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.

Help make a difference –

*answer our survey,

*contribute to the blog, or

*contact us.

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, September 29, 2013

Gagging clauses

The University of Sheffield in the UK has reportedly spent over GBP 1.8 milllion on "gagging orers" on former staff members in the last five years.

"The agreements are used when the University is in dispute with a staff member and are made through a voluntary process where both the University and the employee are legally represented. But unions fear that employees may sign compromise agreements because they fear the stress associated with taking legal action or remaining in work.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) said: “We are seriously concerned that the new legislative provisions on the admissibility of settlement offers and discussions in unfair dismissal cases will send a signal to employers that they are free to sack staff for arbitrary reasons without needing to follow a fair disciplinary procedure."
"A former University employee who signed a compromise agreement told Forge Press: “Such is the stress of taking legal action against powerful organisations that many employees choose to sign a compromise agreement containing a gagging clause rather than pursue legal action and put their health in jeopardy.” "
At the University of Newcastle, 15 people reported in our survey that they had been gagged by the University.    As well as these fifteen individuals, we have had additional reports of ex-staff being gagged.
We estimate that each of these were given around $250,000 or more e.g. additional funding into their super.  This amount is low compared to the payouts of senior executives who have had their contracts paid out - these executives earn over $350,000 per year.
Conservatively this means that the University has spent $3.75 MILLION (15 x $250,000) on getting ex-staff to keep quiet about what happened to them.  A number of those gagged reported being harassed and bullied for exposing misconduct.
Unlike in the UK, NO-ONE in Australia seems to be concerned at this use of taxpayers' money.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

MMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmm!! Now you see the new CIO Mark Pigot, now you don't.

Mark Pigot, who was appointed as Chief Information Officer in IT at the University of Newcastle following the resignation of Mary Sharp, has left after FOUR months.

A hot-off-the-press article in CIO by Stephanie McDonald reports that Mark Pigot has left some weeks ago but he declined to comment.

"He was appointed CIO in June this year following Mary Sharp’s resignation in February to take on a new role as head of IT for UTS Insearch, a Sydney-based higher education institution and pathway provider to the University of Technology Sydney.
University of Newcastle image
 Ann Walters, associate director IT services, has been appointed acting CIO, according to a staff directory. She was also appointed acting CIO following the departure of Sharp."

Apparently, Pigot had been director of ICT infrastructure and operation at the University of Sydney. 

The article further states that

"He was appointed to the role of CIO to lead the University of Newcastle’s strategic plan to be a global leader in education, research and innovation by 2025.

Pigot previously told CIO Australia the university is planning to establish a building in its Newcastle city campus that allows teachers to pilot new technology-driven learning styles, such as flip and blended learning and massive open online course."

According to McDonald's article, the University has been asked for comment.

When he was appointed, the University of Newcastle said that he
"will bring skills and experiences across all aspects of IT including infrastructure, applications, client services and governance to the new Chief Information Officer role," said University of Newcastle Chief Operating Officer, Nat McGregor.

"His professional experience extends to multinational organisations, including working with Reckitt and Colman, where he developed the global IT infrastructure strategy. Also with AMP, he was responsible for developing the organisation's first integrated IT risk management strategy. We look forward to the improvements he will bring to the University of Newcastle."

What exactly has happened here?
Are we just suspicious because of what we have experienced, seen and heard?
Has anyone any information on this?  
All comments or contact via email welcome - stopbullyingat-newcastleuni@live.com

And how much did he get to leave??