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)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Bullying is not OK, even if you are Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson" ...... or an academic or staff member of the University of Newcastle

"How astonishing it has been to watch prominent members of the political and media establishment defend the obnoxious, bullying and possibly criminal behaviour of TV celebrity Jeremy Clarkson after he assaulted a colleague." SMH

True, and also.......

How astonishing it is to watch prominent members of the University of Newcastle defend the obnoxious, bullying and possibly criminal behaviour of senior academics and senior management at the University of Newcastle after they have bullied, harassed and ostracised other staff and students.

Monday, March 30, 2015

"Glamorisation of thuggery" - supporting bullies and eradicating their victims is the name of the University of Newcastle game

So the BBC is not renewing Jeremy Clarkson's contract, despite the millions the Top Gear program makes.

According to the ABC "Outsiders" program, Clarkson's behaviour represents the "glamorisation of thuggery", also accorded to sportsmen and other angry white men.

"What sort of behaviour is considered socially and culturally acceptable in a mature contemporary society?" (Outsiders, Sarrah le Marquand)
Yes indeed.

The following behaviour is reportedly (quoted from our survey) considered socially and culturally acceptable at the University of Newcastle:-

  • This bully lies to me, steals stuff from my desk, shouts at me when noone else is around, is extremely two faced, thinks they own everything in the building, is extremely messy, there's more.
  • Swearing at me and hit me when I denied to sign the document without reading.
  • The worst experience was when I was dismissed from a position after inadvertently uncovering a serious breach of security procedure by a senior manager. My dismissal was orchestrated through intermediaries, with no contact with the bully. My humiliation was greater than the monetary loss.
  • I initially reported what was a clear and simple case of student plagiarism, but within a couple of days (before any evidence had been seen or the complaint passed up beyond the School level) the victimisation started. I was branded a troublemaker and the plagiarist was simply an innocent victim who should be supported by the School. Anyone suspected of supporting me was attacked. Lab samples were "dissappeared", lab and office space access denied, rumours were generated and threats were made.  
  • Having my work/ideas passed off as my boss' work.
  • Being marked down in a work review for not working unpaid overtime (becuase I have family committments after work).
  • Expectation that I work as an RA (unpaid) while I completed a PhD. I was lead to believe that I needed to work 2 days per week as an RA on my supervisor's research project to receive my scholarship
  • I have had my job threatened all year - told if I do not work all public holidays and some weekends which required then I will lose my job 
  • Being lied to. Having items stolen from my desk drawers.
  •   Ridiculed behind my back when in another room on several occasions. Embarased in front of others about the quality of my work for most of the semester told in front of others I did not have a hope in hell of passing the exam.
  • Intimidated from and reprimanded for following university safety procedures
  • My experience with some senior staff at the Uni was appalling, devastating, shocking. It has left me feeling too distressed to continue my research.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The University of Newcastle could learn a thing or two from the BBC and its treatment of Jeremy Clarkson

A man verbally and physically abuses another member of staff - that is not unusual.  BUT the man concerned is Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear, an internationally renowned TV program. 

Top Gear is extremely lucrative for the BBC.  Despite this, the BBC has gone ahead and refused to renew his contract.  YES - THE BBC HAVE ACTED AGAINST THE BULLY!

At the University of Newcastle, a staff member can abuse another member of staff or a student.
  • What happens to the bully?  Promotion, awards, support of colleagues.
  • What happens to the bullying target? Harassed further by other members of staff up the chain and ends up probably without a job, possibly gagged by the University, in poor mental and physical health and unable to work or continue their studies.  
  • Does it make a difference that Clarkson abused the producer in public?
  • Does it make a difference that physically abused the producer?
At the University of Newcastle, it does not seem to matter if the bully abuses another person in front of staff or students.  It is still the target who is destroyed.
Physical abuse, which does not often happen in the rarefied academic atmosphere of the University of Newcastle, is totally unacceptable.
However, the type of bullying favoured by the University is exclusion, isolation and ostracism - research shows that this has a more negative effect on the target than verbal or physical bullying.

The University of Newcastle LOVES rankings - where would it rank in the NOT-ACTING-AGAINST-BULLYING rankings????

Monday, March 23, 2015

David Yamada writes

"One of my central observations is that many of the "best" workplace abusers -- the ones who get their prey and continually evade being held responsible -- are calculating, committed, and smart planners. With task-oriented surgical precision and detachment, they plot and scheme. Like the serial killer who manages to escape capture, they're usually a step or three ahead of everyone else.
Some enable themselves by occupying positions where they can devote "quality time" to planning. While others do real work or otherwise conduct their lives, the expert bullies use chunks of time to assess and strategize, often obsessively so. They also find ways to access, control, and manipulate information and resources to which others, especially their targets, are not privy. This means, of course, that they need organizational sponsors who enable them or at least let them have free reign."
Does this sound familiar to those of you harassed, bullied and ostracised by staff at the University of Newcastle?
Power-hungry staff who will use and abuse anyone who gets in their way to the top.
Power-hungry staff who know the other power-hungry staff who will collude together to destroy anyone who gets in their way.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

University of Newcastle and plagiarism

"The University of Newcastle - ... - confirmed it had expelled two students and suspended a further eight for using the MyMaster service. A total of 31 students were found to have breached the university's academic misconduct protocol, deputy vice-chancellor Andrew Parfitt said."

Does the University of Newcastle only take action when students plagiarise?

Does the University of Newcastle only take action when these issues are raised in the media?

What happens about the plagiarism by academic staff (yes, staff) and students at the University?
  • senior lecturer reported plagiarism "against two fellow academics" (lecturer subsequently gagged by the university".  Six years after she made it, her complaint was upheld.  However the University of Newcastle said the plagiarism was only 'minor' and the offender got nothing more than a slap on the wrist"
  • senior lecturer "supported a student in a plagiarism claim, this time against another student" (lecturer subsequently gagged by the university).
  • lecturer told by senior academic staff to "ignore student plagiarism" (lecturer lost job at university).
  • casual staff member recently "watched another casual be dismissed for uncovering student plagiarism and preventing a cover-up"
  • "one former Newcastle academic at the rally said she had complained about plagiarism and been told to "shut up about it" "
  • "two academics fro the Graduate School of Business are accused of not attributing a student's work in an application for a research grant"
  • "I initially reported what was a clear and simple case of student plagiarism but within a couple of days ... the victimisation started.  I was branded a trouble maker".
  • Blowing the whistle on plagiarism has almost always been at the centre of this unacademic and unethical behaviour by administration, starting with the victimisation of Michael Spautz who discovered a colleague had plagiarised his doctoral thesis."
  • "Two of my fellow colleagues.. have been removed from teaching positions... The first was removed after reporting plagiarism from a student to the course co-cordinator, and then the head of school when nothing was done about it.  No action has been taken on the plagiarism, but the tutor was given a warning, and told they will not be invited to teach the course again."
  • and more
  • and more.....
Gary Kennedy (previously of Trades Hall Council) stated that "I have no doubts the university has problems with bullying especially with sexual harassment and when people speak up about plagiarism".

What about the Bayley-Jones doctoral degree scandal - she was awarded a PhD despite the fact that she had already submitted the same work for a degree at a British university.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

University of Newcastle ranked 37 out of 39 Australian universities

The University of Newcastle, as we know, loves rankings (whilst professing not to compare itself to others!).

In the latest rankings, the University is ranked at number 37 in Australia.  Why?

"The university was built in the middle of a mosquito-infested swamp. Smart move."

Do they mean "swamp" as in

"a tract of wet, spongy land, often having a growth of certain types of trees and other vegetation, but unfit for cultivation."
 "A situation or place fraught with difficulties and imponderables"
Perhaps this definition is more apt than we first thought:-
  • "growth of certain types" (of people who bully, collude and cover-up)
  • "unfit for cultivation"!
  • "fraught with difficulties and imponderables" !

Friday, March 13, 2015

Monitoring this website

Image result for wasting tax money 

How much does the University of Newcastle pay Google to monitor this website?

Does the public know that it is their money that is being spent on this EXTREMELY DANGEROUS website?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

University of Newcastle flying high in the rankings

The University of Newcastle loves its rankings - a quick look at the uni website will confirm this.

So..... good news for the University.  It can be ranked up there with the National Health Service in the United Kingdom.

Many of the "dangerous" behaviours identified in an investigation into the iconic National Health Service are exactly the same as those found at the University of Newcastle - 
From the NHS investigation report:- 
  • workers "who blow the whistle on substandard and dangerous practices are being ignored, bullied or even intimidated in a 'climate of fear.'" 
  • "staff who have sounded the alarm about dangerous practices have found themselves shunned, suspended and sacked by hospital bosses instead of having their concerns taken seriously. "
  • "I’ve spoken to people who have not only lost their jobs, their livelihood, they’ve not been able to find other jobs to do. And I’m afraid in some cases have felt suicidal and become ill as a result.”
These are eerily similar to those behaviours and consequences identified in our survey, in submissions to the Parliamentary Workplace Bullying Inquiry and comments on this website.
BUT (and it is a BIG BUT)
Spot the difference!  
The NHS is implementing new procedures to create the right conditions for their staff to speak up and to deal with matters when things go wrong. 
The University of Newcastle continues to deny that bullying takes place and will not meet and discuss issues with staff and students.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Visitors to our site

We have now had over 190,000 visitors to this website.

The majority of visitors have been from Australia, followed by the USA and then the United Kingdom.

No doubt there are some individuals who frequently visit this website - senior management at the University of Newcastle, Google Headquarters from Mountainview, California (thanks to the University of Newcastle) and maybe even some of those staff members that have harassed and bullied us. 

190,000 visitors is impressive and indicates the extent of interest in bullying at the University of Newcastle.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Celebrating International Women's Day - now here are some women who should be celebrated!

On International Women's Day we applaud the over 115 women (current or past, students or staff) who lead their field in exposing the misconduct and corruption at the University of Newcastle.

These women have paid dearly for doing that but their consciences are clear - they have been harassed, victimised and bullied for what they did but they know that what they did was right.

On International Women's Day, the University of Newcastle should NOT be celebrating those women employed by the University who were the bullies, who collaborated and colluded with the bullies, or those who stood by and watched what was happening without taking a stand. 

These women give feminism a bad name because their way of hanging on to power was to "play with the boys", even if that meant collaborating with the old boys' network and destroying other women.

Some years ago, the University of Newcastle published their book entitled 100 women (edited by Kevin McConkey!!).  We have our own publication of 114 women.

Bringing together stories from women staff and students right here at this university, 114 Women exposes the bullying, harassment and discrimination at the University of Newcastle of one hundred and fourteen courageous women.  Women profiled include staff and students like teachers, social workers, scientists, speech pathologists, language experts and other women who have suffered as they work conscientiously and competently at the University. 
In their stories, women provide the details of why they have been bullied, the effects on them, their work and their families, and the cronyism and corruption that the University tries to keep hidden.  From eminent staff to undergraduate students, the women in this collection will horrify and disturb you by sharing their personal stories of considering suicide, suffering physical and psychological difficulties, losing their work and income, being ostracised and gagged.
For any upcoming celebration, 114 Women is the perfect gift for family and friends of all ages. It will provide a nightmarish but thought-provoking picture of what is really happening right here at the University of Newcastle.
This is a free publication – All details provided at http://stop-b-uon.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 6, 2015

The University of Newcastle defines what bullying is and then ignores it when it happens

University of Newcastle provides examples of workplace bullying on their website:- 

We have received many reports of these examples of workplace bullying.
 “Examples of workplace bullying”
Some examples reported to us of  bullying behaviours experienced at the University of Newcastle
physical or verbal abuse towards a person or group of people
- Swearing at me and hit me when I denied to sign the document without reading.

My manager has told me she hates me in front of others, said she is going to punch me,
- I consider myself a strong person, but having felt death was the only way out of the abuse I have been subjected to,
- My personal contact details (phone number and personal email address) have been abused by this person to intimidate and harrass. After he initially sent me offensive messages when he was drunk one night I spoke to my supervisor and her surpervisor and an agreement was reached which hasn't been carried out. 

yelling, screaming or offensive language
- And she screamed, so loud that the whole office heard it. "Hey you .... you are supposed to do this yourself not lab manager. I have told you before... I have told you before these students..... etc".
- shouts at me when noone else is around,
- supervisors yelling at students.

- My manager …yelled at me for things that are not my fault in front of others,

spreading rumour or innuendo about someone
- I have learnt that the rumours and allegations are still being spread despite my absence.

- A co-worker has been given the 'silent treatment' from another colleague who spreads nasty rumours and makes unfounded allegations. They have been spoken to about it but it doesn't make much difference. It makes for a very difficult work environment when there is constant malicious rumour spreading and unprofessional behaviour.
- Lab samples were "dissappeared", lab and office space access denied, rumours were generated and threats were made.

- Never mind the total lies she had made up about me, the rumours she had started about me and a (much older) colleague

excluding or isolating staff
- Several occasions staff members excluded by being spoken over or their views disregarded.

- other staff members who are not part of the ruling elite have been pettily reprimanded, excluded etc, they have left at the end of last year.

- Both staff members were sidelined and isolated. Their authority stripped.

- My situation involves silent bullying; isolation, no support when a student should be receiving support. It's impossible to prove

- I was punished (enforced isolation and loss of career) for exposing misconduct/bullying

- I have also had other committee members openly ridicule me at meetings for insisting on correct OH & S procedures and rules, then intimidate me further by slandering me in online forums, using standover tactics and other intimidating behaviour.

- I believe it is illegal to work 14 days straight but I have felt so intimidated that I felt I had to do so.

unjustified criticism or complaints
- Working many more hours than one is paid for is common in academia, but doing it with constant criticism and hostility is something different again

- I have witnessed gossip, unsubstantiated criticism and discrimination that goes on regarding this new staff member.

- Most of all, they treated me as worthless, constantly criticised my work in a way that was not at all constructive, and spoke badly of me to their peers and mine.

psychological harassment
- One of the students has been even threatend by the Offie of Graduate Studies to be chased out though legal channels if she doesn't stop fighting against the Univrsity

- I applied for a change, only to be told by the people in charge that they didn't believe me and insisted I stay with XX. Eventually I was threatened with expulsion if I didn't stay with them.

- The situation was 'resolved' by the university telling me to stop making complaints and threatening to expel me unless I accepted the abusive situation

undermining work performance by deliberately withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
- Same boss dominating her own PA and numerous staff reports (privately) of being 'cut off' (left out of work discussions/meetings/emails) or ignored, as well as unapproachability of this boss

-Examples of bullying are speaking to the person in a derivative tone, withholding information the person needs to do their job, not approving leave.

deliberately changing work arrangements, such as rosters and leave, to inconvenience a particular employee
- giving me time-consuming duties (my duties are constantly changed) which taking me away from my real responsibilities

- She now is endeavouring to change my whole job/role, change my work hours and force me to do what she wants with no negotiation.

- As the 'bully' is also my manager she has the power to refuse leave, decline to renew my contract, affect my work arangements, refuse applications for promotion, etc.

- Leave not approved.
 So ......
Respondents to our survey experienced the bullying behaviours defined by the University of Newcastle.
  • 41% of 195 respondents told their supervisor or manager about it 
  • 28% spoke to Human Resources (28%) 
  • 24% spoke to their union (24%)
  • Therefore Human Resources was aware of at least 55 cases of bullying and the union of at least 47 cases. 
  • 44% (72 respondents) had filed a formal complaint about their bullying experiences.
So what did the University of Newcastle do?
  • For 36% of respondents, no action was taken by their supervisor or human resources
  • 8%  (15 respondents) have been bound to silence/gagged by the university and thus were unable to provide information.
  • Only 3% (6 respondents) obtaining a satisfactory outcome to the investigation of their complaint.
The same old story - as long as a policy exists is all that matters to the University of Newcastle.    No need to actually follow or act on the policy.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

What sort of a workplace is the University of Newcastle?

The Pro Vice-Chancellor of a faculty at the University of Newcastle describes the treatment of someone who was bullied out as "victimisation".

A senior manager describes the University of Newcastle workplace as "toxic".

A Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle states that he is "only" the Deputy Vice Chancellor and therefore cannot do anything about the bullying.

... and nothing happens........

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How would management at the University of Newcastle cope?

"Workplace bullying is a severe denial of one's dignity, an offense that tramples over livelihood and personhood." (Yamada)

"..we are talking about a form of interpersonal abuse" (Yamada)

  • What would senior management at the University of Newcastle do if they were bullied at work?
  • How would senior management at the University of Newcastle cope if they were bulied at work?
  • What would senior management at the University of Newcastle do if they were ostracised from their work and their colleagues and others they have collaborated with?
  • What would the senior management at the University of Newcastle do if they were suddenly without a job?
  • How would the senior management at the University of Newcastle manage their depression and suicidal feelings?
  • How would the senior management at the University of Newcastle cope with losing friends and family relationships?

Can the senior management at the University of Newcastle look at themselves in the mirror and have a clear conscience about what has been done to so many of us?

Monday, March 2, 2015

How do you solve an organisation's problems?

An organisation has a management issue with the harassment and victimisation of whistleblowers.
 What do you do to solve the issue?

The University of Newcastle 's way to deal with such issues is to

-  get rid of whistleblowers
-  gag whistleblowers
-  ignore senior management who use terms like "toxic" and "victimisation" to describe the University
-  get your lawyers to shut down a Youtube clip about bullying at the University of Newcastle.

This anti-bullying group's attempts to deal with these issues has been to

-  gather information from past and current staff and students as to the nature of their treatment (195 respondents).
-  raise these issues with management at the University of Newcastle
-  ask for a meeting with Caroline McMillen, VC of the University.

Anyone raising the issue of bullying has been criticised by Caroline McMillen for 
 "trashing one’s colleague from the comfort of one’s sofa on the pretence that anonymity is somehow a necessary protection."
On the basis of this, Caroline McMillen refused to meet our group, stating that it was her own policy not to meet with anonymous people - despite us giving her our names and despite her responding to us by name.

Good management skills?