August 23, 2012

We were in the wrong place at the wrong time...

I and my friends were bullied at Southampton University. We had no intention on competing with these academics, these bullies, but their actions have affected the rest of our lives. 

Angela had a nervous breakdown and never completely recovered.  She can work but she’s wary of academics. When she’s asked for a transcript since she intended to apply to graduate school in US the university provided one that listed courses that she never took! 

Theresa was told by her MA supervisor that he’d given her thesis another academic since 'he needed to increase the number of publications' since her thesis was ‘good’. She removed her MA from her CV, never again worked in that sub-field, and did a PhD at her undergraduate institution. 

Lucy can only work as a temp since the University refuses to give her a transcript from her either undergraduate or graduate degree so that she can apply for graduate school in the US, where she now lives, on the grounds that universities in the UK do not provide American style transcripts. This statement is untrue since two British universities have readily supplied American style transcripts to Theresa and I. 

Lucy was sent a letter about her MA but both the name of the MA and the courses listed were different to the ones she’d taken. She objected to these differences and she was told that the letter had to suffice. Lucy cannot apply to graduate school to retrain with a letter since the University she applied to in the US requires a transcript. 

Bill left his funded PhD place in his department after being falsely accused of many things because he thought that it was pointless being paid to be bullied. 

The link below describes my experience:

We were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Dr. Alicia Colson

August 22, 2012

The bullies of academia and suicide

About 20 bullying victims at one of Australia's leading universities have attempted or considered suicide, an inquiry has been told.

One female academic became so traumatised she tried to kill herself in her campus office, she told the federal parliamentary committee into workplace bullying.

Microbiologist Dr Michelle Adams later told The Daily Telegraph she swallowed "tablets" in February last year during a long-running campaign to stop bullying at Newcastle University.

"I am now medically retired and ... under the medical care of both a psychiatrist and a psychologist," the 46-year-old mother of two said.

Dr Adams told the inquiry she suffered "almost 10 years of bullying, harassment and victimisation" after reporting academic misconduct in 2003.

"When one act of bullying involved the theft of ... tuberculosis from my research laboratory, at least one colleague was of the opinion that 'things go missing all the time',"she said.

"When I explained I was scared the attacks would escalate to violence I was told I was 'over-reacting'."

In a letter to NSW and federal MPs, Dr Adams said an anti-bullying group at the university had collected "evidence about 20 victims of the bullying have either attempted or considered suicide".

The issues at Newcastle follow revelations during the inquiry that staff relations at the University of NSW had become so dysfunctional some employees spend days "crying in the toilets".

More than two thirds of the academic and general staff at UNSW say they had been bullied at work and some claim to have been sexually assaulted. University authorities have been accused of failing to address the issue.

The anti-bullying group at Newcastle told the inquiry 175 current and former staff and students had responded to an online survey.

In March this year Dr Adams was awarded more than $60,000 by the Workers Compensation Commission.

The University of Newcastle last night said it had "worked with Dr Adams for a number of years ... to determine the factual basis for her allegations and concerns" but had not been able to put her mind at rest on any issue she raised.

New Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen said the university was committed to a workplace free from bullying: "Our staff embrace the code of conduct and I have found they are deeply committed to equity and excellence."


August 12, 2012

Workplace bullying at the University of... Inquiry into workplace bullying, House of Representatives Committees, Australia

Under the Terms of Reference for this Inquiry:
The prevalence of workplace bullying and the experience of victims; and role of workplace cultures in preventing and responding to bullying I wish to draw to your attention:

• the entrenched systematic culture of bullying at the University

• the lack of support from the University following my initial allegation of bullying; and more importantly

• the enforced punitive punishment regime I experienced following my submission of a formal grievance that attempted to expose bullying within the workplace.

 Brief summary of submission:

I experienced 5 years of bullying within my discipline (2000-2005):

• Constant changing of my work tasks (courses deleted without consultation that resulted in the development of new courses outside of my specialization);

• Constant public humiliation (belittling of my expertise/ideas at staff meetings); • Excessive teaching workload resulting in 75hr plus working week that prevented me from engaging fully with my research commitments;

• Withholding of financial resources allocated to cross-faculty courses that I was responsible for;

• Overt ostracisation following my support for two post-graduate student whistleblowers that were treated badly by senior staff Lack of support and punitive punishment following my formal allegation of bullying (2005-2008)

• Refusal of the University to allow me to return to my academic duties following sick leave for major depression in early 2005 which I claimed had resulted from bullying

• The University’s refusal to accept medical certificates from my GP, my personal psychiatrist reports and the University funded psychiatrist’s reports stating my medical fitness to re-engage with my academic duties

• Placed under restrictive workplace conditions following my objection to the removal of a ‘stop workplace bullying’ poster from my office door

• Stigmatisation of my mental health injury that I had experienced in early 2005 through an University management enforced three year punishment regime of social, professional and physical isolation on campus; and

• The development of a discriminatory survey by Human Resources to justify their draconian and punitive punishment and subsequent forced early retirement.

Dear Honourable MPs,

First, I must state that in July 2008 under considerable duress I signed a confidentiality agreement (aligned with a ‘voluntary’ redundancy) stating that I would not discuss my employment with a third person or take legal action against the University. However, I will always regret being complicit in a cover up of malicious workplace behaviour at the University.

Unfortunately, I personally know of too many instances where the complainant and/or whistleblower has been destroyed by a culture that promotes and condones workplace bullying. That the University places higher credibility to traits of malevolence, malice, cowardice and self-protection rather than uphold values of excellence and integrity is shameful and should be exposed...

More at:  - Submission Number 8