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)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Caroline McMillen's opinion on the Workplace Bullying Inquiry

Further to the post below about trying to get a comment published on the Uni's blog, a comment which was awaiting moderation for 13 days has not been published.  Zero comments published so far.

Here is the text of the comment:which was not published.

"Congratulations to Caroline McMillen for emphasising on her blog how unacceptable online bullying/cyber-bullying is.  She has highlighted the online attacks on Julia Gillard and Charlotte Dawson and states that these "have suddenly shone a light on the subterranean and cowardly world of anonymous online bullying."

We agree totally with her on this.

Julia Gillard (as reported by Anne Summers in a lecture) has suffered immense cyber-bullying.  Apart from sexist and demeaning photos, Julia Gillard has been called a witch, a bitch, a liar, a lying c--t, and a useless oxygen thief, and more.  Slogans have included "Hang Gillard", “If I wanted a greasy red box I’d go to KFC ya slut”,"We need her to bleed out”, “an unproductive old cow” etc etc.  More examples can be read and seen in the transcription of Summer's lecture.

What about Charlotte Dawson, a self-confessed fashion and social personality?  The cyber-bullying she suffered was mostly in the form of Twitter messages.  These included "stick your head in a toaster", "kill yourself", "go hang yourself", etc.  Even though Dawson is sometimes involved in controversial issues (e.g. "she was among a panel of fashion "experts" passing judgement on footballers' wives and girlfriends' outfits"), the comments made to her on Twitter are totally unacceptable.

These two women, singled out by Caroline McMillen for their experiences of cyber-bullying highlight the role of social media in unacceptably denigrating and bullying prominent people.

In contrast, the social media when used appropriately has a huge role to play in changing society for the better - we only have to think of the role of social media in the Middle East as people try to achieve democracy in their countries.  Also the role of social media in Australia has been the instrument of change in a number of successful campaigns (see Change.org).  Email, facebook, Twitter and blogs (like this one) have an important role to play in keeping society informed about what is really happening in Australia - often that information is not available elsewhere.

We continue on this blog to keep the public informed and to highlight any anomalies and absurdities that we observe.  However, unlike some blogs which delete critical comments by readers  (e.g. the  University of Newcastle blog), we do provide a forum for people to express their views (which may NOT be OUR views) on their experiences of bullying at the University of Newcastle.  People who have been bullied out, silenced and ostracised have very few opportunities to express their views or describe their experiences."

1 comment:

  1. I have also submitted a comment to the UoN blog....which alas appears to be under long term moderation! I suggested that admitting to the problem of bullying at UoN may be a positive step in beginning to address it. As an academic working in the UK it's been a refreshing change to see such a united and organised opposition to bullying. Perhaps there should be a pan university network against academic bullying/ mobbing.