October 23, 2010

Stop the bullying at the University of Memphis!

I want to bring your attention to bullying happening at the college level at the University of Memphis.

I've become a victim to this and I know it's not just me as another young woman in my program got bullied by our department's administration. The interim chair, Sandra Sarkela, told this woman's adviser, David Appleby, that she wanted the woman "out of the program". Then Sarkela had the woman's graduate assistantship supervisor, Katherine Hendrix, assign the woman last minute "work" on a Saturday. Their tactics worked, the young woman dropped out of her assistantship credits and Sarkela's class.

Another young woman in the program was barred from taking certain classes when younger, Caucasian students were allowed. She was also treated differently than these others in terms of grading. When she brought this up to Sandra Sarkela, she was discriminated against and retaliated against.

I, too, have been treated in this manner by Sandra Sarkela and our department administration and even by the university administration and Shirley Raine's office. I have a ADA medical condition that was ignored by the Affirmative Action Officer, Michelle Banks. I was put in a work condition (noisy public computer lab, no air conditioning, no water, being surveillanced) that caused my anxiety problems to worsen.

I complained about discrimination to Sandra Sarkela, who then had me terminated, hence attempting to destroy my academic and work credibility when I have an unblemished record. After figuring out that was a federal crime, the university reinstated me, but since then has retaliated against me at every turn to try to make me leave "voluntarily" like the first young woman.

When I turned in my work, they ignored my sources and called me a plagiarist in an email, again attempting to undermine my academic and work future. They also refused to fill out an incident report for a work injury I had and threatened via email with an "If/Then" statement to stop paying me. This was by university counsel Sheryl Lipman. I am a minority female who moved from California to get a PhD and become part of this community. Now, the university has put a condition on my assistantship that I sign over a full psychiatric examination (fitness for duty) for just working by myself with books- over to them. This is not right.

I would like to share with you and our community the atrocities that are going on in higher education at The University of Memphis.

More info at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/7/stop-the-bullying-at-the-university-of-memphis/

King's College London: Support Virginia Jibowu

Sign the online petition at:
I am a 26 year old female of Nigerian-Welsh origin. I was a full-time undergraduate student on the Defendant’s Extended Medical Degree Programme (EMDP) from September 2002 until December 2008. On 20 October 2008 I was injured by a porter driving a wheelchair into the back of my leg whilst I was on my clinical attachment at King’s College Hospital. As a result of my injury, Professor Greenough (Head of the medical School) removed me from my programme. I am currently unemployed and suffer from reduced mobility as a result of the injury sustained.

King’s College London medical School is called Guy’s King’s and St Thomas’ School of Medicine (GKT). KCL is in partnership with Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust Hospitals. The Institute of Psychiatry (IOP) became a school of King’s College London in August 1997. The King’s College Hospital is further affiliated with the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. KCL also has various alliances with South London G. P. Practices within Lambeth and other Primary Care Trusts. The General Medical Council and the South Thames Foundation Schools are also closely linked with KCL.

Whilst at King’s College London (KCL) I was subjected to disability discrimination preventing me from taking up the F1 post I had secured with the Wales Foundation School. I suffer from severe incapacitating dysmenorrhoea. This is a debilitating condition which prevents me from carrying on my normal day to day activities for at least 2 days every month (I refer to the letter dated 6 August 2001 from Anne Giwa-Amu to the Health Authority (marked exhibit 1), with the response dated 17 August 2001 (marked exhibit 2), and also the letter dated 10 August 2001 from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital confirming my referral to the Pain Management Centre (marked exhibit 3).

I was also subjected to ‘continuing acts’ of racial segregation, racial discrimination, harassment, bullying and institutional racism from 2002-2009. In summary:

a) I was racially discriminated against during the recruitment and selection process and racially segregated onto the EMDP course which I had not applied for.

b) Despite my protests, I was kept on the EMDP course from 2002-2008/9.

c) The EMDP course is a 6 year programme whilst the standard MBBS is a 5 year programme. Therefore, being placed on the EMDP course subjected me an additional year at university during which time I could have been employed.

d) I was compelled to wear a badge from 2002-2008/9 marking me out as one of the EMDP students. As the course was advertised as being designed to bring in more students from socially deprived ethnic minority backgrounds this was a humiliating experience for me.

e) I was compelled to participate in various research projects without my knowledge and consent. This included social research, psychological research and IQ tests from 2002 -2008/9.

f) I was covertly monitored without good reason over a period of time whilst on the EMDP course.

g) My complaints of racial harassment and bullying by fellow students were not investigated but I was ‘watched’ because I had made those complaints.

h) I was subjected to ‘institutional victimisation’ because of my complaints by members of the management team who orchestrated a campaign to discredit me.

i) Following my injury whilst on clinical attachment at King’s College Hospital, management refused to investigate my complaints and continued to spread false and defamatory statements about my mental health.

Further details are provided below.

Due to my complaints of racial segregation, racial discrimination, harassment, bullying and institutional racism, I suffered victimisation from members of the management team. My protected acts are as follows:

a) In 2002 I protested to Gavin Brown that my application for the MBBS 5 had been rejected in order to channel me onto the experimental EMDP course.

b) In 2002-2003 I made complaints to Dr Pamela Garlick and Professor Standring about the segregated nature of the EMDP course and asked to be transferred to the MBBS5 course.

c) In 2005 I made a complaint to the college of harassment and bullying by Richard Pinder who was my clinical partner at the time. I asked to be moved away from him.

d) On 2 December 2006, I submitted a written complaint of harassment and bullying against Emily Bowen, Steve Dixon and Simon Hill. I made a verbal complaint to staff indicating that the harassment was racially motivated.

e) On 19 September 2007 I made a complaint to the Dean of Victoria Hospital (St Lucia), and the Elective Coordinator against Alexis Johnson, Johanne Adley, Jaskiren Kaur, Emon Malik and Sivathatishana Meinerikandathevan for assault, bullying, harassment and breach of contract.

f) On 9 September 2007, I sent Emon Malik a ‘letter of claim’.

g) 24 September 2008, I submitted a claim at the Employment Tribunal.

h) 21 November 2008, I submitted a claim for discrimination at the Central London County Court (8CL09060) which was lost on the court system.

i) 23 December 2008, I submitted a replacement claim at the Central London County Court (which was returned as permission was needed to serve on the defendant’s Solicitor)

j) On 28 January 2008, I submitted the claim for racial discrimination at the Central London County Court.

More information at: http://www.virginiajibowu.co.uk

October 16, 2010

The unkindly art of mobbing - in Academia

At a practical level, every professor should be aware of conditions that increase vulnerability to mobbing in academe. Here are five:

• Foreign birth and upbringing, especially as signaled by a foreign accent.
• Being different from most colleagues in an elemental way (by sex, for instance, sexual orientation, skin color, ethnicity, class
origin, or credentials).
• Belonging to a discipline with ambiguous standards and objectives, especially those (like music or literature) most affected by
post-modern scholarship.
• Working under a dean or other administrator in whom, as Nietzsche put it, “the impulse to punish is powerful”.
• An actual or contrived financial crunch in one’s academic unit (According to an African proverb, when the watering hole gets
smaller, the animals get meaner).

Other conditions that heighten the risk of being mobbed are more directly under a prospective target’s control. Five major ones are:

• Having opposed the candidate who ends up winning appointmentn as one’s dean or chair (thereby looking stupid, wicked, or crazy in the latter’s eyes)
• Being a rate buster—achieving so much success in teaching or research that colleagues’ envy is aroused.
• Publicly dissenting from politically correct ideas (meaning those held sacred by campus elites).
• Defending a pariah in campus politics or the larger cultural arena.
• Blowing the whistle on, or even having knowledge of serious wrongdoing by, locally powerful workmates.

The upshot of available research is that no professor needs to worry much about being mobbed, even when in a generally vulnerable condition, so long as he or she does not rock the local academic boat. The secret is to show deference to colleagues and administrators—to be the kind of scholar they want to keep around as a way of making themselves look good. Jung said that “a man’s hatred is always concentrated on that which makes him conscious of his bad qualities.”

By Professor Kenneth Westhues

October 12, 2010

Stop bullying at the University of Newcastle - Australia

We are a group of people who have all spoken out about wrongdoing here and have been bullied into silence. From our experiences, we feel very strongly that the situation cannot continue. To end the bullying, we need to have information on the extent and type of bullying that is going on. This is why we are asking people to fill in this survey.

We are very aware how devastating bullying can be and we do not intend to make anything worse for you. That is why we assure you that this survey is completely anonymous and no details (e.g. ISP addresses) will be tracked.

Please help us to end this bullying.

If you would like to share your story, please add to our blog - you can post anonymously to this blog and no details (e.g. ISP addresses) will be tracked. PLEASE NOTE: Do not include any identifying details in your blogs - we are not responsible for the information posted on this site.

It is a huge support to others to hear your stories of bullying so please contribute if you feel you are able to.


October 01, 2010

Submission of evidence to IUSS (Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee) regarding plagiarism at Liverpool John Moores University


I would like to submit written evidence on "plagiarism" at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). I have been fighting for years to expose the truth about plagiarism at the University but to no avail. I have recently written to the Rt. Hon Mr John Denham MP, Secretary of State for DIUS and Professor Paul Ramsden, Chief Executive for HEA regarding this issue. I have also formally written to HEFCE (evidence enclosed:[346] electronic correspondence with Professor David Eastwood) and QAA (evidence enclosed letter from Mr Peter Williams to the Chairman of Select Committee on IUSS) asking for the issue to be thoroughly investigated.

It was made clear to HEFCE and QAA that I am unwilling to disclose the substantive, compelling and indisputable evidence of plagiarism at the University without protection against future litigation (please see Mr Peter Williams letter to the House of Common on 30 October 2008).[348] The position of these organisations is that they cannot investigate my revelations without disclosing my identity to the University, nor can they offer me protection against future litigation.

I understand the only available pathway to divulge the truth to the public about plagiarism at the University is through the "Parliament Protection Privilege". To this end, enclosed please find a very small sample of the plagiarised students' course work reports as evidence.

1. Background information

I am Professor of Applied Physiology and worked at the University till I was summarily dismissed on 3 January 2007. I have contributed significantly to the British Education over the last 30 years in the teaching and research domains (please see enclosed statements by colleagues). This encompassed academic and administrative commitments including the supervision of several Ph.D. and MSc students to successful completion. I have published more than 200 refereed articles, scientific correspondence items, and meeting abstracts. My capability as a teacher and researcher furnish the grounds for my personal written evidence to IUSS on plagiarism at the University…

3. Plagiarism: the case

As it was advised by [committee staff], I sent to the Committee a very few course work of the students' plagirised reports. I would be happy to send substantially more plagiarised reports if this is required at this stage. These reports clearly and unambiguously exhibit the following:
— The verbatim copying of another's work within reports without clear identification and acknowledgements. This is defined as plagiarism according to the University's definition.
— That some or all of the students appear to have copied review articles and text books carelessly. Unidentified and unacknowledged quotations from another work are the main feature of the students' course work reports. This is plagiarism according to the University's definition.
— That some or all the references at the back of the report are not referred to within the text. This is plagiarism according to the University's definition.

3.1 The majority of students are tempted to lift sections of words from published papers or from textbooks. This is a very serious problem in the University. The students were clearly informed at the beginning of each academic semester and prior to the submission of the course work that this lifting is known as plagiarism and it is a very serious academic offence (please sees evidence attached). Students were also informed when they were handed back their course work reports to reinforce the point.

3.2 The first lecture of each new semester was allocated for an overview of the module syllabuses and the subject of the course work assignment. An over head projector was used to advise the students how to write their assignments and avoid plagiarism in line with the University's Modular Framework Assessment Regulations. A single printed sheet of A4 under the title "Assignment general and specific comments" was handed to the students at the commencement of the semester. This sheet contained a number of comments defining plagiarism and stating why it was unacceptable (please sees evidence attached). Students were advised to develop their own ideas and arguments and learn how to express themselves. They were informed about the seriousness of plagiarism and how to avoid it. The enclosed "Assignment general and specific comments" sheet was clearly explained to the students and at the commencement of each new semester, during the semester, and prior to the submission of the course work.

3.3 Students were also referred to the University's Modular Framework Assessment Regulations (Section D Appendix C) regarding academic impropriety and that their course work should conform to those regulations. Students were advised to show that they have learnt about and can use other people work. They were taught how to quote and reference to show where they got the material from. Students were clearly informed that, in their assignment, when discussing other people ideas, they should acknowledge where the ideas came from with supporting references.

3.4 Students were advised that they must avoid direct copying from published papers or textbooks as this practice may suggest that they are incapable of using ideas for themselves. Students were also informed not to rely heavily on copying out segments from printed literature as copying the literature obscure whether the students understand the topic of the course work. Students, when submitted their course work reports, were required to sign a declaration that all sources consulted have been appropriately acknowledged (evidence submitted as attached to some of the plagiarised course work reports already sent to the Committee).

4. Although plagiarism is a very serious academic impropriety as clearly stated in the University's Modular Framework Assessment Regulations (Section D Appendix C), the University management has not taken this issue seriously.

4.1 The University strategies to identify plagiarism were inadequate and the procedures available to combat plagiarism were ineffective. I repeatedly tried to have my concerns about excessive toleration of plagiarism considered by the University. However, I was constantly put off by the University Management. All my complaints were ignored despite a litany of requests for action and no penalties were sanctioned when plagiarism was suspected and detected.

4.2 I had numerous grounds of grievances in relation to plagiarism over the years against colleagues and Management at the University. Most notably in May and December 2003 I have attempted to have my grievances about excessive toleration of plagiarism dealt with and investigated under the University's grievance procedures. This never happened.

4.3 When I suspected and identified plagiarism, the University should have taken my concerns seriously and a thorough investigation should have been conducted promptly in line with the University's regulations. This never happened.

4.4 I was only allowed to down mark the plagiarised assignment by 10% (see attached evidence entitled "Disciplinary Case"). I was not allowed to sanction more severe penalty or to fail any plagiarised course work during the consultation and moderation processes. Following my suspension, two Managers at the School alleged that they have remarked the assignments and came to the conclusion that no plagiarism had taken place (evidence would be provided on request). The external examiner confirmed the Managers conclusion (evidence would be provided on request)! I viewed this as an unacceptable practice. I believe that the managers at the University in collaboration with the external examiner were trying to cover up plagiarism.

4.5 I raised my concern about plagiarism through the University's procedures but it was then converted into a disciplinary against me with allegations that I had not followed University procedures, which is not true (see attached evidence entitled "Disciplinary Case"). There has been not the merest hint of actually dealing with the issue of plagiarism and I was stopped from providing the evidence I had gathered (abundant compelling evidence is available on request). This demonstrates, I believe, disregard for professional standards to an extent that should be intolerable in a British University.

4.6 Instead of investigating and determining my concerns of May and December 2003 in respect of plagiarism, managers at the University chose to suspend me on 10 December 2003. I was suspended for an unimaginable long time while the most dilatory "investigation" imaginable was conducted. This is viewed as the worst kind of sharp practice. Then I was accused of gross professional misconduct. The University managers made up false allegations against me to justify "Gross Professional Misconduct". I was eventually dismissed in January 2007 following an investigation and grievance and disciplinary hearing in October 2006. In April 2007 I appealed to the University's Board of Governors against the dismissal, but my appeal was not upheld and the final dismissal decision was conveyed to me in May 2007. The investigation was flawed in design and substance. The grievance and disciplinary and the appeal hearings were discriminatory and I was unfairly dismissed.

5. Through the University College Union (UCU) Legal Services Department, three claims (one in 2005 and two in 2007) were lodged with the Employment Tribunal and 20 days have been allocated for hearing the case commencing 14 January 2008. These complaints were based, among other issues, on protected disclosures in relation to plagiarism and overseas students' bench fees and unfair dismissal.

5.1 The Employment Tribunal hearings to a full trial never took place as I was virtually forced to enter into a compromise agreement with confidentiality clauses attached. The compromise agreement was signed on my behalf by the UCU's Director of the Legal Department as I was in a hysterical state and heavily sedated with medications and utterly refused to sign the compromise agreement.

6. My health disintegrated further as can be established by reference to several medical reports including one by the University's own occupational health doctor.

6.1 My academic career is now completely ruined, my health is ruined and the normal social fabric of my family is in a state of turmoil. The damage to my reputation and to my name and career is immense.

7. Conclusion and Recommendation

I do believe that the unfortunate story of plagiarism at Liverpool John Moores University is in the public interest and it is therefore my responsibility to bring the above facts to the IUS Select Committee Attention. The corrupted practices by the University are a threat to the public interest and to the reputation of British Education standard nationally and internationally.

I believe that the allegations about plagiarism presented in this written evidence are very serious and warrants further considerations and investigation by IUSS Select Committee…

Submission from Professor MS El-Sayed

Tribunal finds in favour of Gloucestershire whistleblower

The University of Gloucestershire has lost a tribunal case brought by a manager who claimed she was sidelined after blowing the whistle on the state of the institution’s finances.

Jan Merrigan, business development manager at Gloucestershire’s Faculty of Education, Humanities and Sciences, said she had suffered professionally after drawing attention to financial problems, particularly at the faculty.

She claimed at an employment tribunal in Bristol this week that public money was being spent inappropriately on overseas travel for academic staff and part-time payments for workers already in full-time contracts. She added that Gloucestershire was losing money on courses run in partnership with London-based international colleges.

In 2008-09, the university’s overall deficit was £6.3 million, and the early indications are that it suffered another large deficit in 2009-10.

The university disputed any evidence of unlawful practice during the tribunal hearing, which also heard claims that Paul Bowler, Gloucestershire’s former deputy vice-chancellor, had “plotted a coup” against Patricia Broadfoot, its former vice-chancellor.

Mr Bowler, who left the post in December after a period on suspension, denied the allegation, although he told the tribunal that when the vice-chancellor had asked him whether he thought she should resign, he told her she should.

Professor Broadfoot retired in August.

The tribunal panel upheld the claim lodged by Ms Merrigan, who still works at the university, and ordered Gloucestershire to pay £6,000 in compensation.

Ms Merrigan said: “I am delighted I have won, but most importantly, that my concerns were taken seriously. I never wanted to take my case to an external tribunal, but the internal procedures were flawed and despite my best efforts, the university did not want to hear what I had to say or address my serious concerns over financial flaws.”

Gloucestershire was unavailable for comment.

From: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk

UNISON Press Release