July 05, 2008

A letter to Sally Hunt (Moran, Blumsohn)

Sally Hunt is currently General Secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), and the last General Secretary of the Association of University Teachers (UK) prior to its merger with NATFHE to form the UCU. The below letter from Rhetta Moran and myself is self explanatory. See also this and this for some background.

For pdf version of letter and attachments see here. For many other UK cases involving AUT/UCU/NAFTHE inaction see the extensive Bullied Academics blog

From: http://scientific-misconduct.blogspot.com/2008/07/letter-to-sally-hunt-moran-blumsohn.html


Anonymous said...

I have spent today ploughing through documentation related to my case - putting together yet further evidence.

No-one in my university will support me - not one colleague. Ex-colleagues melt away when I ask them if they want to make statements...

... and as for UCU.. I have already shared my disgust at their failure to support me appropriately...

Apart form this blog I am on my own.

... and yet I am not alone... once again there are people here who have the moral courage to speak out...

There are others who care about integrity and the values of a university...

In solidarity.

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

The Assistant General Secretary of UCU who accused me of being responsible for the lack of progress in my grievance case might also reflect upon this letter.

I have been thinking about the pleas that were posted on this blog to Sally Hunt during the leadership election at UCU... the pleas to address workplace bullying. I remember Sally's silence on the issue.

If you are a representative of UCU and there is bullying in your university then don't ignore it... as happens in my university...

Take some visible action and support your members... don't mutter and shamble around behind closed doors...

Don't follow Sally Hunt's lead and remain silent in public.

As the letter on the blog says... your silence Sally may be read as evidence of collusion with those who bully.

I too have a letter from Sally Hunt... very similar in tone to the one published on this blog.

How many letters like that do you send out to your members who are suffering from what they perceive to be work place bullying Sally?

I went to UCU for help... I had to wait almost a year for their solicitor to respond to the form that I submitted 'Legal protection at work. Application for Assistance'. What message did that give me?

That UCU don't give a toss about their members.

How do you sleep at night Sally?

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

See 27th of January 2007 on the blog to find out who in UCU was prepared to mention the B word during the election campaign.

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

January 27th 2007

A story left on Roger Kline and Sally Hunt's website.....

There are lots of stories like this in this series.. some end in suicide... not a happy ending eh Roger?

Roger - I know that you are only interested in collective stories about bullying.. but I thought you might be interested to read the story of an individual that I posted on Sally's website....

Sally - here is a part of someone's story... are you interested in publishing stories like this?

Prolonged negative stress is becoming recognised more and more as a factor in many illnesses/ medical conditions. In my experience many people I have worked with do not even dream of putting themself through what can be the long ordeal of reporting bullying/ harassment. Many people I have worked with have been quite understandably in fear of doing so, and the increased pressure that this may put them under when they are already in a very stressful situation. I however did report it and I cannot imagine why anyone would put themself through this process unless they truly felt they had a genuine complaint. Always at every turn though the bullies have tried to discredit me and have insisted that I provide 'proof'. It seems to me in my situation where it is clear my health has suffered that is a more a case of them proving otherwise against the weight of medical evidence.

I and others at the organisation I work for would not have documented years of numerous bullying and harassment incidents and the effects this has had on health, performance etc. unless it really happened. Neither, I am sure would there have been such a vast increase in complaints, sick leave, resignations and early retirements either. The smaller details all make up the bigger picture.

In my own case I can see looking back that the only way I was able to go to work was to detatch myself from the reality of what was happening, although this was not something I wanted or intended it was the only way at the time as I had to have income. I took very little sick leave until recently but have medical records covering the whole period. The bullies first demanded to see these, they then changed direction stating on more than one occassion their own 'medical' opinions.

I too have my own story with a similar theme?

Do such individual stories of UCU paid up members interest you?

Roger Kline only seems to be interested in collective stories... maybe they are not so harrowing...

Petra Boynton contacted you after her research into bullying was published in the Times Higher in 2005 to say that AUT/UCU members feel that the union colludes with employers...

Did you respond to her?

What did you say?

UCU is part of this story Sally... what is their role?

8:13 AM

We are still here Sally. Still suffering. We have not gone away.

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

Maybe the British press/BBC would like to take up these stories about our universities?

Or have they too been silenced?

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

Feb 28th 2007 - entry on this blog

"I ask anyone who has experienced academic bullying to take a step back, remove oneself emotionally from the situation, and look at the situation as if one were a complete outsider. The truth is that academic bullying can cause death, suicide and other types of violence. I have seen brokenhearted and disappointed scholars die of cancer within ten years of a disappointment. That is why we who have been bullied or mistreated have to see the situation for what it is and not allow ourselves to be manipulated or instigated by it. We have to be clear about the kind of values and lives we want for ourselves, whether or not this will ultimately involve remaining in academia. We have to be clear that the people who mistreat us want us to be ruined and that we have to see them for who they are and build an emotional stone wall between ourselves and them."

My emotional stone wall is like a fortress and it is blocking out the light from a world that I feel I left behind a long time ago... a world before workplace bullying that is a distant memory.

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

Feb 25th 2007 - from this blog

Posted on Sally Hunt's blog the day before the election results.

Sally - I regret very much that you chose not to engage with those of us who are fighting a hard battle against workplace bullying.

Petra Boynton's research suggests that it is rife in academia. Recently I have read about academics who have tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide as a result of bullying.

I too am trying to engage with practices in my university that I believe are bullying. Many people have just walked away from the university - sensibly one might say. I chose to stay and engage with practices that I believe have wrecked my academic career.

The internal survey at the university, like those at other universities, suggests that people believe they are being bullied.

No-one has to date engaged with the issues that I have raised re workplace bullying. I feel very alone. The effect on my health concerns me. Stress is very destructive.

However I am one of the lucky ones. I have not had to resort to medication.

If UCU won't speak up about workplace bullying how are we to move forward. Petra Boynton's research in 2005 suggested that people believed that there is collusion between HR and UCU. That is very very worrying.

Aphra Behn

12:10 PM

anonymous said...
Posted on Roger's blog the day before the election results


You have spoken out about workplace bullying in the THES article (2/3/07). You have given lots of practical advice.

Thank you. That means a lot to those of us in UCU who believe that we are being bullied by the colleagues with whom we work.

Bullying is of course not illegal.

I have spoken out in my university about practices that I believe constitute workplace bullying. To date the issues that I have raised in relation to these practices have been ignored.

I hope that your trip to South Africa was not all sorrow. It is good to remember good people. My mother-in-law was an activist.

We now wait for the results.

I share your concern re the counting of the votes.

Aphra Behn

12:24 PM

We are still here Sally - still waiting for you to open your mouth and speak to us....

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

Sally speaking July 4th 2008 - posted on the blog

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: "Education professionals consistently top tables of the most unpaid overtime put in each year. The dedication of staff to their subject and their students, whilst often exploited, remains astonishing. We cannot build a world class education sector on the exploitation of staff, but to suggest we punish, rather than reward, those who continue to show such dedication is ludicrous."

Aphra Behn

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