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
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)
Monday, July 30, 2012
Almost one-third of respondents to our survey (total of 195 respondents) had been whistleblowers - they had identified wrongdoing of some kind and reported this. According to the University of Newcastle's Policy 969, staff and students "should report any wrongdoing they witness within the University of Newcastle".
Furthermore, according to the Uni's Code of Conduct, "members of the University community:
(i) are encouraged to seek advice on reporting any behaviour by
staff, students, or others (who have a significant association
with the University), which could be considered unfair, unjust
or unreasonable; and
(ii) should report behaviours or activities that could be considered to be
corrupt conduct, maladministration, serious and substantial waste of
public money, misconduct or illegal".
These people followed university policy - so what happened to them? They were then bullied and many subsequently lost their positions or had difficulty continuing with their studies.
The University of Newcastle has an extensive library of policies (have a look) - are these just for show so that senior management can say "We've got a policy for that"?
Friday, July 27, 2012
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
- "Bullying goes beyond everyday rudeness and incivility—it’s repetitive, enduring, and escalating, entwined with perceived power disparities and matters of intent"
- "Explicit workplace bullying entails yelling, name-calling, belittling of opinions, insults, inappropriate jokes, false accusations, verbal and nonverbal intimidation, spreading of rumors, public humiliation, discounting of accomplishments, destructive criticism."
- “workplace bullies use organizational tools to help them bully,”... Such actions include threatening disciplinary action and job loss, giving poor performance appraisals, assigning unreasonable amounts of work, shifting deadlines and other goals, stealing credit, laying undue blame, allotting busy work, creating unrealistic demands, and micromanaging."
- "Often, acts of omission inflict the greatest harm: Withholding necessary information and resources, removing job responsibilities, preventing access to opportunities, holding back praise, raises, and promotions, and excluding one from meetings are among the more clandestine acts of aggression."
The bullying experiences at the University of Newcastle reported to us in our survey or in comments on this website certainly fit into these descriptions of workplace bullying.
To clarify the "grey" areas around workplace bullying, Bar-David, a workplace consultant, uses the following test:-
“Here’s the test I use to make the gray fade away,” Bar-David says. “If you looped a video of a manager engaging in the behavior, would you be willing to proudly display that video above your establishment’s entrance?”
So, would the University of Newcastle be willing to put clips of the bullying behaviour we have reported on their website or include it in their promotional videos?
Friday, July 20, 2012
- "workplace is increasingly subjected to the emotional standards formerly associated with the playground".
- UK sociology professor Frank Furedi says "virtually every challenging and unhappy experience can be rebranded as bullying".
- "The diagnosing of assertive management styles, plain speaking, undiplomatic behaviour, sarcasm or normal bitchiness as claims for legal intervention and for financial resources implies adults possess the emotional and moral resources formerly associated with children".
- items stolen from locked offices
- access to offices during working hours not allowed
- a survey of colleagues' attitudes to a member of staff
- refused access to research data from government-funded grant for over 3 months
- being hit for not signing a document before reading it
- sexual harassment
- loss of research funding
- blocking of promotion
- leave refused
- supervisors reporting other' work as own
- exclusion, ostracism, isolation and blacklisting
- being physically injured
- discrimination based on race, sexual orientation
- being ridiculed openly in meetings for following university policy
- being told you will fail in front of your fellow students.
Only one of these is a submission from a person who has been bullied.
Other submissions from individuals who have been bullied, including some from ex-staff/ex-students of the University of Newcastle, will appear soon.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
The submissions authorised for publication can be viewed or downloaded from their website. Most of those that have been authorised for publication are from unions, organisations, societies, lawyers, etc.
Unfortunately details are being deleted from the submissions before they are authorised for publication. A number of ex-staff from the University of Newcastle have made individual submissions and there is also a submission based on the survey conducted at the Uni. Although there will be submissions from other Australian universities, those from the University of Newcastle should be identifiable.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
- some people who are bullied are misfits and should just leave
- Brodie Panlock's bullying was the result of a love affair gone wrong
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Auckland street is the closest cross street. Click here for map
Michelle Burgess, Director of the Workers Health Centrer in Sydney and Newcastle will be attending.
If you are interested in attending please contact John on (02) 9749 7566 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org
HC online reports that
"According to Stephen Smith of Ai Group, there is a lot of misunderstanding of what workplace bullying actually is. "For example, it is not widely understood that workplace bullying is a problem that primarily falls within the jurisdiction of work health and safety regulation, which has a strongly preventative focus, and not anti-discrimination or industrial law, which deals with discriminatory or harassing behaviour in respect of a specific protected attribute,” Smith commented.
He added that the statistics show that many complaints about workplace bullying turn out to not be valid -- for example, if an employer disciplines a poor performing employee in a reasonable way that is not bullying even though the employee may think that it is".
Monday, July 16, 2012
Here are a few links to some of them.
- "Bosses lack courage to stop bullying" (NSW WorkCover receives more than 5000 calls a year about bullying)
- Tougher penalties needed to make employers take responsbility for workplace bullying (ACTU's submission)
- ACTU wants jail terms for bullying (ACTU submission)
- Working too hard for bully boy boss (Unions NSW)
- Psychopath bosses (Report from Tasmania)
- Workplace bullying is on the rise, inquiry told (Tasmania)
- Victims urged to dob bullies (Tasmania)
- ASU calls for the adoption of a nationally harmonised workplace bullying policy (Australian Services Union)
Brodie Panlock's parents spoke at the Public Hearing in Melbourne and Monash University also made a submission.
In a timeous article, TIME magazine have reported on workplace bullying and provides research findings from nurses in Canada (Workplace Bullying: The Problem — and Its Costs — Are Worse Than We Thought)
- Darwin Tuesday 17 July 2012,
- BRISBANE:Wednesday 18 July 2012
- ADELAIDE:Tuesday 7 August 2012
- PERTH: Wednesday 8 August 2012
- CANBERRA: Friday 17 August 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Unless the bullying culture is dealt with, it is hard to imagine that the Uni will "attract the brightest intellects in the world and bring in millions of dollars in research and development funding" as McMillen wishes.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Here is what the Daily Telegraph had to say about it:
Bosses "lack courage to stop bullying"
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
What the research found was that employees want to leave their jobs if there is bullying in their workplace, even if they are not victims of such actions themselves.
Bullying is like a stone thrown into a pond - the bullying stone has major repercussions on the victims close by but the ripples keep spreading and spreading throughout the organisation and affecting other employees.
Monday, July 2, 2012
Imagine if the University of Newcastle allowed valued those of us with education and ethics rather than getting rid of us for reporting plagiarism. misconduct, etc.
Close your eyes and think how good the University of Newcastle could be!
A new Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) is being recruited.
We could provide a few criteria for applicants -
- No, plagiarism is not OK
- No, getting rid of people who report plagiarism is not OK
- No, seeking power rather than focussing on teaching students and research is not OK
- No, rewarding and/or promoting staff who collude in bullying and harassment is not OK
- No, encouraging staff to collude in cover-ups is not OK.
- No, hiding behind "policies" is not OK