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)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

No surprise there, unfortunately!

A large recent survey of 22,000 university staff in Australia has shown that academics in regional universities are one and a half times more likely to be bullied than those in the Group of 8 universities.

"Disturbingly, 42% of staff at one regional university said they had been bullied. Academics reported being publicly humiliated, excluded, intimidated and discriminated against." 

No-one is saying which university this is - in our experience, many staff and students at the University of Newcastle were too scared to even complete a confidential anonymous survey.

The findings of this extensive study support our survey findings that in a regional university like the University of Newcastle, bullying, harassment and ostracism take place in a culture of silencing, gagging, favoritism, nepotism and academic misconduct.
·      195 staff and students have described their bullying experiences at the uni
·      45 individuals had attempted or considered suicide
·      bullying described as “extreme and unrelenting”, “appalling, devastating, shocking” and “offensive and embarrassing”.
·      Many respondents spoke of the bullying culture being “entrenched”,“ingrained”, “an ugly, unprincipled culture”, “bullying, nepotism and favouritism”, a “frequent management technique” or “their modus operandi in order to get their way”.
·      60 individuals were bullied because they had reported wrongdoing
·      for 36% who were bullied, no action was taken by supervisor or HR
·      72 filed a formal complaint but only 6 had a satisfactory outcome
·      Close to 20 people have been gagged by the uni
·      One third of individuals were planning to leave their positions.


  1. The important point to note as well is that the report highlights that such cultures of bullying cannot thrive without the tacit approval of the leadership structure ie. this doesn't happen where the leadership at all levels model that it is not acceptable.

    Interestingly the report also noted that those hired in competitive processes (ie not those hired by their mates) are subject to worse bullying. The increasingly rapid turnover in recently hired academic staff at UoN can be viewed in this light ie. staff hired from elsewhere who within 1-4 years depart.

  2. After being bullied at the University I struggle with major depression and anxiety everyday. I have actually wished the bullies had actually killed me instead of leaving me like this.

    I used to.have a future, I was optimistic and full of enthusiasm. Now I am broken beyond belief, medicated to the eyeballs with brain numbing medicine and I constantly think about suicide. I don't want to live like this. I don't want to have to try and pull all of the broken pieces back together. The pain is too much.

    If you are extremely poor and vulnerable people treat you very badly, you are last in line for everything, including mental health treatment.

    People around me talk about their hopes and dreams and how they feel like their lives are constantly enriched and positive. They feel loved and accepted and their contributions are accepted.

    My own life is a cycle of hopelessness, isolation, mental illness and poverty. I don't want to do this anymore. If they wanted to humiliate me they have succeeded. I don't want to have to ration food or hope that someday I will have enough money for something other than food and rent.

    If I die I won't have to keep suffering. Someday I will die and then I will be at peace.