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)

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.


  1. While they found the person who told the truth or raised the issues up in the UoN, they, those top staff / officers including those PVC, DVC and VC (N Saunders) put their attention or spirit to fight with the whisterblower, and entitled the person anything / any names they could do / would like to do and then kick him or her out of the UoN. In this way, they could cover their own misconducts or bad behaviours. And at the end, every single time, they would tell you that this is confidential, "be careful", "you can not tell anybody".
    You were bullied but you could not say a word, otherwise you breached "confidential". what is that rule or the law for? the law is to pretect the innocent people not to be victimised by the bad behaviours but not to cover the truth, protect the bad behariour to be exposed, using a word "confidential".

  2. At the UoN, there was a place called "discipline committee", Nick could nominate somebody, a "senate" to run it.
    The committee basically do whatever Nick or DVC/PVC want them to do in this so-called committee, and do a favour of their friends / brothers from the School, Faculty, or UoN.
    In this way, you can see they bonded together as an "organisation". If they think they should get rid of you, you made too much trouble for them or you saw / knew what you should not know or see (or you had raised the issues up which might be a killing point for them), then you should be punished or "assessed and judged as a trouble maker". You are "honour" to get this title before you are on your way out.

    Have a look the senators: the "Associate Professor" who was promoted from lecturer in 2009, then a senate for the UoN in the same year; however, he has no publications for such a promotion (from 2004 - 2009, 5 years in UoN), and a lot of complaints in each academic year from students in School of Pharmacy (as ex- head of the School, Dean of Students and Complaint Manager recorded), about his poor administration and teaching practices.
    Why he, such a personnel, could be promoted and why he was promoted then put in such a position for the UoN. It was because they, the senior officers such as Nick and PVC/DVC need his help to fight with the other staffs or students as a payback. Of course, if I were Nick, I would do the same. Create such a position for this person, then wait for the benefit from him, he might get me a position while I am retired or my relatives - wife or son or daughter might get something from him.

    1. Anonymous October 30, 2012 9:42 PM

      we have to back you up on your claims. We are a group of people exclusively devoted to scrutinising the members of the Senate and the "functions" they perform.

      We have noted with alarm one executive member of the Senate from the DVC (A&GR) era who has been a "specialist" in chairing the Uni's "external" and "independent" program review committees for the School of Humanities and Social Science and in all the review committees he has chaired, he has "delivered" the goods strictly ordered by the DVC.

      BTW, the recommendations of the review committees also specifically served the interests of disciplines dominated by academics from or representing the interests and agendas of the same country of origin as this Senate executive himself.

      We hope the new VC watches this space carefully because we see this university (and Australia) being fast divided along the old colonial lines and it is a threat to our multicultural society despite all the Uni's posturing of equity and diversity.