trace, catch, arrest, prosecute,
convict and punish the person who raped her. 
Targets of bullying often find themselves doing all of 
these whilst those in positions of authority persistently 
abdicate and deny responsibility."

Tim Field

Monday, October 15, 2012

Trevor Waring honored - for what?

At the recent graduation ceremony at the University of Newcastle, Trevor Waring, recently retired Chancellor of the university will receive an honorary degree.

What is this degree for?

Apparently the degree will be awarded in "recognition of his services to the University community".

From our experiences at the University and from contact with Trevor Waring, this degree is rewarding him for standing by, knowing that whistleblowing and bullying was taking place.

Standing by and not taking any action is unforgivable
standing by and not taking action is especially unforgivable if
  • you are the Chancellor
  • you are a psychologist
  • you have practised as a psychologist for 40 years
  • you provide anti-bullying training to companies.
At least the University is consistent - rewarding those "loyal" staff who are bullies or who know of bullying at the university.

Sorry, Trevor, we are NOT able to offer our congratulations to you for this honorary degree.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Why are we waiting?

We are still waiting for the report on the removal of four posts from this blog - all related to Professor Nick Saunders who is starting a new job at Bond University (Australia).

This is all we get from the Chilling Effects website:-

Notice Unavailable

The cease-and-desist or legal threat you requested is not yet available.
Chilling Effects will post the notice after we process it.

These posts were removed from our blog on 14th September.

We are guilty until proven innocent.  What are we guilty of?  Reporting on the fact that Nick Saunders has a new job at Bond University - as reported in newspapers and on the Bond University website.

Why does Nick Saunders consider us so dangerous when we just report the facts? .

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Has Bond University got out the red carpet?

On Monday next week (8th October), Professor Nick Saunders will begin his new reign at Bond University.

Did you want more information on him?  Sorry, the information we had on this website about his management style at the University of Newcastle has been "removed".

Who by?  Why?  What was there to hide?

What a HUGE waste of huge talent!

Many of us ex-staff/students of the University of Newcastle have suffered from ostracism i.e. they have been purposely ignored, excluded, denied information  and finally removed from the university.

"While ostracism is used for brief periods as a means of correcting conduct, the measure becomes brutally painful when done over months or even years. This form of workplace bullying carries the deepest scars and the longest recovery. It affects an individual’s very core of self worth." (White, 2009)

The effects of ostracism by the University of Newcastle means that not only are the skills, abilities and ethical standards of these academics and students lost to the University of Newcastle and its student body;  the abilities and skills are also lost to EVERY ORGANISATION AND TO EVERYONE.  If you have been ostracised, you lose all your self-worth because you are deemed not worthy any attention.  You are then not able to contribute to anything or anyone.

Ostracism is considered more harmful than overt bullying and is harder to prove.
What a waste of enormous talent to the whole of Australia!  All due to the University of Newcastle and its management team.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Workplace psychopaths

"An Australian psychotherapist is urging employers to watch out for workplace psychopaths, who he says are more common than generally thought.

Doctor John Clarke says workplace psychopaths exist in most large organisations and can isolate and mentally destroy the staff around them.  "

He went on to say that the workplace psychopath is someone

"who psychologically destroys the people they work with to feed their need for a sense of power and control and domination over other human beings.
They don't suffer any guilt or remorse, or in fact they enjoy the suffering of other people."

Many of us who have been bullied at the University of Newcastle have experienced such behaviours from heads of disciplines, heads of schools, DVCs of faculties and more senior management.  Obtaining power (and glory?) at any cost is the driving force.

Dr Clarke stated that the result for staff is a high turnover rate of staff and increased rates of anxiety and depression, even suicide.  In our survey and on this website we have had numerous reports of similar effects on staff and students at the University of Newcastle.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

This is exactly what happened to us at the University of Newcastle

Well, we didn't get thumped but our posters were removed and we were ordered by Security (Security said they had been directed by Professor Nick Saunders, then VC) to stop putting posters up at the university.

Our posters did not contravene the University's Posters and Banners Policy.

Workplace Bullying Inquiry

Submissions to the parliamentary Workplace Bullying Inquiry continue to grow.  There have now been 278 submissions from individuals, organizations,  associations, trade unions, professionals, academics, etc.

Although the closing date for submissions has long passed by, submissions continue to be made.  This is an opportunity for anyone who has been bullied at the University of Newcastle to make a submission.  You can decide if you want it to be confidential, if you want it authorised for publication or if you want it authorised for publication but your identity withheld.  As you will see from the website, only individual's initials are used and identifying details in the submissions are removed.

So far, three submissions (8, 25, 53) were made by ex-academic staff of the University.  We also know that a number of submissions have been made by current or ex-staff/students of the University - some of these have been submitted confidentially and some are still awaiting authorisation for publication.

We are still awaiting the publication of our survey on workplace bullying - 195 staff/students of the University responded to this survey.