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)
Friday, November 30, 2012
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.
Bond University has welcomed Emeritus Professor Nick Saunders AO as its new Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
He brings to the University a distinguished and outstanding record as an academic scholar and senior manager. He began his appointment in October.
Professor Saunders (below) was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle for eight years. He has held other senior academic roles within Australia including Dean of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University; Head of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine at Flinders University.
He also has served in positions at McMaster University in Canada and Harvard University in the United States.
Bond University’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford says Professor Saunders is highly respected within academic, health and government networks in Australia and internationally.
“He has led a remarkable international career in medical education and research and has contributed significantly through his participation on councils, committees and government review boards,’’ says Professor Brailsford.
Professor Saunders holds a medical degree with first-class honours from the University of Sydney. He has been influential in the advancement of medical education through his extensive contribution to, and participation on, many higher education, research and health care national committees, councils and State Government bodies."
P.S. NEWSFLASH - Bond University has announced that "Up to 24 staff at the university could be made redundant as part of a cost-cutting exercise." The redundancies will affect academic (up to professorial level) and administrative staff.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
"In this context, the comments of the Standing Committee in relation to the controls around cyberbullying were perhaps the less developed component in a comprehensive report. Anne Summers, at her Human Rights and Social Justice lecture at the University, recently detailed the utterly unacceptable online bullying of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. This together with the recent vicious attacks by ‘cyber trolls’ on Charlotte Dawson in social media have suddenly shone a light on the subterranean and cowardly world of anonymous online bullying. It appears that trashing one’s colleague from the comfort of one’s sofa on the pretence that anonymity is somehow a necessary protection may represent the next frontier of workplace bullying."
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Workplace psychopaths show a cluster of personality characteristics as well as antisocial behaviours. According to Clarke (2005), these include
- lack of remorse or guilt
- criminal behaviour
- prolific lying and deception
- manipulation of other people to get what they want
- lack of conscience
- superficial charm and good intelligence
- grandiose sense of their own self-worth
- lack of emotion.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The "committee singled out "psychologically abusive group behaviour" in which workers banded together to try to drive a worker from their workplace, as a particular concern. The phenomenon, known as mobbing, was most prolific in nursing and teaching".
This mobbing behaviour has been of specific concern to us - employees of the University of Newcastle collude with each other to cover-up any report of misconduct - thus the cover-up continues through the ranks from the individual involved in the misconduct, through heads of discipline, heads of school to Pro-Vice-Chancellors of faculties, human resources, and into senior management, including the Vice-Chancellor.
It is bad enough when one person tries to cover-up their misconduct but a million times worse when the whole organisation colludes together to protect their position and hold on power. What does that say about the bullying culture endemic in the University of Newcastle?
To view the video or read the transcript, go to the ABC.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Some of these submissions were treated as confidential by the inquiry. However the submissions 8, 25 (plus 25.1, 25.2, 25.3) and 53 were made by ex-staff of the University of Newcastle. These submissions can be read in full at the Workplace Bullying Inquiry website.
We will also be publishing the results of our survey of the bullying experiences of 195 respondents at the University of Newcastle.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
New book on Workplace Health and safety from within the ranks of the masters of LACK of workplace health and safety!
Workplace Health and Safety Law in Australia"Workplace Health and Safety Law in Australia provides an introduction to the law of workplace health and safety in Australia and offers clear concise commentary on all aspects of related civil and criminal law. Written by Neil Foster, an expert in the area of workplace health and safety law, with a foreword by the Honourable Justice Roger Boland, President of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, this text is an invaluable resource for business and law students, legal professionals and senior business managers alike."
PLEASE give some complimentary copies to Professor Caroline, McMillen, Professor Kevin McConkey (somewhere in China) and Professor Nick Saunders (now at Bond University). Perhaps you could develop a professional development quiz for them to complete to test their knowledge of this area.
Another case regarding a student has been reported in the Newcastle Herald.
The silencing by the University follows a predictable pattern - discrediting, ostracising, removing staff from their positions, removing students from their studies, "gagging' clauses, etc. It comes as no surprise that in our survey only 3% (of 195 respondents) obtained a satisfactory outcome to the investigation of their complaint.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Complex Consultancy Services has concluded after the recent high profile workplace bullying cases that "by opting to try and resolve the issue in house the complaint has escalated to the legal system".
They advise that
- "Each claim needs to be graded in terms of severity & how it should be handled. The complaint grading process needs to incorporate a number of issues including the severity of the allegation and the hierarchical levels within the organisation of those involved in the complaint.
- Trying to sweep issues “under the carpet” is a dangerous path to follow.
- The person making the complaint must feel they are going to get a fair hearing and that there will not be any recriminations against them for bringing the issue out.
- Similarly trying to protect an individual within the organisation
who has a workplace bullying or sexual harassment complaint laid against
them by keeping the matter in house can often backfire. The accused
person is entitled to have a fair and balanced hearing about the
allegations. In many cases this is best achieved by external mediation."
Why is no-one prepared to take on the University of Newcastle? Would they act differently if this was a commercial organisation? Why is the widespread bullying at the University of Newcastle ignored both within and without the organisation?
Friday, November 16, 2012
Monday, November 12, 2012
Wow - if you google the University of Newcastle, this blog comes up second! At least we are managing to alert potential staff and students about the bullying culture at the University.
Businesses pay a lot of money to get such a good result.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
"Isolated acts. If you are subject to a single incident of unreasonable behaviour, it’s unlikely to be classified bullying. Addressing the behaviour before it is repeated is the best way to manage the situation; conflict in the workplace can progress to bullying if left unchecked."
The notion of isolated acts requires some consideration. Our experience at the University of Newcastle is that there may be many isolated acts that combine together into bullying. For example, you speak out about staff misconduct/unethical behaviour - you are ostracised by one of your colleagues, then the next, then the next. Then any complaint you make to the Head of School gets no response. Then individuals throughout the uni in various relevant positions (e.g. PVC of the Faculty, DVC of Academia, Head of Human Resources, Vice-Chancellor) all individually decide to ignore/ostracise/not respond to you.
Surely all the individual acts of bullying (such as at this University) combine into an even more destructive and hazardous form of bullying and make reporting/complaining about the bulying behaviour even more impossible. You have to take on the whole university machine, not just one person who has repeatedly bullied you.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
"Australia’s worker’s compensation scheme is fast becoming one of the worst in the developed world."
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
As you would soon realise, this has nothing to do with bullying at the University.. It relates to the new campaign called "Be Bold and Stop Bullying", aimed at young people.
According to the uni blog,
"Bullying is rightly back in the spotlight".
From what we see with the number of visitors to our blog, bullying was never out of the spotlight..
"Be Bold and Stop Bullying encourages all of us to take a stand against bullying and is designed to educate parents, teachers and our youth about actions to empower young people and teach them to stand up if they are being bullied, or if they see bullying in action"
Well we know of a number of young people (students) who have been bullied at this University.
The University of Newcastle’s Family Action Centre has been working with schools and parents for more than 10 years on this "critically important social issue". We applaud their work and we would like to see it being applied in the University as well, for students and staff.
"More importantly, Be Bold and Stop Bullying is a platform for us to work together as a community to build resilience against bullying in its many forms."
Please can you explain to the senior management of the university what bullying is, how it is manifested and what can be done to prevent it. We want an adult version of the "Be Bold and Stop Bullying" for the University of Newcastle. As can be seen from this blog, the University is in DESPERATE need of it.
Monday, November 5, 2012
"It used to be, 'If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,' " "Now it's, 'Why is the kitchen so hot?' What is not understood is the gravitas of psychological injury that bullying can cause. It can destroy a person's ability to work, it can destroy their sense of self. Families and relationships are destroyed. It can be deadly."
Also, re workplace culture (makes us think of the University of Newcstle) -
"Yet Wyatt believes bullies may not be solely to blame for their behaviour and that we are all capable of it, given the right circumstances. She identifies several factors which may motivate someone to bully, including competitiveness, envy, compensating for deficiency, complying with management philosophy and, hard as it is to believe, being oblivious to what they are doing.
Evelyn Field added that
"Bullies don't want to be seen as incompetent. They're very insecure, and if you do something that threatens them – if you're too good at your job, for example – they'll attack. It's the law of the wild. They don't mean to destroy your life; they're just protecting themselves." But getting rid of the bully is not the solution. "It's about leadership," adds Field. "People pick up the name of the game. It's up to the leaders to say, 'We must treat people with respect.' " (emphasis added)
Friday, November 2, 2012
"I've won the one against Parliament, the one against Orkopoulos and the one against the State of NSW.
‘That’s what I wanted – justice. It wouldn’t have been right to have lost this case.’’
Gillian has shown much dignity and courage and her victory is an important one for justice and fairness in Australia.
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