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)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

No surprise yet again......

"The University of Newcastle Clubs and Societies is using the legislation governing the Students Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) as the cover for a discriminatory attack on the democratic rights of students who belong to student clubs associated with political parties."

"(The SSAF) contains the stipulation that funds raised from the fee cannot be used to support political parties or the candidacy of a person for any political office."

"Now, for the first time at any university in Australia, University of Newcastle Clubs and Societies is re-interpreting the SSAF to justify proscribing political activities that have been carried out on campuses for decades." (emphasis added)

"On February 17, Rowena Grant, the Clubs and Societies Coordinator for UoN Services Limited*, the public company that provides student services at University of Newcastle campuses, sent an email to political student clubs,

"In the email, UoN Services Limited* asserts:
  • Due to the political nature of your student club, we thought it imperative to inform you of the rules for O Week 2014 on bringing any political members—be they members of federal or state parliament, or candidates for political parties—on campus.
  • If political members are found to be present at the Expo, they will be asked to leave and your student club runs the risk of losing their booking at the Expo…
  • This is due to the Student Services and Amenities Fee legislation, which specifies that SSAF funds may not be used to support a political party.
  • Our interpretation of the SSAF legislation is that bringing a political member to the Expo is supporting a political party….”
 "This is an open attempt to curtail the activities of all political clubs"

"UoN Services* is implementing a profoundly discriminatory policy. Non-political student clubs can invite whoever they like to take part in their O-Week and other activities, as is their democratic right. Religious clubs, for example, have the unquestioned right to invite non-student members of their faith to talk with students and participate in services. And no-one would dream of opposing the right of sporting clubs to invite non-student athletes to encourage students to take up their particular sport."

 It is utterly absurd to allege that the presence of members of parliament or election candidates on campus means SSAF funds are being donated to a political party.

"..the positions of UoN Services* are an affront to the intellectual and cultural traditions of universities. It used to be commonplace for student unions and clubs to organise political events where politicians debated the issues of the day. And student-organised candidate forums were once a feature of federal and state election campaigns, with representatives of political parties invited to face student audiences to outline their policies.

"Whether UoN Services is conscious of it or not, it is establishing a profoundly reactionary and anti-democratic precedent."

What is happening to  "the democratic right of students to engage, without management interference, in political activity on campus"?

This action is in line with the silencing of whistleblowers, gagging clauses on ex-staff and denying freedom of speech which many of us have already experienced at UoN.

* UoNS is now a public company limited by guarantee, a controlled entity of the University of Newcastle, and is governed by a Board of Directors which includes student representatives, University appointees and independent directors with expertise from various business sectors.

1 comment:

  1. This action doesn't surprise me. The education sector is a vastly growing enterprise and to be honest people didn't suddenly get smarter overnight. Think of the academic bell curve.

    The University now wants you to submit to their politics without a adequately voiced opinion or stance of your own. They can then manipulate you at will without fear of reprisal.

    Free speech and student rights are being assaulted. If you disagree with management they can simply eliminate you without any form of appeal.

    I would not like to part of a racial or sexual minority or from overseas or disadvantaged at that place at the moment.

    The irony is Universities were once the places where people learned to think and act for themselves. Now it is the opposite.

    University life at Newcastle now includes having a Subway lunch and Gloria Jeans coffee as part of the deal. Products from multinational companies that do not give a shit about the consumer are freely available as part of the UoN experience.

    I'm sorry they don't get my money or my respect. The University is thriving on exploitation which I find unacceptable.