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)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Veterans beware - Saunders is still smiling!

Our previous Vice-Chancellor, Nicholas Saunders, has just been appointed as chair of the Repatriation Medical Authority.

"The RMA consists of a panel of five practitioners eminent in fields of medical science. Their role is to determine Statements of Principles (SOPs) for any disease, injury or death that could be related to military service, .."

So Nick will be deciding what factors must exist in veterans to cause a particular kind of disease/injury/death.

Nick will be making decisions about stressors - these are "negative life events, the effects of which are chronic in nature and cause the person to feel on-going distress, concern or worry". 

According to the RMA, the stressors listed below may cause depression, anxiety, etc.
  • "being socially isolated and unable to maintain friendships or family relationships 
  • experiencing a problem with a long-term relationship including: the break-up of a close personal relationship, the need for marital or relationship counselling, marital separation, or divorce;
  • having concerns in the work or school environment including: on-going disharmony with fellow work or school colleagues, perceived lack of social support within the work or school environment, perceived lack of control over tasks performed and stressful work loads, or experiencing bullying in the workplace or school environment;
  • having severe financial hardship including: loss of employment, long periods of unemployment."

This sounds like our experiences at the University of Newcastle - oh sorry, my mistake! - according to the uni under Nick Saunders "this did not happen"!

Will Nick get rid of these "principles" at the RMA because they "do not exist"?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Anti-social Network: Australia - the Facebook bullying capital"

This headline (Herald Sun 24th January 2012) is one of many similar recent headlines.

“AUSTRALIA rates number one in the world for bullying on social networks like Facebook, according to a global poll”.

“The Ipsos Social Research Institute survey of 24 countries ranked Australia worse for bullying than all of the European countries, along with the US, Britain and China.”
We have had reports of Facebook bullying at the University of Newcastle.  Of course there is other cyber-bullying happening here -
  • many senior managers often just ignore emails from anyone who has made a complaint and/or has been bullied. 
  • some in very senior positions do respond BUT they state that they will no longer respond to these emails.
More evidence of "ignore the problem and it will go away".

Is this a senior manager from Uni of Newcastle? (Picture)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Response to "Fallout from bullying follows you home"

Dear Anonymous/”lecturer in Psychology at a foreign University"
Participation in our blog is welcomed – we do not “silence” people.  Your second comment is still there!

In fact, if you read the archives of this blog you will see the only reason your previous comment was removed was that it was directed at Michelle Adams (who comments on this site using her name and not hiding behind being “Anonymous”) and you included your interpretation of the details of your friend’s relationship. 
On this website, we allow the facts to speak for themselves, the facts that we have evidence for  - evidence that could be used in the legal system. 
We have had many reports of the effects of bullying on families and friends.  We know that the fallout is huge and difficult to manage.  Your friend, the ex-partner of a bullied victim, is very lucky to have your support. 
By all means continue to comment on our blog – you could even use your real name! 
However, please find another forum for your personal attacks on specific people when you have no evidence.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Shifting sands"

Re Suspended Academic

Professor Jin and his lawyer are finding that
"the university had changed the way it described the case against his client"

Also Jin's lawyer stated that "It's the shifting sands, the movable feast, that has characterised the way the university has dealt with this since the beginning of the year".

Many of us have experienced the "shifting sands" and the ever-changing methods of the university.

Many of us have had similar experiences when dealing with the university.

Will we ever know what is really happening?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Suspended academic may face police probe "


"Suspended academic may face police probe

POLICE may be called in to investigate a Newcastle University academic, Jesse Sheng Jin, over expense claims made against research grant money, according to Fair Work Australia documents.
Professor Jin's barrister, Tony Slevin, told the Fair Work Australia tribunal that his client, who denies any wrongdoing, faced not only possible charges of serious misconduct but also referral to police and the Independent Commission Against Corruption."

What is going on here????

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

News on the effects of bullying get worse and worse

The stress of the bullying may itself lead to bad decision-making – see http://www.livescience.com/11176-stressed-teens-adults-respond-differently.html

Too much stress can produce serious damage to the heart, the vascular system, the immune system and changes in some areas of the brain. See

Many of the common strategies used by people to cope with bullying may be counterproductive - the strategies they use actually further increase their stress instead of reducing it," see http://www.huliq.com/3257/bullying-work-unaddressed-problem-affecting-millions-american-workplace

Work-related stress, including low job control and social support at work and greater job strain may increase the risk of dementia, particularly vascular dementia.  This increased risk occurs regardless of age, gender, education, work complexity, manual work or vascular disease.  See http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03777.x/abstract

A few more reasons to end the bullying culture at the University of Newcastle

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Workplace bullying is bad for business" (Yamada)

According to a recent article by Professor David Yamada, "workplace bullying exacts a heavy price in employee productivity, morale and dignity. Research indicates that at least 60 percent of America’s workers will face such behavior during their working lives and that supervisors are the likely aggressors. Some will experience health impairments such as clinical depression, high blood pressure and even symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder".  (There are many reports on this blog of the significant physical and psychological effects of bullying at this University ).

He recommends three steps to minimize bullying.

"1. Send a message that bullying is unacceptable. The message must come from the top. Specific measures include drafting and implementing policies related to workplace bullying, offering in-house educational programs and presentations, and using effective “360-degree feedback” systems to evaluate supervisors.

2. Empower HR to handle bullying situations fairly and forthrightly. One of the most common remarks from targets of bullying is how the human resources department is “useless” in handling complaints about bullying and, in some cases, turned out to be complicit with the bullies. Effective preventive and responsive measures by HR are key components of any anti-bullying initiative.

3. Remove destructive bullies. Even if an incorrigibly abusive individual happens to be key in attracting business, increased productivity through better morale and less time lost to the gossip mill may make this a sound decision from a purely cost-benefit standpoint."

At the moment it seems that the University is acting contrary to these steps.  Although there are relevant and appropriate anti-bullying policies, HR and the complaints office collude with the bully.  As for "removing destructive bullies", the University of Newcastle awards the bullies with significant promotion and/or funding.

University of Newcastle, are you listening??

Monday, January 9, 2012

Good news !!??!!

Can there ever be good news about bullying?
Well, the good news at the moment is that workplace bullying is in the news.  The new draft code on workplace bullying (SafeWork Australia) has received considerable attention in the press. 
  • Safework Australia has received 70 submissions regarding the bullying code (out of 331 submissions regarding the new OH&S  code).
  • The ACTU has said that the new anti-bullying proposals don’t go far enough.
  • Employers have criticised the draft code of practice on workplace bullying because small businesses may be unable to introduce some of its proposals.
The new Federal Workplace Relations Minister, Bill Shorten, has also spoken out about workplace bullying stating that "Workplace bullying is a crime.  It can't be tolerated at all".
Have a look at these linked publications and REMEMBER, you can have your say (directly to SafeWork Australia, to Bill Shorten or via comments on these online articles).
Help to keep this issue alive until there is progress made against workplace bullying at the University of Newcastle and other workplaces.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The fallout from bullying follows staff home

A new study from Baylor University has noted that bad bosses "follow you home and stress out the entire family".

This study found that "the stress and tension caused by an abusive boss at work also filters through to an employee's personal relationships and ultimately the whole family. When people reported having an abusive boss, their significant other was more likely to report increased relationship tension and family conflict at home. "

No surprise there!  A review of the comments on this blog tell us the same findings. 

This is important - the bully not only affects the person who is bullied; it spreads out to their partners, children, other relatives, friends, etc etc.

How many marriages/partnerships have been destroyed by the University of Newcastle's ability to ignore bullying?

How are children affected when a parent is bullied?

How do you respond when your child says "You told me always to stand up for what is right but look what has happened to you.  Standing up for what is right is not worth it."?

PS - See this new article on "Is your job ruining your marriage?"