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)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Female to female bullying

  According to the latest workplace bullying survey,

  • Men are 69% of the perpetrators and females are 31%;
  • When men bully, females are 57% of targets and males are 43%;
  • When women bully, females are 68% of targets and males are 32%;
  • Overall, women are 60% of bullying targets and men are 40%.
So women tend to do less bullying but when they do, they predominantly bully females.

"But female bullies can be subtle and craftier than their male counterparts, says Marilyn Noble, who researches workplace bullying at the University of New Brunswick.

“Women tend to use relational aggression. It’s verbal, psychological, emotional bullying. People don’t recognize it – it’s covert, it’s harder to pin down and to prove,” she says.

There’s also a lot of reputation smearing, and female bullies often manipulate others into joining them, says Diane Rodgers, co-ordinator for the Bully Within, a B.C. group of professionals who have organized to fight workplace bullying."  (emphasis added) (Toronto Globe and Mail)

Is this how the many female bullies at the University of Newcastle, particularly in female-dominated areas like nursing, language, humanities, speech pathology, social work, etc, get away with bullying?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

World Suicide Prevention day

Today is World Suicide Prevention day (declared by an agency associated with the World Health Organization).

As David Yamada, a bullying expert, states "
"Conditions at work, especially severe workplace bullying, have been linked to suicides and suicidal ideation."
  • We know that 45 people (students and staff) have considered or attempted suicide because of the workplace bullying that they experienced at the University of Newcastle.  Furthermore, suggestions are that the suicides that have occurred (stafff and students) at the University of Newcastle may have been related to bullying.
  • We know that bullying continues at the University.
  • We also know that many people who have lost their jobs at the University because of speaking out about unethical behaviour, continue to battle depression and thoughts of suicide years afterwards.
If you or someone you know or someone you work with at the University of Newcastle is expressing or hinting at suicide, contact Lifeline or visit the website of the International Association for Suicide Prevention 

This is not the time to be a bystander; remember that 

·       The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing...
Albert Einstein.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Is this your experience?

The latest University of Newcastle blurb (for example, for job adverts)

"We are a people-centred organisation 
that cares about our staff and their development".

Monday, September 1, 2014

What happens when you make a complaint to the University of Newcastle?

What we know about the complaint system at the University:-

Of 195 participants who reported being bullied at the University of Newcastle, 

  • A high number of respondents (44% or 72 respondents) had filed a formal complaint about their bullying experiences.
  • Six respondents (3%) obtained a satisfactory outcome to the investigation of their complaint.
  • Twelve percent of respondents (24 people) were told that their complaint was unjustified.   
  • Eight percent (15 respondents) have been bound to silence/gagged by the university and thus were unable to provide information.
Thirty-two percent of the respondents had outcomes other than those listed.   
  • A number of respondents reported being ostracised and isolated after reporting their bullying.  Human Resources had been involved in attempting to stop the bullying of some respondents e.g. “HR were fully aware of the situation but have not done anything to help”, “The Head of HR told the bully (his personal friend) that he was implicated in complaint”.   
  • Some respondents had no help from anyone at the university, e.g. “The situation was 'resolved' by the university telling me to stop making complaints and threatening to expel me unless I accepted the abusive situation”.   
  • A number of respondents reported being “gagged” e.g. “Provided me a written policy that I was not allowed to discuss any information about my situation inside and outside the university”,”h ad to sign a document not to discuss or sue or take class action”.
 For more detailed accounts of the complaints process at the University of Newcstle, see the submissions to the Parliamentary Workplace Bullying Inquiry:-



Other submissions from University of Newcastle staff and students were kept confidential by the Workplace Bullying Inquiry.