April 10, 2016

Bulster Uni’s New Bully

3698031748_b77ac5fa99And so it came to pass that Bulster finally sacked Dictator Dickie and named a new supremo, finding the ideal replacement in a tough Scouser, Prof Baddy Nix-off. Baddy has a proven track record of corporate bullying “down under” having in just three years sacked a cool 15% of his staff @ Tassie University, and earned a formidable reputation for conducting summary dismissals. Hence staff at Tassie now collectively refer to forced redundancy as getting the “Nix-off”. But old Baddy talks a pretty good board-room yarn as he’s now become the highest paid public figure in Northern Ireland, and one of the top uni “fat cats” across the UK. At Bulster the very utterance of his name has swiftly become the ultimate managerial expletive!

s200_paddy.nixonHaving quickly taken command, Baddy said “he looked forward to working with the Northern Ireland Political Executive to ensure the higher education sector fulfils the ambitions of young people and contributes to economic growth”.  Within a month he had announced massive course closures and a comprehensive programme of sackings at Bulster which could only be achieved by compulsory redundancy. "Jimmy-boy", actor and Bulster chancellor who Dictator Dickey had affectionately dubbed “Bilbo’s Elf”, had summarily praised Baddy’s  “dynamic appointment at an exciting time for…staff, students and partners…” but so far Bulster has seen nothing but programme cancellations and staff dismissals.  Within a few miserable months Bluster University confirmed a series of cutbacks, 1,250 student places lost across the four university campuses and over 200 staff sackings, most of then effectively compulsory severances.

Blaming this corporate tsunami on the NI Executive, Baddy regretted that his necessary “budget cuts "will have far reaching consequences for our young people and our local economy….We cannot absorb further cuts so now more than ever, we must be decisive. We must strengthen our focus on the sustainable delivery of high quality teaching and world-leading research that produces graduates with industry ready, relevant skills that benefit business and society”. All of this coming from a Uni leader who had negotiated close to double the salary and benefits package of his predecessor, Dictator Dicky. Oh and the existing VC Residence has not proven good enough for Baddy- he's taken to first class digs while the official palace is refurbished, a sad evidence that he probably intends to stay!

no-bullying-signs-rightPosturing that this corporate blood on the college carpet could not be avoided, Baddy has went on to say that  “In making these decisions, a number of factors have been taken into consideration, including student demand, attrition rates, student satisfaction, employment statistics and research performance” all of this coming from a uni chief whose time at Tassie had been marked by an unprecedented problem of college retention and disastrous staff morale. Baddy’s time at Tassie had also coincided with a massive cheating scandal at the uni’s law faculty and a rash of staff suicides.

Regular readers of this blog may recall a previous submission back in October 23, 2015 on the specific problem of bullying at Australian regional universities. The evidence from more than 22,000 university staff suggested that academics in Ozzie regional universities were more likely to experience bullying compared to those at other types of universities. The survey, which looked at working life in 19 different universities across Australia, was set up to test whether the anecdotal complaints of colleagues were more than traditional complaints of academics about freedom, autonomy and managerialism.

This major report into university bullying uncovered a veritable crisis of staff harassment in regional colleges, of which Bulster’s new man, Baddy featured all too prominently. A distinguished Arts Professor at Tassie noted that “Baddy had taken a purely monetary view of research”. Staff who could not bring in enough money quickly got the “Nix-off”. Even some of the most highly regarded staff got their marching orders because their continued presence at Tassie was regarded as “economically unviable”.

A suicide note from a long-time staffer at Tassie recorded that “my life has become unbearable…this is no longer a university.. Whatever one’s publication record one no longer has a place in college unless one could get sufficient financial dosh…idiots who managed to bribe their way unto public grants now run the show ….” Several press investigations by Hobart journalists were threatened by Tassie university lawyers, and Tassie staff who got a pay-off were made a sign “gagging orders” that excluded any further public comment on university affairs.

images (3)There is a rumour that as soon as Baddy arrived at Bulster he ordered a U-Turn on Bulster’s intended sacking of HR director “Mad Bonnie” Magoo. “Bonnie” had got himself into a bit of trouble with the police over corporate threats and perversion of justice. Baddy seems to have assured “Bonnie” that all could be forgiven as long as his “black arts” could be more corporately focused. Immediately Bonnie’s disciplinary suspension was lifted…..There is gossip too that old “Bonnie” actually managed to get a pay rise. Fresh from the police cells and a long spell of college “gardening leave” “Bonnie” now finds himself reinstated as the Hitlerian Hermann Goebels of Baddy’s corporate bullying operation at Bulster.

Bully-free-austRecently, at Australia’s Newcastle Uni a senior professor said in confidence that the only college in the country which was worse for governance failings and staff bullying was Tassie. And of all the places in all the world the boffins at Bulster could look for Dictator Dicky’s replacement, they found Baddy Nix-off in the very Van Diemen’s land of Oz.  And so it has come to pass that Bulster has found precisely the right man to replace Dictator Dicky, a man whose corporate shirt-sleeves are suitably blood-stained and who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Stay tuned for the next instalment as Baddy consolidates his power, more staff get fired, and a new regime of bullying establishes itself. Meanwhile we hear that forcible retirement has been difficult for Tricky Dicky. Having blackmailed the Higher Education Minister to get a parting honour (yes the very Minister caught in an embarrassing late night mélange les trois with Dictator Dicky) retirement has been tough! He failed even to get shortlisted as chief-executive of a lowly regional technical college and the invites unto trusteeships have been sparse! And his dream of remaining as “president mentor” to his successor was quickly scotched as Baddy Nix-off brings in his own “dream team” of scavengers and mercenaries from his black academic past!

fatcat.jpgADVISORY… This is a work of humorous parody and any similarities with persons or places real or imagined is purely a matter of coincidence. 

If you’ve been bullied at your F/HE institution don’t hesitate to confidentially contact the Bullied Academics forum. Victims may complain without penalty under their college procedures or consider making a complaint to their local police. Where the police are contacted bullying usually ceases immediately. The e-mail address is bullied.academics@yahoo.co.uk

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a retired staff at Tassie and while I had no personal run-ins with Nixon or any of the other corporate thugs at Tassie, I can confirm that Nixon was regarded as one of the nastiest among a pretty thick bunch of mongrels in Hobart. His particular charm was his capacity to back-stab or even better to "out-source" his torture machine. They say academics get the leaders they don't deserve......I would not wish Nixon on my worst enemy...he is a smooth-talking socio-path. From what I read he becomes the latest in a gang of thugs at Ulster. God help them!