August 31, 2008

Epidemic proportions - does the minister have an opinion on this?

As a foreigner working in UK academe I must say that I am stupified by the level of bullying and denial that goes on in UK academe. In my own field of research alone, I know of three individuals (all of them foreign, as it happens) who have been mobbed in three different UK departments, two of them Russell Group universities. One has been dismissed, another has managed to remain in post, but seconded out of the home department, and a third is currently undergoing an elimination ritual.

From what I am learning at this wonderful blogsite, the problem seems almost epidemic in the UK. And yet everyone--governors, senior management, HR depts, and above all academic staff--remain in the most appalling states of denial and/or intimidation into silence. I have never seen anything like this in my previous 20+ years of teaching in another country, nor have I heard of (nor read about) so many problems as in the UK.

I am beginning to wonder if there is something endemic to UK institutions of higher education that encourages this kind of rampant mobbing. I would be interested to have the thoughts of others on this subject

Anonymous academic
Does the Minister of State, Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education the Honourable Mr Bill Rammell have anything to say about this situation? If not, feel free to inform him.

Bill Rammell MP


Anonymous said...

If I were to tell you my story of alleged work place bullying at a Russell group university you would not believe it...

... I can hardly believe it myself.

The cast of participants is growing.

I am being advised to go for counseling.

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

When I began graduate studies in the late 1970s, I thought that university
faculties were comprised of scholarly, honourable, and civilized people.
Soon after I was appointed grad student representative to the meetings at
the place I attended, I soon learned otherwise.

Over the years I've been associated in one form or another with a number of
different academic departments at several post-secondary institutions.
Situations such as those described at the URLs given above seemed to be
more the norm than the exception.

So much for institutions of higher learning.


George S. said...

I was a graduate student in India and spent three years of hell in grad school. I harassed continuously and in the end I had to leave; but fortunately I got another position in another country. I am still licking my wounds, though two years have passed now.

I am glad that you have identified mobbing in academia and started a website addressing this issue. Bless you.