I feel like a criminal. Criminalised. It’s hard to recall, but there was a time, not too many months ago, when I loved my job. My students so enjoyed my teaching. All that seems invisible, airbrushed, forgotten, invalidated. It seems impossible to imagine that I will ever be able to return to work for this academic institution. This option is now gone.
My emotions are changeable; I veer towards despair and depression. One good thing I have to hold on to is that Dominic is wonderfully supportive, but he now wants me to resign. He is shocked by the mechanistic and uncaring attitude of this university, that someone can give so much and be “dismissed” so easily. He thinks if my situation were a work of fiction it would be considered an unlikely scenario. I read a great deal about dysfunctional organisations, research on bullying, interpersonal conflict in organisations and how mobbing is a common occurrence. The reading is not optimistic: it paints pictures of sour, hidden malice and ruined careers.
I find the silence from staff in my division disappointing and disheartening. Do they know what is going on? Have they succumbed to the vitriolic character assassination of the individual who has been punished? Do they take the party line? Have they forgotten about me and just carry on unquestioning? Are they so conformist and worried about making contact? For some naive reason, I thought that there would be interest in what is happening to me – and in the division of law and social sciences, what else would one expect but a critical questioning about the way I have been dealt with? But also, what about Alan, my friend? He must have left by now. Where is Alan in all of this? Am I so wrapped up in all of this that I have become too focused on my own experience? There is a world out there and I am in a fog of war. I need to do something to get me out of this hole.
I read and re-read the disciplinary report. It is vindictive, selective and partisan, lacking any sense of humanity. Helen and Marcus say such lies and conjure up a view that vindicates their position. I did not realise people could be so terribly nasty. Apparently, when Marcus read the Easter email he was traumatised. Helen was “shocked and devastated” by my email. There is also a one-page response from the vice-chancellor’s office that talks about “staff seemingly acting with scant regard for official channels of communication” and human resources taking the view that I have been “offensive and unacceptable in my behaviour to staff”. But these are the people who were accused by me after a long period of difficulties THAT WERE MINE. It was I who attempted to resolve matters. They have each other, their religion and mutual association of faith. I cannot believe they have been so offended. It seems orchestrated, contrived and engineered for best effect.
I read the report time and time again. It all seems crazy and ridiculous. They have gone on a fishing expedition and cast their nets far and wide. Seen in isolation, without any context or understanding for my situation, I am guilty as charged. Totally stuffed. But it’s not like that: this has a history. I know it and they know it. I need to hold on to what led me here. I need to hold on to that. But who is believed? These are defensive reactions, and according to bullying websites, they are consistent with how these things play out...
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