February 22, 2012

Over 50 University Staff members have sought advice about bullying

Figures obtained by FOI requests show that nearly 20 University staff members have left York in the last five years citing bullying or harassment as one of the reasons.

During the period 2007-2009, York was ranked as the second worst institution for staff members leaving because of bullying or harassment.

The statistics also state that 53 members of staff have sought advice over bullying or harassment at work.
The University has defended their record, stating: “There have been eight investigations over the past two calendar years, or four per year. We would of course prefer if an investigation was never necessary, but given that we have nearly 3,500 staff, this is not a significant number.”

The only institution to have a higher number of staff leave due to bullying or harassment at work during the period 2007-09 was the Open University, where 16 members of staff left compared to 13 at York.

FOIs were sent to 144 institutions and 118 replied with the relevant data, completing the top five were: Northampton with 11 staff members; LSE with eight; and Liverpool John Moores with seven.

Similarly, a University and College Union (UCU) national survey in 2008 asked a random sample of employees in Higher Education and found that 34 per cent of respondents claimed they had been bullied at work in the preceding six months.

The survey also reported that five per cent of respondents said they were aware of ‘now and then’ derogatory comments about them appearing on student websites, while 13 per cent said they had received derogatory, offensive or bullying e-mails from students.

The University defines harassment as including: suggestive sexual remarks, racist insults or jokes, verbal abuse or foul language, unfair allocation of work, exclusion, and unwelcome attention. It advises staff members to contact a Harassment Adviser or senior staff member amongst others.

A spokesperson for the University commented: “We actively encourage staff who are concerned about potential bullying and harassment to seek support from colleagues in HR and Equality & Diversity.

“The fact that a member of staff raises an issue does not necessarily mean that wrongdoing has taken place, and as the figures show, in most cases, the matter can be successfully dealt with informally.”

But the University suggested that comparing institutions on this issue may be difficult: “In general, the way information of this nature is collected and recorded is likely to be different from institution to institution and it is therefore doubtful that the data resulting from the FOI responses can be compared on a like-for-like basis.”

The UCU survey figures also show that 23 per cent of respondents, who had experienced bullying, made an official complaint to their institution.

Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the UCU, addressed the results of the UCU 2008 survey stating: “Bullying at work can take many forms and all of them create stress for the victim. Everybody has the right to expect to work in a safe environment free from bullying.

“Good institutions are ones that are aware of the problem and are proactively trying to tackle it. Poor ones are those who refuse to accept there may be a problem or try to place the blame elsewhere.”

The UCU survey questioned 9,700 of its members about bullying and harassment in the workplace and found that in 19 institutions at least one in 10 respondents said that they were ‘always’ or ‘often’ bullied.

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

February 07, 2012

Carl Baybut

The post below was just removed from the THE website.

I am interrupting the conversation to remind you that two years ago this coming Saturday Carl Baybut - an academic - took his own life. He hanged himself from a tree. Death was in part a release from the working conditions that Carl had had to endure at his university. After hundreds of postings on the thread which exposed Carl's hanging, THE blocked the thread. No explanation has ever been given as to why this action was taken. But it's not difficult to guess what the reasons were. The thread was sometimes used by other academics to share their experiences of alleged workplace bullying. Today on THE references to workplace bullying are routinely removed.

Silence is not the solution.



More info at: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk

and: http://www.facebook.com

as well as: http://www.thisishampshire.net

Cardiff Business School

Something is going on at the Cardiff Business School but we have no details. The keywords are: workplace bullying allegations and tribunal. Please get in touch with us if you can provide more information.

February 06, 2012

Life is much larger than them

My doctoral adviser recruited me and then dumped me after 5 years. She used my master's thesis to further her career, but knowing the quid-pro-quo situation in grad school, I turned a blind eye towards her blatant stealing of other students' (sometimes undergrads) papers and theses as well as mine.

When the time came, she had to get rid of me because I knew too much about her dirty laundry. She falsified information about me and spread malicious rumors in the dept (and I suspect also to the people in my field). I was suddenly dumped by my entire dissertation committee (later found out that the chair of the dept ordered them to do so) and was basically kicked out of school without any official reason. The school backed her up and didn't even give me a proper graduate school committee hearing. Friends and family urged me to sue the school as well as my adviser, but foolishly wanting to survive academia, I decided not to. I was lucky enough to transfer to another school and finally earned my doctoral degree, but what makes me shudder till this day is the manner in which my adviser manipulated people around her to eliminate me. I later found out that the official reason she gave to the dept chair and faculty was that her high school daughter didn't like me. And based on this, the entire school mobilized in such a manner that can only be described as monstrous bullying.

But at the end of the day, there is a thing called karma. The adviser got rejected by her own daughter later in life, one of my committee members lost their child and another ended up fat and lonely. Looking back, the way they treated me was indicative of how they would treat other people. I don't know what makes certain academics the way they are, but I'm suspecting the long years of bullying they witnessed might have registered in their heads as 'normal'. From where I stand now, it seems like academics are the most pitiful creatures. Nobody would ever know who they are except for each other, but they would literally kill to hang on to that little piece of what they perceive as 'glory'. Life is much larger than them.


February 05, 2012

University worker claims that she was 'bullied and harassed' into retirement

A university computer assistant who was diagnosed with epilepsy claimed she was “bullied and harassed” by her line manager and pressured into applying for early retirement.

Jennifer Tucker, 61, appeared at a Bury St Edmunds employment tribunal yesterday where she is claiming she suffered age and disability discrimination by her employer St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. Her part-time job was helping deal with computer problems for students and faculty members.

Ms Tucker, of John Clark Court, Cambridge, said she had started taking medication for her epilepsy in January 2010, when she received an appraisal form from her superior Stephanie Clarke. It contained seemingly damning remarks about her work, which had never been raised before.

She said: “I felt frightened, vulnerable and shocked. I had no memory of many things Stephanie was referring to and rather than raise these as untruths, I accepted.”

Ms Tucker, who had a brain operation in 2002 to clip an aneurysm, said in her statement to the tribunal that she took her first degree aged 46 and a post graduate diploma at 40.

She said a series of development meetings which followed her appraisal were oppressive and more like a trial.

She said: “I was being routinely criticised and demeaned, and my views and evidence ignored.

“I believe they used my condition knowingly to intimidate me in the hope that I would leave a job I could and did do well.”

Stephanie Clarke said in a statement to the tribunal that she had difficulty managing Ms Tucker, who was unwilling to accept that there was any shortfall in her performance. She said she had not known of Ms Tucker’s epilepsy until February 2010, although Ms Tucker claimed she told her much earlier.

She said: “The claimant can be rude to me and to other members of the college.”

Jane Stevens, the Master’s secretary, said she was astounded at her line manager’s comments about Ms Tucker. She said: “She was being bullied in the workplace but management refused to believe it or preferred not to accept her well documented complaints.”

The hearing continues.

From: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk