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)
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
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:-