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)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Let's be clear.....

In her opinion piece in the Newcastle Herald, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle, Caroline McMillen said regarding bullying that

"What can start out as an interpersonal conflict can sometimes spiral and firmly held professional opinions can lead to strong disagreements. "

If the Vice-Chancellor/university media had conducted even a brief search of the research into bullying, she would have found that terms such as "Interpersonal conflict" or "personality clash" are standard rhetoric used used to deny or dismiss bullying. 

Here are a few examples:-
  • Calling bullying a personality clash "is an infringement on target's human rights and a denial of his/her dignity."
  • "A personality clash is where two people of equal rank or status or value or power don't see eye to eye. Bullying consists of a pattern of persistent, daily, trivial, nitpicking criticism, isolation, exclusion, undermining, discrediting, setting up to fail, etc on a target who the bully has disempowered and disenfranchised. HR departments frequently write off bullying as a "personality clash", much to the delight of the bully who is always trying to heap all the blame onto their target."
  • "Personality clash is used to deny or discount the experiences of those being bullied or used as an excuse to avoid getting involved."   
We are happy to provide the University with extensive information on bullying and its implications if they need any clarification on these issues.

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