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, August 16, 2013

Report from University of Sydney student

"Dear Sydney University Vice-Chancellor and Principal,

I’m an international student, today Thursday, 15th of August at 1:40 pm, I was verbally abused, intimidated and bullied by a women claiming to be one of your Sydney University psychology professors who was tending a table for one of your student societies. I am a postgraduate student, in all of my time spent at universities here and abroad, I have never experienced such venomous abuse or threatening behavior. The event was so sickening and bewildering, I felt horror-struck to the point of vomiting and felt the necessity to film it as a way of protection. At this time, the women and her associates became more abusive and bullying and screamed at me to put my camera away and abused with “fuck off”, “asshole” and a variety of other belittling terms. I have since contacted my Embassy and the NSW Police to report the incidents and have found, that any student being abused or threatened, has the right to film the offenders. For this reason I have attached the photo of the professor and her associates who were involved in the incident which took place on the Sydney university campus. I have also passed the video on to the media in my country, which I have a right to do.

At 1:40 pm, I entered the Sydney University campus from southern side of Eastern Ave and was approached by a female standing in front a table, which she introduced as the Socialist Alternative Sydney- Red Flag group (please see attached photo).  She invited me to sign a petition for refugees, which I gladly did. During this time, she attempted to engage me in conversation about an upcoming universities cut protest. I was uninterested in being pulled into this conversation and as she persisted with it, a dark haired, heavy set, old women in a denim jacket (see attached photo) approached and took over the conversation. She introduced herself as a professor teaching psychology and went off on a tangent about how miserable her life was because the university admission was so horrible to her and her associates. As she continued to loudly rant on about a series of other issues, which didn’t involve me; I became uncomfortable and gave her my view and informed her that it was no concern to me and I didn’t wish to be involved, which I am entitled to do. At this point the women went into a rage and told me to fuck off, called me an asshole, a scab and a series of other belittling names. Feeling frightened I video and photographed the events from my phone, at which point she quickly moved away from the table and continued to loudly abused me. At the same time her associates demanded that I stop filming and became further aggressive with loud verbal abuse.  

Like most international students studying in Australia, I do not feel that the professors in this country are very well trained or professional, (this woman’s violent out burst towards me was a excellent example of how unbalanced a lot faculty and staff are in Australian Universities). As an Aboriginal student from another country, I am also always disappointed with the racism presented by professors towards all indigenous people. From a psychological standpoint, I feel that this woman has some serious mental health issues. Her bullying and demeaning manner is unsafe for the classroom and would perhaps result in a horrendous experience, which would be damaging for the well being of other students, as it was for me.
For this reason, perhaps the budget cuts are a good way to weed out some of these non-professional and aggressive tormenter professors.

As I mentioned, I have never experienced a more unprofessional, frightening or abusive experience at any university, in any county. The occurrence has sickened me, humiliated me in front of classmates and damaged my personal well-being. After speaking with friends and students who witnessed this despicable event, I’ve contacted my family, Embassy and university at home and been advised to make an official compliant. I have been advised, “that because at this time I do not feel comfortable with the staff at Sydney University, I do not wish to give my full details, until I am contacted by someone from a proper office within the University, who will assist me with the right to make a complaint in a safe and non-treating environment”. I would like someone from the university of Sydney to please contact me so that I can report this issue and make sure that violence like this never happens to another student on you university campus again.

Its rather sad and disappointing that a major university would allow these vicious incidents to take place on their campus. Students should be protected from such violence from professors and their associates. For this reason I have chosen to cc’d contacts on this email as a I have a right to do. I have done this because I am horrified by the abuse I received and I strongly feel that it is important to warn other universities, so that their students don’t come to this country for the same type of disappointing experience. Its no secret that Australian universities seem to be filled with what appears to be mentally unstable and abusive people on its campuses, if you were to interview students you might became aware that there are a lot of abusive people on this campus who should not be around students. The callous experience is wasting student’s time and money, and the only ones who seem to be profiting are aggressive and bullying professors and your associates. That is not right!

I await your reply and assistance to report these incidents."

Sent by "studentunisyd"

We await the response of the University of Sydney with interest. 

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