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)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Justice is possible in Australian academia!

A court has found that Professor Judith Bessant had been unfairly sacked.

 As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, it has been determined in court that RMIT "had likely fired Professor Bessant after she made allegations of bullying and intimidation against another professor, David Hayward."

"RMIT University was fined $37,000 by the Federal Court for breaking workplace laws, and ordered to re-hire one of its professors."

"In deciding the case, Justice Gray also said he took into consideration the ''apparent determination'' by RMIT Vice-Chancellor Margaret Gardner to ''ignore her knowledge of Professor Hayward's animosity towards Professor Bessant''. Professor Gardner displayed a lack of contrition for what the court found to be a blatant contravention of workplace laws.

The National Tertiary Education Union said the ruling was a warning that all employers must not use ''sham redundancies'' to get rid of staff, when the real reasons would not be allowed by the Fair Work Act. Victorian secretary Colin Long said the judgment provided a telling insight into the management culture at Australian universities."

''The approach taken by the [RMIT] to getting rid of [Professor Bessant] will be all too familiar to university staff across Australia,'' he said.

Dr Long said the decision also reflected the ''group-think'' prevalent in Australian university managements, aimed at silencing dissenters and backing bad decisions."

This type of action is very familiar to those of us who have been harassed and silenced by the University of Newcastle.

Professor Bessant noted that 
'academics have both a right and an obligation to speak out about the concerns they have about the way social institutions are working,'' she said.

Academics at the University of Newcastle do not enjoy such rights nor are they able to fulfill such obligations.

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