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, July 19, 2013

Silencing and guilt

At least 16 people who have suffered various forms of harassment at the University of Newcastle have been forced to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Confidentiality agreement, gagging clause, silencing, ........

It does not matter what you call it.......

A gagging clause means that the University is guilty.

Otherwise why would they pay people to keep quiet???


  1. And for the privilege of VOLUNTARILY signing a confidentiality agreement one must totally destruct other people in their life in every way to provide justification for their actions. I hope these people have achieved their goals, if not with the University, but in their Psyche, knowing what they have done.

  2. Former UoN senior lecturerJuly 23, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    Five years ago I signed a confidentiality agreement with the University of Newcastle. I agreed not to take legal action against the University or discuss my employment.

    But there was nothing VOLUNTARILY about it.

    For over three years I had been placed under a punitive punishment regime; social and professional isolation - no academic duties; and threatened with dismissal of "serious misconduct" if I interacted with staff and students in my School or entered by previous workplace building.

    And my crime to warrant such punishment? I had made an allegation that I was being bullied by the Head of discipline.

    To this day I still feel sickened by the way in which I was put under such duress to assist the University in covering up such despicable workplace bullying.

  3. If you say that a person VOLUNTARILY signed a confidentiality clause, you are saying that the University of Newcastle goes around happily offering money to people for no reason. Why is the University even offering a payout if they have nothing to hide?

  4. I don't think anyone signs a confidentiality agreement "voluntarily". The report written following the Senate Inquiry into Workplace Bullying was, quite appropriately, titled, "We just want it to stop". I think this title reflects how people must feel when they sign a confidentiality agreement with their employer after being bullied out of their job. I think about what these people go through, the issues with Worker Compensation, endless doctor assessments, legal interventions, and the tremendous stress of losing their career, incomes and often their mental health and self respect. I can imagine what it is like after years of being in conflict with an employer that is more powerful and has more resources than they do. I can appreciate the psychological impact of all this on the victim. In the end I imagine for these victims of psychological torture, the signing of the confidentiality document, to end the "pain", is similar to the response of the physically tortured who admit to crimes they did not do, or who ask to be killed. I know the people around the victims suffer too, but in the end only the victim knows their own pain and the limits of their pain. We shouldn't be making judgement of the victim.

    There is only one judgement we need to make. We should be judging the motivation of the employer enforcing such a document in a settlement with a victim of Workplace Bullying. Common sense says paying a "settlement" is acknowledgment of wrong doing. Enforcing a "confidentiality document" is simply trying to cover up the extent of the wrong doing.

  5. I think I know which school the senior lecturer who posted previously about is talking about. That head of school is simply put, a sociopath.

    The school under the current head of school is in crisis. Also, I believe if the bullying by this head of school continues there probably will be a suicide or another major incident.

    Clearly the university is not interested in preventing bullying. Employing a bully to front an anti bullying campaign is another clever strategy to protect the very bullies who have created so much distress.

    The fact that the University is paying people to stay quiet means that sooner or later the whole thing is going to blow open in a very ugly way. The standard of education under these bullies is dropping as they are more interested in power than helping others. Plus the university will have to try a lot harder to shut everyone up.