Australian Inquiry into workplace bullying - We need one in the UK too!

"The Committee encourages submissions to its inquiry from a wide range of individuals and organisations... More submissions will be added to the list when they are received and authorised for publication..."

Read some of the submissions, including one from the National Tertiary Education Union:

Time to have a similar inquiry into workplace bullying in the UK.

$10,000 Reward for Anyone who "Built it Alone"

I am pretty upset with Obama and his "you did not built it" comment. Sure, people are taking it out of context and making a big deal but uttering that sound bite was like fumbling the ball at the worst time. And, it was not a fumble after a vicicous hit. No he was just running in the open field and lost his concentration and dropped the ball. Whether it will be run back for the game winning touchdown remains to be seen but, if it is, he alone is the goat.

Just to test those who are offended because they "build their business on their own" I am offering a  "blow hard" reward to anyone who can demonstrate that the Obama statement does not apply to them. I guess this is an offer to small business owners but it could be to anyone who thinks they earned what ever they have without assistance. A non exhaustive list of the things you would have to prove are:

1. You did not attend a public school or recieve any scholarships.
2. You have not purchased for your business any items that were produced by a firm that employed people who attended public schools.
3. You have not employed people who attended public schools or whose parents did.
4. You have not used, for money earning purposes, public roads, sidewalks, libraries nor  have any of your employees or the people from whom you have made purchases.
5. Your parents did not pay for your education.
6. No one ever told you something you did not already know without being paid the full value of that information by you.
7. You have not purchased any items the quality of which is assured by any kind of goverment regulation. This includes engaging the services of anyone who the state has deemed qualified as a result of passing one type of exam or another.
8. No worker you hired was ever paid less than the revenue to which their efforts gave rise.

University of hard knocks

Staff relations at one of Australia's top universities have become so dysfunctional some employees spend working days "crying in the toilets". More than two thirds of the academic and general staff at the University of NSW - many in senior positions - said they had been bullied at work.

Some claimed to have been sexually assaulted. Many of the alleged bullies are women and university authorities have been accused of failing to address the issue, a federal parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying has been told.

A submission to the inquiry prepared by the National Tertiary Education Union said a confidential survey of more than 550 UNSW staff uncovered complaints about "unfair treatment, public humiliation, arbitrary misuse of power and repeated shouting, swearing and threatening behaviour in their work units". Almost 40 respondents said they received or witnessed "unwanted sexual attention" while others reported "illegal discriminatory activity, pressure to retire and demeaning and discriminatory jokes".

One senior staff member was heard to comment on a colleague, saying she looked like "Princess Diana after the accident with the steering wheel through her face".

The submission said: "This was reported to senior management in the workplace but the respondent was unaware of any action taken.

"Some of the open-ended responses described incidences that amounted to physical and/or sexual assault.

"Another said that seeing colleagues crying in the toilets was a daily occurrence."

UNSW vice president of university services Neil Morris said yesterday university chiefs had met the NTEU to discuss the report on workplace bullying.

"While there are isolated cases of bullying -- as with any large organisation -- the university does not accept there is a culture or pattern of bullying at UNSW," Mr Morris said.

"None of our internal measures of bullying complaints or claims match the NTEU data and, in fact, are much lower."

Federal Tertiary Education Minister Senator Chris Evans did not respond to a request for comment.

NTEU branch president at UNSW Dr Sarah Gregson said in the submission she feared bullying was becoming an unacknowledged but deeply corrosive aspect of campus life: "The evidence we gathered suggested that, although UNSW has a bullying policy and other guidelines that outline acceptable workplace conduct, these policies are routinely ignored and harmful behaviour is often excused."

The submission said many staff feared speaking up about bullying, were demoralised and would like to leave UNSW.

"We were surprised at the number of relatively senior staff members who were also being bullied," it said.

The union has recommended a range of reforms.




Bullying in Australian universities is widespread and should be investigated across the tertiary sector, says the academic responsible for a damning report into one of Sydney's top universities.

Sarah Gregson's Report into Workplace Bullying at UNSW, first reported in the Herald in March, uncovered a culture of bullying and intimidation at the university, and has now been submitted to a federal inquiry into workplace bullying. Dr Gregson, an academic at the university and the local branch representative of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), said she would be lobbying the union to extend her survey to other institutions.

''I've sent that report to a range of activists around the union and they say there's nothing in there that they're not very familiar with, so we just need to keep continue to keep campaigning … We'd like the parliamentary inquiry to recommend improved legislation in the area.''

In an email to staff yesterday the vice-president, university services at UNSW, Neil Morris, rejected Dr Gregson's report, saying there was no pattern of bullying and the research methods were not sound...

Read more:


Imagine if there was in the UK a National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying just as the one taking place in Australia right now.  Imagine what it would uncover in UK universities... and why is UCU not asking for such an inquiry?

The Ten Recommended Administrative Measures

1. “Focus on the situation, issue, or behaviour, not the person.”

2. Replace quasi-judicial campus tribunals with administrative decision-making.

3. Unless evidence compels them, avoid forensic words like allegations and charges.

4. Keep the rules clear, fair, and simple; keep policy and procedure manuals short.

5. In the face of demands that a professor be punished, entertain not just the null hypothesis but the mobbing hypothesis.

6. Seek proximate, specific, depersonalized explanations for why some professor is on the outs, as opposed to distant, general, personal explanations.

7. Encourage mindfulness of all the bases on which academic mobbings occur.

8. Defend free expression and encourage dialogic outlets for it on campus.

9. Keep administration open and loose.

10. Answer internal mail.


Yale Tries to Lock Up Law Professor Market With Yet Another Brand

It has long been known that one way to buy your way into law teaching, other than receiving a JD from a elite school,  is to buy a  LLM or a SJD from a comparable school. In fact, the highly ranked law schools offering those programs aggressively promote their graduates as potential law teachers. But now Yale is prepared to go one better. Yes, a Ph.D. for those who want to be law professors. OK, so what happened to the LLM and the SJD?  My guess is that this is just a move to differentiate the product and the substance will not be that much different.

On the other hand, it could be very different. There are some things a law professor might be able to learn in a program specifically designed to prepare him or her for law teaching that might be left out of another program. Here are some courses that are likely to be offered:

LAW 200: Conserving and Promoting the Brand

At the end of this process, you will possess the Yale brand. Protect your investment. This course concentrates on preserving the Yale image. For example, should you have a vanity license tag? How about a sweat shirt?  How can you mention you went to Yale and make it seem natural? How to ensure your children are admitted to Yale. How to make sure Yale grads are at the top of the list of people your future school will hire.

LAW: 300 Networking

The successful law professor networks. This means forming connections to people you do not know but who may be of use to you. Topics include: how to only network with those who can help you, how not to network with people who would like help,  compliments to offer when approaching a potential network partner, remember what people look like, remembering names, name dropping, etc.

LAW 400 Confercating

A successful law professor never pays for a vacation. Instead they go to conferences. This course stresses how to create a conference, how to get invited to a conference, how to classify expenses to ensure reimbursement. A significant part of the course is field work in which conference venues around the world will be visited.

LAW 500 Ingratiating Behavior

This is cross listed as Butt-Kissing. Whose butt should you kiss? And when? This is a skills course. You must learn to stroke the egos of those who can help you but not in a manner that is obvious. In addition to class there is a 2 hour lab.

LAW 600 Planning Your Teaching Schedule

Your research demands long stretches of time unencumbered by pesky students. All classes should meet from 11-12 AM on Wednesday.  Teaching on Friday interferes with Confercationing. Monday classes are not held at all at any reputable law school but if they are held you are entitled to  claim it was a plot to impede your productivity.

LAW 700 Testing and Grading

One word here:  Don't worry. In this course you will learn about delegating the entire process to others. Key areas are: How to download multiple choice exams from other sources, how to give the exam to your secretary to grade, and how to avoid students who have questions about the exam.

LAW 800 Getting What You Want

It is always better to get what you want in any manner other than by asking. Subject matter includes: Waiting to see if you can free ride on the requests of others, making pleas based  in what is fair, claiming that not doing it your way is punishment, volunteering to do what you want to do instead of asking. For example, "I volunteer to travel to Rome."