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, December 11, 2012

Counselling increase supports our workplace bullying findings

An article in the Newcastle Herald has provided detailed support for our survey findings of stress, bullying and anxiety at the University of Newcastle.

"UNIVERSITY of Newcastle staff are seeking more psychological counselling as the stress of increasing student numbers and job insecurity take their toll.

The Newcastle Herald can reveal that an average of three  employees started  counselling sessions every week last year.

And nine staff lodged workers’ compensation claims for work-related psychological injuries between January 2011 and March this year. Six were accepted by the university’s insurer.

Figures obtained under freedom-of-information laws (Government Information Public Access)  show 227 people, including 160 staff and 67 relatives, saw psychologists for counselling last year.

This included 79 people who sought help for anxiety, 33 for depression and 59 for stress. The figures did not distinguish  between staff and relatives or work- and non-work-related problems.

By comparison, the number of staff and relatives who accessed counselling services in 2005 during the university’s radical restructure and job cuts was 126.

At the time, psychology professor Tony Winefield, the author of a 2002 report into workplace stress in Australian universities, described the figure as ‘‘high’’.

National Tertiary Education Union Newcastle branch president Suzanne Ryan described the  pressure at Newcastle University  as ‘‘extraordinary’’ and said rising staff stress aligned with growing student numbers.

She said decreasing job security, due to an increase in casualisation, was also a contributing factor.

‘‘There is increasing pressure on university staff to deal with more and more students of more and more varied backgrounds, it is a very stressful environment,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘It is important to note that these figures are not a true reflection of the problem because many people battle alone and don’t seek help.’’
Other academics confirmed high levels of stress were commonplace among their colleagues, but declined to be identified for fear of affecting their job prospects.

 A university spokeswoman said the institution’s success ‘‘depends very much’’ on staff well-being.

She said the university provided a ‘‘comprehensive range’’ of health and wellness initiatives, focused on enhancing staff physical, mental and emotional health.  "

For the full article, see the Newcastle Herald website.

Can the VC continue to deny the situation at the University?
Can she still refuse to meet with us to share our information we have and use it constructively to move on to a better workplace?


  1. Can the University spokewoman explain why academics why specifically superior qualifications, expertise and experience have been bullied out while there's so much deadwood retained there?

  2. Comment on the Herald article by Thomas Morrison:

    I agree. The current administration appears to be running a media campaign rather than a university.

    There has been an explosion in official university blogs (which are really media releases dressed up as blogs, Google clickbait) and in official media releases. These are all simply designed to change community perceptions with little if any substance to them (that is, spin).

    It is clear that McMillen is moving more toward online learning programmes — she has said as much. The university should concentrate on getting what it has working properly rather than embarking on grandiose new ventures.

    University of Newcastle, home of spin.

  3. I wonder why this people have fun bullying other people?