May 06, 2007

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

This is a response to the May 5 posting
[see below] about the academic who was dismised for academic misconduct for using email and a blog to express criticisms toward managment and policies within their University. The posting reveals clearly why I am reticent to post details of names and persons associated with my own mobbing experience at my university on a blog. It is apparent that the mobbers and bullies peruse the Web, blogs, and discussion groups and use these postings to "get" their targets on some violation of university policy.

Where can we, the targets of bullies and mobbers, speak out against mobbing and bullying in ways that make our stories real, so we can heal, and attain some sense of justice without being targeted and attacked once more? Is that possible? Has anyone out there tried publishing their stories about mobbing in higher education in an academic journal, and been successful? I would like to know!

This blog on academic bullying and mobbing is a haven for me. It is where I can go and have my expereinces validated, feel support from people all over the world, and share. For when I share stories about being mobbed with colleagues within my own profession, they looked stunned, and appear to care, only later to treat me like I have a rare disease. Even at my union meeting, when I brought up an anti-mobbing resolution (that finally passed because there were union delegates opposed to it!), and shared my story about mobbing on my campus, I was "shunned" at lunch. Mobbed higher education faculty worldwide need solidarity, justice, and relief.

Is there a organization or conference where our stories can be told? How can we unite in a critical mass that transcends discipline, cultural and geographical borders?
What objectively constitutes 'gross miscoduct' should be very easy to define. In fact, most universities list examples in their disciplinary procedures. You will often find that some of the descriptions on such lists allow for almost anything to be interpreted as 'gross miscoduct'. For example, 'any act or omission that amounts to the repudiation of the contract of employment' - but who decides this?

It is a sad realisation that one of the by-products of this blog is bosses snooping around, looking for 'evidence' to condemn a colleague, BUT we all know this is not the real reason AND one way or another they can find reasons for 'gross miscoduct' - if needed, the reasons can always be made up... This is the sad reality.

Of importance is also what we can do to support colleagues who decide to make their battle against workplace bullying open and well-known... If we can't go anywhere to speak freely and to support each other without the fear of repercussions, we may as well support those of us that decide to stand up. They are also fighting our battle - if we all make an effort to support them, perhaps then we can unite in a 'critical mass that transcends discipline, cultural and geographical borders'.

Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights
protects the right to freedom of expression. Before the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force, the right to freedom of expression was a negative one: you were free to express yourself, unless the law otherwise prevented you from doing so. With the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into English and Welsh domestic law, the right to freedom of expression is now expressly guaranteed.

However, the right to freedom of expression in Article 10 is not absolute. Interferences with the right to freedom of expression may be permitted if they are prescribed by law, pursue a legitimate aim and are necessary in a democratic society, that is, satisfy a pressing social need. The legitimate purposes for which freedom of expression can be limited are:

  • National security, territorial integrity or public safety.
  • The prevention of disorder or crime.
  • The protection of health or morals.
  • The protection of the reputation or rights of others.
  • The prevention of the disclosure of information received in confidence.
  • For maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
The meaning of defamation

...There is no single comprehensive definition of what is defamatory. Various suggestions have been made before the courts, including any material which:

  • Is to a person’s discredit.
  • Tends to lower him or her in the estimation of others.
  • Causes him or her to be shunned or avoided.
  • Causes him or her to be exposed to hatred, ridicule or contempt.

  • For a statement to be defamatory the imputation must tend to lower the claimant in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally. Even if the words damage a person in the eyes of a section of society or the community, they are not defamatory unless they amount to a disparagement of the reputation in the eyes of right-thinking people generally...

    Also, somewhere we read: Academic staff have freedom within the law to question and test perceived wisdom and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges.

    It is a test of principles, for the individual(s), the colleagues, the friends, the union reps and the managers... If this was a test, the failure rate would be very high...


    Anonymous said...

    There are so many ways to take action against bullying...

    Refuse to be


    In each university - each person who believes that they are being bullied can


    Each person who speaks out to management/HR in their university is:

    ... bringing workplace bullying to the consciousness of those who work in universities

    ...making it safer for others to speak out because they know they are not alone

    ... making it harder for management to deny bullying

    ...refusing to collude with workplace bullying.

    If you are being bullied... do not creep away in silence.

    If you creep away in silence you are colluding with the bullying.


    Is it so difficult to say:

    I believe that I have been bullied...

    That is what I am saying over and over again in my prestigious research university...

    I believe that I have been bullied and I believe that there is a culture of workplace bullying in the faculty where I work.

    I have been saying that for almost three years... a lone voice...

    If you left your university without speaking out - never mind how long ago...

    ... write to management and tell them why you left...

    It is the silence of those who witness bullying...

    ... and the silence of those who have been bullied and creep away that...

    ... contributes to the endless bullying in our universities...

    Bullying happens because we do not take action to stop it.




    In solidarity

    Aphra Behn

    Artressa Phunding said...

    Speaking out is essentia! But does one need to limit oneself to conventional transmissions of language through speech, whether written or spoken in order to communicate truth, to expose deception and to hold to account those who are responsible for harming individuals and the society at large?

    Do acts of art have the ultimate power to communicate in ways that cannot simply be pinned down to a fixed set of meanings? For they can be freely interpreted by the viewer/listener, especially when they involve a multitude of senses - abstract and representational moving and still images, complex associations of music, "found" sounds, sung and spoken texts drawn from various cultural and historical contexts, all arranged to yield an intricate web of signifiers and signs that are dependent on the experience and understanding of the recipient of the communication.

    Can the voice of truth be silenced by technical lapses of the law?

    Is it, indeed, legal and acceptable within a civilized society for public officials to intimidate witnesses in employment tribunal cases?

    What do you think?

    Anonymous said...

    Fantastic........ great voice... great lyrics......

    Aphra Behn

    Anonymous said...

    From a one-time target.....
    On one hand, everything I did was magnified in order to be vilified. On the other hand, everything I did was also ridiculed and laughed at in order that I not be taken seriously should I strike out for fair treatment.
    Everyone in this college, from top to bottom rung, colluded in the abuse and defamation of my character.
    I have never, before or since, experienced such hypocrisy, such junior high-school level game-playing and mobbing as I had working in the academic environment. The reasons for my beig mobbed were distorted, twisted and personalized in order to satisfy the egotistical insecurities of a few academic administrators and some burnt-out professors.
    I now realize that the only thing I was guilty of was not seeing the sociopathic elements in that environment before I was hired.
    The mobbing had nothing to do with my job performance; and everything to do with the bullies' need for control and power over me.
    HR and the president of the college did not 'see' a problem; and my lawyers simply advised me to leave.

    Anonymous said...

    I've seen it happen to others, it also happened to me. No place to run or hide, or nobody who supports me. Thought of suicide, but then the anger creeps upon me. Why do I stay in this environment, only until I get my PhD. But then what, I think. Do I want to stay in this ugliness forever? By ending up in humanities, my life is confined to what can only be described as a living hell. Pathetic losers who call themselves professors. Go get a life, I say, or will I end up like them. The fear just eats me up, and again, the bullying starts all over again.