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, November 23, 2016

"Rape, attempted rape, and other sexual misconduct" at the University of Newcastle

"THE largest ever Freedom of Information investigation into reports of rape, attempted rape, and other sexual misconduct at Australian universities shows most victims have been wasting their breath reporting their abuse."

We have had reports of sexual harassment and abuse at the University of Newcastle from both students and staff.  What happens when people report this?  Does it vanish into a big black hole like most misconduct at the University of Newcastle, particularly if it is staff misconduct?

In this FoI investigation by Channel 7, there were 14 reported cases at the University of Newcastle.  Two people were suspended and there were two expulsions.

What about all the other cases?  We know that international students who have been sexually harassed by professors and other senior staff have had their complaints silenced within their school or faculty.  We also know that school heads have evidence of sexual harassment by staff but the university will not take any action.

At least the University of Newcastle is consistent - any misconduct, particularly by members of staff, must be silenced, those who make complaints must be gagged, destroyed and vaporised.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Keeping the Bentley in petrol!

Staff, both professional and academic, are in uproar about the university-wide restructure that is aimed at cutting professional staff jobs.

"This restructure follows a constant stream of no less than 15 major, formal, reviews and restructures of organisational units across the university over the past three years", according to Associate Professor Tom Griffiths of the NTEU.

All the usual empty slogans are being trotted out by Caroline McMillen, the Vice-Chancellor:-
  •  "agile solutions’
  • ‘greater flexibility’
  •  “embracing changes”
  •  “ensuring that we’ve got the best organisational and professional support at the university for what is a changing academic enterprise”.
  •  “It's a conversation … about thinking through different changes that might come and how do we handle that. 
The results of the annual "Your Voice" survey have not been released.  "However Professor McMillen said the survey was being released in a more targeted way than in the past" Newcastle Herald.

Is this because the results will demonstrate the low morale of staff and their lack of confidence in the university management?  "This is unprecedented, and reflects very poorly indeed on management,” Professor Tom Griffiths said.

"The available evidence, in fact, suggests that the university’s senior leadership may be in crisis.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) is leaving at the end of this month, and despite significant notice, interim arrangements to cover this role were announced just this week.

The Faculty of Science and IT last had an ongoing leader back in 2014. Since then, no fewer than three acting or interim leaders have been drafted to hold the fort.

The leader of the Faculty of Business and Law is due to leave next year, and again it appears likely that instead of a timely and considered succession, interim arrangements will follow." (Newcastle Herald)

The senior managers at the University enjoy astronomical salaries as well as bonuses which they award themselves when they do a good job.   The current Vice-Chancellor, Caroline McMillen, gets around $900,000 a year.

She needs that to keep putting fuel in her Bentley!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Calling all those who have been sexually abused at the University of Newcastle - Submissions on sexual assault and sexual harassment at university

The Human Rights Commission is conducting an investigation on sexual abuse at universities. 

"The Australian Human Rights Commission is calling for submissions relating to individuals’ experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment at university. This is part of a major project being undertaken by the Commission which is looking at the nature and reporting of sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities."

You can make a submission via their website - here.

Closing date is Friday 2nd December 2016.

All information they get will be de-identified so that no-one can be identifiable from their submission.

"photo of a head of school's you know what", "cyberstalking", "physically spying on me", etc etc

Here is another shocking account of bullying at the University of Newcastle.

"I can finally reveal why I was bullied.

I was sent a photo of a head of school's you know what and he wrote that if I didn't "do something" about it he might refuse my application for post graduate study.

He used to look at me in such a dirty, leery way that I honestly tried as much as I could to avoid him. There was one time he saw me walking away and since apparently no one is allowed to do that he decided he would humiliate me.

My postgraduate application was later rejected and the reason was that it was at the head of school's discretion.

I provided the University management with evidence he had been cyberstalking me and physically spying on me but they did nothing.

I asked for further clarification and it was refused.

I am not prepared to let a dirty old man sexually subjugate me in exchange for an education.

The only reason I am posting the information here is because the University have refused to acknowledge what happened. They often discredit the victim's story and then cover the whole thing up.

The University refused to acknowledge Facebook evidence as valid and yet when I approached the police they said it was a matter for the University." (emphasis added).

Monday, November 7, 2016

Is this about the University of Newcastle?? "The mantra of bad organizations: “That’s in the past, forget about it, let’s move on”" (David Yamada)

David Yamada writes

"When a dysfunctional organization seeks to move on from one failed chapter to the next, one of its biggest challenges is ensuring that the mistakes, miscues, and injustices of the immediate past disappear. After all, accountability can be brutal, especially for those in charge, so why must the previous events and actions muddy up everyone's boundless excitement for the glorious future?
Thus, the message is sent from on high: It's a brand new day. We can't afford to dwell upon the past. Let's move forward with our great new leadership ideas initiatives slogans!
Those who aren't on board with the regime facade change may be marginalized or worse. They may even disappear and be rendered unpersons to help erase institutional memories that are best forgotten.
This pattern occurs over and again at lousy organizations in every sector, public, private, and non-profit. It is the tactical refuge of bad leaders who somehow get repeated chances to screw up. Sadly, it also appeals to the words of philosopher George Santayana, for organizations that cannot remember their past are surely doomed to repeat it, typically with recurring negative consequences."
Yamada must have been writing this about the University of Newcastle - champions at getting rid of anyone who raises legitimate ethical issues.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sexual assaults and the University of Newcastle

"THE largest ever Freedom of Information investigation into reports of rape, attempted rape, and other sexual misconduct at Australian universities shows most victims have been wasting their breath reporting their abuse.
Only a tiny fraction of reported incidents in the last five years have resulted in any serious disciplinary action against offenders." (news.com)

"the universities themselves admit that the overwhelming majority of students who have experienced rape or harassment never report to their institution, meaning the figures uncovered by the FOI represent just the tip of the iceberg".

University of Newcastle: 14 reported cases, 2 suspensions, 2 expulsions noted

"(due to under-reporting, figures are not indicative of the actual rate of sexual assault, harassment or misconduct, and that higher report rates may reflect better reporting mechanisms. Therefore these results are primarily useful for understanding the proportion of disciplinary actions that were taken in relation to formally reported incidents in the last five years. These figures have been provided courtesy of Channel 7. Lack of disciplinary action may be the result of an inability to substantiate a complaint, or some other cause)." (news.com)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Academic to appeal commission's ruling - University of Newcastle

The Newcastle Herald reports the following:-

A former University of Newcastle academic who repeatedly swore during a lecture will appeal against a Fair Work Commission ruling to uphold the University’s right to sack him. Dr Colin Wilks was dismissed on Oct 26 last year for, among other things, saying ‘f…’ on several occasions during a lecture dealing with mental health issues on August 1 2014. He appealed the [university's] decision to sack him, however, the Commissioner found he had failed to meet the standards he was required to meet in his dealings with staff and students.

Dr Wilks, who had taught at the university since 1992, said he had been bullied by several staff members after he aired concerns relating to the introduction of a Theology Degree.

This, he said, had a significant impact on his mental health.

He said he was appealing the decision because, among other things, he did not believe the Commissioner adequately considered the circumstances that led-up to his outburst.

"This case has always been about bullying" Dr Wilks said.

“I only did the things I did because I was under extreme pressure"

A student who attended the August 2014 lecture complained to the university that she had been distressed by Dr Wilks’s conduct and by the view he put forward about mental health.

While Dr Wilks acknowledged that he swore he said the the [student who complained] "did not say anything about the fact I had sworn" and had misunderstood the point he was making about mental health.

“What she interpreted me as saying is that people who are mentally ill choose to be mentally ill, but that was certainly not what I meant” he said"

There is a Facebook page which has been set up to support Dr Wilks:-

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"Be nice"

Google has finally concluded that the key to good teamwork is "being nice".

"the best teams respect one another’s emotions and are mindful that all members should contribute to the conversation equally. It has less to do with who is in a team, and more with how a team’s members interact with one another." (Aamna Moden, Quartz)

Just think how different the workplace at the University of Newcastle would be if there was just a little respect, inclusiveness and fairness!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Victim of the University of Newcastle "fighting for their lives" in hospital

We have been alerted to the fact that

"One of the victims of Newcastle University is now fighting for their lives in hospital. 

I hope management are glad they have almost cost a decent person their life."

This is an extremely concerning and urgent matter.

From our survey of 195 staff/students of the University of Newcastle, 45 of them had considered or attempted suicide because of the bullying behaviour they had suffered at the university.  

Anyone with any information about this person and their situation is urgently asked to contact us at

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Last year, this year........


Last year, Caroline McMillen, VC of the University of Newcastle, was applying for jobs but with no success.
This year, Caroline McMillen, VC of the University of Newcastle, has signed up for another three and a half years, saying

That is exactly what I wanted. I have a clear sense that this is the right timing. Eight years in a leadership position is about right. That’s what all the literature says. Eight years is the right amount of time to make your mark,”

Previously, Caroline McMillen, VC of the University of Newcastle, refused to meet us to discuss the bullying and harassment at the uni because she has a "personal policy" (??) of not being in contact with anonymous people (while addressing us by name).

This year, will Caroline McMillen, VC of the University of Newcastle, agree to meet us to discuss the bullying situation at the university??

Monday, February 1, 2016

University of Newcastle riding high in the rankings

The University of Newcastle prides itself on being a

"Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation, acknowledging UON as a national role model for innovation and best practice on issues of workplace gender equality." (UoN website).

The University also loudly proclaims that it is in the top 3% of universities in the world (lying somewhere between 250th and 300th in the rankings).

THe University must therefore be thrilled with the latest rankings:  In the "Fastest Growing Sugar Baby Schools ranking, with the University of Sydney topping the list with 90 new members joining in past 12 months. The University of Newcastle was close behind with 85 sign-ups".

So what is this latest ranking?   This is the "Seeking arrangement" organisation for "young women and students who date older, rich men, known as “sugar daddies”, in return for lavish gifts and allowances".  “Young, educated and broke” Australian students are now “easing the burden with help from sugar daddies”.

One student in Perth received around $75,000 last year from her sugar daddy.  Seeking Arrangement says that their "arrangements" are an easy answer to crippling student debt.

In true gender equality style, the student from Perth"says it took a “couple of months” before they had sex". 

Will the University of Newcastle be adding this to their adverts and to their website


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and bullying

People who bully others have similar behaviours to people diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorders - they have
"difficulty recognizing the needs and feelings of others, and are dismissive, contemptuous and impatient when others share or discuss their concerns or problems. They are also oblivious to the hurtfulness of their behaviour or remarks, show an emotional coldness and a lack of reciprocal interest".

The DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder are:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, as indicated by at least five of:
1. a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement, ie unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative, ie takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes.
The survey of 195 individuals who described their bullying at the University of Newcastle have described similar behaviour from the staff that bullied them, especially those in higher levels of management at the University - the sense of self-importance, sense of entitlement, lacking empathy and unwilling to recognise the feelings and needs of others.  Lower levels of management can rely on the higher levels of management to destroy anyone who questions their grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement so that the status quo can be preserved.  Anyone (whistleblowers) questioning their superiority is removed, gagged and silenced.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cheating, Plagiairism. Soft Marking, etc etc etc

The University of Newcastle has a long and impressive history of ethical misconduct by students AND ALSO by staff.  The Sydney Morning Herald reports that

"Senior academics have raised concerns cheating at major Australian universities may be easier than many supervisors realise."

Cheating is not an issue at the University of Newcastle - anyone who raises concerns about any form of cheating (particularly if it is staff cheating) are vaporised, removed, exterminated, destroyed, obliterated and eliminated!

You don't believe this?
Well this is what happens about the plagiarism and cheating by academic staff (yes, staff) and students at the University of Newcastle?
  • 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).
  • casual staff member recently "watched another casual be dismissed for uncovering student plagiarism and preventing a cover-up" (Bullying at the University of Newcastle survey)
  • "one former Newcastle academic at the rally said she had complained about plagiarism and been told to "shut up about it" " (Newcastle Herald)
  • academic told by other academic staff to "ignore student plagiarism in assignments" and also reported "soft marking" and lecturers and clinical educators "not failing anyone". (lecturer lost job at university).
  • Research of leading research recipient and senior academic was plagiarised by a professor at the University - senior academic left the University. Senior academic told he should feel honoured to be plagiarised by a professor.
  • "two academics from the Graduate School of Business are accused of not attributing a student's work in an application for a research grant" (Uni bullying survey)
  • "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".(Uni bullying survey)
  • "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."(Martin's paper)
  • "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." (bullying survey)
  • 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". (Newcastle Herald)

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.  Her PhD has never been rescinded.  Read about this in Professor Don Parkes' book "Doctored" (available online).
Cheating at the University of Newcastle???
The senior management, human resources, complaints officers, etc have said NO!
As they say in Little Britain, "the computer says NO"!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"Kafka-esque"?? "Deep behind the iron curtain"?? Is that where the University of Newcastle is?

A recent article in The Conversation starts like this...

"Imagine being dismissed from your job without being told of the reasons why and without being provided with any evidence of wrongdoing. This Kafka-esque scenario feels like a tale from decades ago and deep behind the iron curtain – but it is happening in Britain, right now. In fact, it is happening more and more."

Why is the writer surprised?  It has happened (and probably still does) at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Relating to such cases in Britain, The Conversation says that this raises

"issues of principles of fundamental concerns such as the right to a fair hearing provided under the European Convention of Human Rights, and equal treatment directives under EU law.  Numerous legal challenges have been raised."

Meanwhile back in Australia and especially Newcastle, "Unlike most similar liberal democracies, Australia has no Bill of Rights to protect human rights" (AHRC).  

Those of us who have lost our jobs at the University of Newcastle and have never been provided with reasons have no recourse to a Bill of Rights.  Recourse to the University's extensive library of policies is no help either - as long as the policy exists, no action needs to be taken.