December 16, 2010
...While academics have paid little systematic empirical research attention to bullying in academic settings, this has not been the case in several popular online outlets and more traditional trade publications. For example, http://bulliedacademics.blogspot.com and www.mobbingportal. com/index.html represent some online destinations. In terms of a respected “industry” publication, the Chronicle of Higher Education has published numerous articles recently on the hostility and mistreatment that occurs on campuses (e.g., Fogg, 2008; Gravois, 2006). This suggests that academic settings are worthy and in need of concerted attention by researchers in workplace aggression and bullying...
...When bullying/mobbing occurs, it tends to be long-standing. McKay et al. (2008) found that 21% of their sample reported bullying that had persisted for more than five years in duration. In our 2008 study, 32% of the overall sample (faculty, staff, administrators, etc.) reported bullying lasting for more than three years. This percentage increased to 49% when we focused on faculty. It may be that academia is a particularly vulnerable setting for such persistent aggression as a result of tenure, which has faculty and some staff in very long-term relationships with one another. Both conflict (Holton, 1998) and aggression (Jawahar, 2002) research note that the longer and more interactive the relationship, the greater the opportunity for conflict and potential for aggression. Further, while ensuring a “job for life,” tenure may also restrict mobility so that once a situation goes bad, there are few options for leaving. Zapf and Gross (2001) observed that the number of actors was linked to the duration of bullying. They found that the more people who joined in the situation, the longer it went on, concluding that it may become increasingly difficult for witnesses/bystanders to remain neutral as bullying proceeds and intensifies...
...While injustice perceptions are common in all work settings, institutions of higher education may present numerous (sometimes unique) opportunities for such perceptions by faculty. For example, student evaluations of instruction are used in many important faculty personnel decisions such as discretionary salary increases, promotions, and reappointment and tenure decisions. Research clearly demonstrates that the content of the course, and “tough” grading, can adversely impact student ratings of teacher performance—leading to stress and frustration (which we discuss below), especially among junior (untenured) faculty. To combat this problem, some faculty may resort to grade inflation as a way of improving their own student evaluations—which, by the way, is often resented by other faculty members. This problem may differ according to academic disciplines and across academic departments. Faculty members are also evaluated using subjective, often ambiguous, criteria, as evident in reviews of scholarly/ intellectual contributions, department- and college-wide service, continuing growth, and community service. Few institutions have clear standards for judging such contributions and, instead, rely on general guidelines or descriptive criteria for making such evaluations. Such judgments often lead to perceptions of distributive injustice, unfair treatment associated with outcomes and procedural injustice, and unfair treatment associated with the decision-making process used to determine those outcomes (Greenberg & Colquitt, 2005)...
...Finally, the mechanisms available in higher education institutions may not be appropriately suited for helping faculty deal with these tensions due to their highly formalized structure and limited mandate (Leal, 1995). For example, in the United States and Canada, unions are designed to handle issues between faculty and the administration. They are not set up to handle member-on-member issues. Also, faculty members are less inclined to utilize these formal mechanisms because they take control of the situation out of faculty hands and into those of administration, impinging on the sacred value of autonomy...
Keashly, Loraleigh; Neuman, Joel H.(2010). Faculty Experiences with Bullying in Higher Education - Causes, Consequences, and Management. Administrative Theory & Praxis, Vol. 32 Issue 1, p48-70
December 11, 2010
Confused and Angry
December 06, 2010
The result at UVa was that nothing was done after the speech. The former President’s office was not engaged in discussions about bullying, and possibly the specific Kevin Morrissey complaints. If something had been in place, Morrissey would not have had to resort to pleading with HR and the other institutional helpers as his phone records indicated was done. HR may be implicated in Morrissey’s death. And the feel-good motivational speaker actually encouraged this negligent employer to believe that it had adequately addressed bullying on campus with a speech alone! Get serious UVa. What will it take to get American employers to stop the carnage within the ranks?
Also: UVa Report after Morrissey suicide – No negatives for boss Genoways
November 23, 2010
The University of St Andrews spent more than £200,000 on legal fees successfully defending itself against a claim brought by a former lecturer - around 10 times the amount that it might have expected to pay in compensation had it lost the case.
The claim was lodged by Declan Quigley, who alleged that in 2002 he had been forced out of his job as a lecturer in social anthropology by a culture of bullying in his department.
He lost his claim for constructive dismissal in 2004, as well as a subsequent appeal.
A Freedom of Information request has now revealed that the university spent £204,000 on the case - far more than the lecturer could have expected to win.
Dr Quigley, who now practises alternative medicine in Barcelona, claimed that the university and its principal at the time, Brian Lang, had failed in their duty to protect him from what he said were intolerable working conditions.
However, the tribunal dismissed his case after hearing evidence that Dr Quigley had been determined to leave. He later brought an appeal on various points of law but these were thrown out by the Employment Appeals Tribunal following a hearing in 2006.
A spokeswoman for St Andrews said the university had "no option" but to defend the allegations made by Dr Quigley.
She said: "We have a commitment to act fairly with respect to all employees and to publicly establish the facts, especially where the reputation of an academic department is being attacked. In this instance, that responsibility came at considerable cost.
"We regret the cost. As a default, the university seeks to ensure that all its resources are focused on teaching and research. But in this case we are vindicated by the result."
Dr Quigley said that, had he won the case, the employment tribunal would have been unlikely to award him more than £20,000.
November 21, 2010
November 20, 2010
In presenting their annual report to the Faculty Council on Tuesday, two ombudsmen said 22 percent of their office’s visitors in 2009-10 came with complaints about disrespectful behavior. That’s up from 17 percent in 2008-09, 12 percent in 2007-08 and 8 percent in 2006-07.
That follows an alarming national trend showing workplaces in general are becoming more disrespectful, with incidents of bullying, yelling, swearing and shunning, staff ombudsman Cynthia Joyce said.
“It is a real concern to us,” she said.
Two years ago, the university office started tracking complaints of bullying, which falls under the category of disrespectful behavior. Explicit complaints about workplace bullying were made by 10 percent of visitors in both 2008-09 and 2009-10.
“The consequences can be very severe ... so we’re worried about that as well,” Joyce said.
Such behavior is a departmental culture issue that must be addressed at the level of each department, said Susan Johnson, the faculty ombudsman.
The office served an all-time high of 517 visitors in 2009-10, a 6 percent increase from the previous year. University staff make up the bulk of the visitors, at 48 percent, followed by 30 percent students and 17 percent faculty.
The increase in visitors could be because of better visibility of the office on campus, along with the belief that early intervention in conflicts is of value, officials said.
The largest area of concern and complaint for all visitor groups to the office stems from a supervisory relationship, such as with a boss or dean — or a faculty member, in the case of students.
The office also is seeing an growing number of situations in which information is posted on Facebook or some other social media site that begins or worsens a conflict. Some people have been fired after inappropriate Facebook postings, Johnson said.
November 17, 2010
The Business Development Manager at the University was asked by the University’s former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Paul Bowler, to look into the finances in June 2009. He had been hired to put together a financial recovery plan for the university, which is on the Higher Education and Funding Council for England’s “at risk” list.
After Mr Bowler left the university in November, the attitude of senior staff, including the Vice Chancellor, Head of Finance, Dean of the Business School and Director of Marketing within the university changed towards Mrs Merrigan.
She told the Tribunal that they had colluded against her to was move her off the work she was doing - the recovery plan and financial investigation were effectively suspended.
Bristol Employment Tribunal found yesterday (30 September) that the Dean of the Business School, who was implicated in Mrs Merrigan’s disclosures, influenced the University to take action against Mrs Merrigan.
As a result, the Business Development Manager had suffered at the hands of the University for disclosing information on financial problems and she was awarded compensation of £6,000 for injury to feelings.
University of Gloucestershire whistleblower wins case
Gloucestershire University whistleblower wins industrial tribunal
University whistleblower who lifted lid on excessive spending on overseas travel wins tribunal
October 23, 2010
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/
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
• 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
• 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
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: 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). 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
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.
UNISON Press Release
September 23, 2010
While academics have paid little systematic empirical research attention to bullying in academic settings, this has not been the case in several popular online outlets and more traditional trade publications. For example, http://bulliedacademics.blogspot.com and www.mobbingportal. com/index.html represent some online destinations. In terms of a respected “industry” publication, the Chronicle of Higher Education has published numerous articles recently on the hostility and mistreatment that occurs on campuses (e.g., Fogg, 2008; Gravois, 2006). This suggests that academic settings are worthy and in need of concerted attention by researchers in workplace aggression and bullying.
...First, the rates of bullying seem relatively high when compared to those noted in the general population, which range from 2% to 5% in Scandinavian countries, 10% to 20% in the UK, and 10% to 14% in the United States (Keashly & Jagatic, in press; Rayner & Cooper, 2006).
...in our recent study conducted with university employees (Keashly & Neuman, 2008), colleagues were more likely to be identified as bullies by faculty (63.4%), while superiors were more likely to be identified as bullies by frontline staff (52.9%). Contrary to the current emphasis on student incivility, faculty concern about workplace harassment was more likely to be associated with colleagues (especially senior colleagues) and superiors much more frequently than with students. These findings support the importance of focusing on faculty behaviors in understanding bullying in academic settings.
Another observation is that the experiences reported involved two or more actors, that is, mobbing. Westhues (2004), in discussing the mobbing of professors by their colleagues and administrators, has argued that the experience of being mobbed is very different from the experience (however upsetting) of being harassed by a single actor. In our 2008 sample, we found that rates of mobbing differed as a function of the occupational group being studied. Faculty members were almost twice as likely as staff to report being the victims of mobbing by three or more actors (14.5% vs. 8%, respectively). Frontline (nonacademic) staff members, on the other hand, were 1.5 times more likely to be bullied by a single perpetrator. These occupational group differences, and the possibility of some differences in antecedents, consequences, and dynamics, support our focus on faculty experiences for this article.
When bullying/mobbing occurs, it tends to be long-standing. McKay et al. (2008) found that 21% of their sample reported bullying that had persisted for more than five years in duration. In our 2008 study, 32% of the overall sample (faculty, staff, administrators, etc.) reported bullying lasting for more than three years. This percentage increased to 49% when we focused on faculty. It may be that academia is a particularly vulnerable setting for such persistent aggression as a result of tenure, which has faculty and some staff in very long-term relationships with one another... Further, while ensuring a “job for life,” tenure may also restrict mobility so that once a situation goes bad, there are few options for leaving.
...Of all the types of bullying discussed in the literature (e.g., Einarsen & Mikkelsen, 2003), the behaviors most frequently cited in academia involve threats to professional status and isolating and obstructional behavior (i.e., thwarting the target’s ability to obtain important objectives)...
Proposition 1: When faculty bullying does occur, aggression will be indirect (as opposed to direct) in form, given the norms of academic discourse and collegiality...
Proposition 2: Tenured faculty exposed to bullying will be more likely than untenured faculty to “retire on the job,” or lower the quality of their courses, or less likely to engage in “discretionary” service-related behavior...
In sum, the studies reviewed here suggest that workplace aggression, bullying, and mobbing are part of the academic landscape, and their impact not only can be damaging to the targets and bystanders, but also may adversely affect the learning environment and the institution itself...
Proposition 3: In general, perceived norm violations will result in higher levels of direct aggression and bullying on the part of senior (as opposed to junior) tenured faculty members.
Proposition 4: Senior (tenured) faculty members will direct their aggression and bullying against untenured faculty members who are lower in rank, students, or staff.
Proposition 5: Senior faculty members will be more likely to engage in indirect forms of aggression against colleagues of equal rank, department chairs, and other senior administrators...
Proposition 6: The experience of frustration and stress among junior (untenured) faculty will result in higher levels of indirect and passive aggression against the perceived source(s) of that frustration and stress...
Proposition 7: Increased levels of cost-cutting measures will be associated with increased levels of negative affect, unpleasant physiological arousal, and, ultimately, workplace aggression and bullying by faculty...
This analysis suggests that faculty may have little motivation (or perceive themselves as not having the “legitimate” authority) to handle issues with “difficult” colleagues—allowing situations to escalate, resulting in a toxic climate and an increased likelihood of aggression and bullying. Recent research suggests that faculty find such circumstances difficult and often intolerable. For example, Ambrose, Huston, and Norman (2005) found that lack of collegiality was a key influence in the dissatisfaction of current and former faculty, resulting in their decisions to leave their institutions...
We believe that we have demonstrated that aggression and bullying is part of faculty experiences, and the potential consequences of these behaviors... Over the past 10–15 years, researchers have learned quite a bit about workplace aggression and bullying in a variety of organizational settings, but very limited attention has been focused on bullying in the academy. We have suggested there are contextual factors that seem unique to institutions of higher education that have been strongly linked to the onset of aggression both theoretically and empirically. Consequently, we believe that there is sufficient justification for pursuing more systematic research on bullying and aggression to better understand the nature, causes, consequences, and management of such damaging behaviors within institutions of higher education...
Keashly, L. & Neuman, J.H. (2010). Faculty Experiences with Bullying in Higher Education: Causes, Consequences, and Management. Administrative Theory & Praxis, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 48–70.
September 13, 2010
This paper explores the concept of shame within the context of workplace bullying. Despite a decade or more of international research into bullying at work, there is little or no evidence for explicit exploration of shame amongst those who have experienced bullying. Based on content analysis from the narratives of 15 college and university lecturers who were self-selecting victims of bullying we find clear evidence for feelings of shame which appear to last long after the bullying episodes have ended...
The escalation of workplace bullying
The growth of workplace bullying both in terms of research, and as an organisational phenomena in the UK, has been spectacular since 1993. Although known by a number of different names including ‘mobbing’ (Leymann, 1996; Zapf et al ., 1996), harassment (Bjorqvist et al., 1994), bullying (Einarsen & Skogstad, 1996; Lewis, 1999), workplace harassment (Brodsky, 1976) and emotional abuse (Keashly, 1998) amongst others, the central core of these differing concepts are ‘systematic mistreatment’ of an individual which, if unabated, results in severe problems for the victim (Einarsen et al ., 2003). The reported growth of bullying inside organisations appears widespread, regardless of geography. Studies undertaken in the UK (for example, Hoel & Cooper, 2000; UNISON, 1997), Scandinavia and Europe (for example, Einarsen & Skogstad, 1996; Vartia, 1996) and Australia (for example, McCarthy et al ., 1996; Richards & Freeman, 2002) have all shown increasing numbers of employees being exposed to bullying behaviours. Part of the reason for this increase in reports of bullying might be the product of amplified coverage by numerous media (Lewis, 2002) and to the growth in litigation and subsequent attention to policy and procedures by organisations and trade unions (Lewis & Rayner, 2003). These different narratives coupled with talk amongst victims, colleagues and ‘canteen lawyers’ provide fertile ground for multiple socially constructed realities of workplace bullying as a phenomenon rapidly on the increase...
Supporting the bullied victim
According to Leymann and Gustafsson (1996) and Matthiesen et al. (2003), bullied victims suffer from a lack of social support in work, which is central to coping with the experience of bullying and in mitigating health and stress symptoms. Hubert (2003) explains that from her experience of dealing with bullied victims, people get pushed from person to person or even institution to institution. Could this process of ‘push’ result in further feelings of shame? Hubert (2003) suggests that the initial desire to offer help to people who have been bullied operates merely as a referral service rather than any real practicable source of assistance. Even when referral to organisational departments who are supposed to assist bullied victims actually takes place, research suggests outcomes can often be unsatisfactory. Both Adams (1992) and Rayner (1998) report how it is often the junior ‘bullied’ individual who is relocated and not the ‘senior’ bully. This sense of injustice might well result in thoughts of shame as one is moved to new surroundings, new colleagues or even new work tasks. Here it is the victim who may suffer feelings of shame for not being able to deal with the original situation...
According to Hubert (2003), inappropriate advice on bullying can often result in escalation of the conflict. Witnesses or bystanders can be drawn into the conflict to such an extent that a ‘conflict of fear’ establishes itself (see Rayner, 1999, for example). Within this enculturation of fear, people become too scared to report bullying or believe that management know about it but will not take appropriate action to deal with it (Rayner, 1999). Liefooghe (2001) showed how employees at a UK bank were reluctant to speak out against bullying, despite assurances of nonreprisal for doing so. Instead, Liefooghe (2001) found more subtle intimidation and discreet forms of bullying occurring as a result...
Given the wider evidence of links between shame and depression, what evidence exists for similar associations in the bullying literature? Although there is limited discussion in the workplace bullying literature about shame, there are clear signals that this construct exists for bullied victims. Regardless of the source of the bullying behaviours, the shame impact, if prolonged and selectively targeted, is the same. Recipients are worn down, frustrated or intimidated, and severe cases can suffer with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Einarsen & Mikkelsen, 2003)...
Whilst some bullied victims found it difficult to concede they were victims, they also sought comfort in sharing their experiences with colleagues rather than with legitimised authorities. This contradicts the notion of shame as an isolatory experience. The fact that some victims of bullying seek colleague support during or after a bullying episode may indicate there is a collective need to administer retributive justice that they are unlikely to find within the corridors of personnel or their trades union. Their feelings of humiliation as to what was happening to them can only truly be understood by sharing their experiences with those who have also been bullied, or simply with those who know and understand the context. Neither personnel nor their union representatives seem to be able to undertake this role. This is partly because the bullied victims are experiencing shame at having to expose themselves to authority and also because they have feelings of humiliation for failing to deal with the issues themselves...
In trying to better understand workplace bullying it might serve researchers and those charged with dealing with the aftermath of an event to consider the importance of the shame construct, the ramifications of which are destructive, debilitating and long lasting.
Lewis, D. (2004). Bullying at work: the impact of shame among university and college lecturers, British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 281-299.
September 07, 2010
September 03, 2010
Another good person is a New York City-based HR professional who blogs and has written a book called the HR Toolkit and works with our NY State group to pass the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, despite SHRM’s official opposition to the legislation.
I write this love letter at the request of HR folks who hate reading the negative news about how HR does too little to stop bullying within their organizations. Believe me, I hate the fact that HR doesn’t help enough, too.
Really, I want to tout the value HR brings to organizations, but I need proof. I do not demonize HR. They are not wicked, ok maybe threatening, but not demonic. But I report the experiences bullied targets tell us. It’s that simple.
Clearly individuals are separate from the institutional role that dictates that they serve their executive masters and allow bullies to operate with impunity. The caveat is that whatever personal conflict over doing the right thing or the commanded or expected thing should compel more HR folks to be ethical, right and just.
That’s why I rely on empirical and anecdotal data to shape the story. HR folks, here is what 462 people who probably had been bullied told us on our summer 2010 online Instant Poll.
The percentage of cases in which HR took action and stopped the bullying: 3.4. There it is — the good news. Headline: HR Effectively Stops Bullying (3% of the time). HR you earned it. Celebrate. The 3%-ers are the good people. But what about the rest of you?
In 60% of cases HR did nothing after bullying was reported to them. Doing nothing was followed by an increase in bullying, for 26.6% of respondents.
Worse still, HR botched matters by taking action that helped the alleged bully and hurt the complainant in 32.5% of cases.
This is the reality confirmed by WBI coaches who have listened to over 6,000 detailed tales. And you might want to view the contributions to our HR Forum.
Don’t get defensive. Don’t attack WBI. Just do the right thing for the person hurt by the ones typically more powerful. Stop siding with the powerful just to keep your job or to curry favor from them. Grow a conscience. Be moral leaders. Teach executives about bullying and show them how destructive it is, for people and for leaders.
Now the Good News …
Here’s some great news for HR staffers. Though you have not fooled those who turned to you for help inside your organizations, the general public believes that HR is serving aggrieved employees. This statistic is derived from the latest 2010 WBI-Zogby national poll.
14.3% of adult Americans credited HR with taking appropriate actions that stopped the bullying with positive outcomes for the target. (compared to the 3.4% from the non-scientific online poll)
Botched efforts occurred in only 5.3% of cases.
HR doing nothing was estimated at 24.9%, allowing the bullying to continue but in only 6.2% of situations was the target harmed by increased bullying.
In the majority of cases, 51% of adult Americans , survey respondents were not sure if HR was told about the workplace bullying situation.
So, HR, please do not demonize WBI. Do better and we will gladly report it.
August 30, 2010
On July 30, Kevin Morrissey committed suicide after a reported three years of torment by Genoways despite the two having a genuine friendship at the start of their work together.
There was a record of several calls by Morrissey to university institutional helpers (HR, ombuds, EAP, president’s office). Either his call for help was not answered or treated with indifference. Those familiar with Morrissey’s complaints said that the rationalization for Genoways was that creative people like him could be difficult to work with and were often bad managers! In other words, live with him, adjust to him, Genoways is indispensable. Note the abdication of responsibility by this employer for the safe working conditions of its employees.
Said one fawning former intern, “Ted (Genoways) is the creative genius … the fulcrum of discussions about the future of VQR and, honestly, the future of journalism … Ted is the star at the center of VQR‘s constellation.” A publisher familiar with VQR lamented that “A crisis like this (triggered by Morrissey’s suicide) can be a death blow (sic), even to the strongest scholarly publication.”
The magazine had won awards and Genoways himself won a fellowship allowing him to be out of the office. His focus was on funding and enlisted the help of a 24-yr. old UV graduate, Alana Levinson-LaBrosse (she was so rich she gave $1.5 million herself to the university). Morrissey and she reportedly clashed as she, not Morrissey, was included in activities with Genoways.
Staff recalled Genoways screaming at Morrissey behind closed doors. Three VQR staffers even accompanied Morrissey to the president’s office to complain about Genoways. They were brushed off. There is evidence that Genoways sent Morrissey an e-mail accusing him of “unacceptable workplace behavior,” without specifications, ordered him to work from home and prohibited communication with other VQR staff. These are all classic tactics employed by bullies who enjoy privileged protection from the CEO (the former university president who left in July). They not completely unlike torture. The tactics were probably retaliation for Morrissey and Levinson-LaBrosse fighting.
The only tangible response from the administration was an apology by the president’s chief of staff to VQR staff for witnessing the clash between Morrissey and Levinson-LaBrosse at a meeting. No apology to Morrissey. No other official response to Morrissey’s complaints. No holding Genoways accountable. No offer of counseling to Morrissey.
Morrissey’s death followed Genoways’ draconian decisions and one last denigrating e-mail on the morning of his suicide. In that e-mail, Genoways, the espo0used “genius” and “star,” accused Morrissey of failing to help a contributor to a VQR story such that Morrissey put that man’s life at risk!
There was a report that some close to the situation warned the university that Morrissey might commit suicide.
Even after Morrissey’s death, the UVa’s official response to the request for complaint and response details from reporter Robin Wilson for the Chronicle of Higher Education (the source for this story), the university hid behind a faux shield of “confidential personnel records.” Morrissey’s surviving sister blames Genoways and the university and may file a lawsuit.
The negligent employer gets to bury the secrets to protect itself from being revealed.
There’s even more to the Univ. Virginia tale. A couple of years ago, UVa recruited WBI to come to campus. UVa instead brought in a “motivational” speaker. At WBI, we pass on several on-site speeches when employers resist creating a solution for the problem that prompted the request in the first place.
The result at UVa was that nothing was done after the speech. The President’s office was not engaged in discussions about bullying, and possibly the specific Kevin Morrissey complaints. If something had been in place, Morrissey would not have had to resort to pleading with HR and the other institutional helpers as his phone records indicated was done. HR may be implicated in Morrissey’s death. And the feel-good motivational speaker actually encouraged this negligent employer to believe that it had adequately addressed bullying on campus with a speech alone! Get serious UVa. What will it take to get American employers to stop the carnage within the ranks?
August 28, 2010
Empirical evidence (e.g. Greenhalgh, 1983; Armstrongstassen, 1993a) suggests that the post layoff environment can be stressful for a number of reasons: survivors are worried about their own job security, there may be anger associated with the process by which the redundancy program has been implemented and there may be concerns about the creation of heavier workloads due to the reduction of manpower. Brockner (1988) suggests that the onset of stress typically leads to changes in survivors’ work attitudes and behaviors such as reduced organizational commitment, job satisfaction and increased turnover intention. Several articles identified emotional responses in survivors such as guilt, betrayal and isolation (e.g. Machlowitz, 1983). These employee reactions were compared to survivors of other distressing events, such as natural and man made disasters. Brockner et al. (1985) undertook a study directly related to layoffs, or rather designed to simulate a ‘layoff’ situation in a laboratory study using students who were required to complete a proof reading task. The students were then subjected to a ‘layoff’ and were subsequently asked to complete a questionnaire to investigate how they had felt and whether or not they felt the process had been fair. The results found, in support of equity theory, that following layoffs ‘survivors’ experienced increased feelings of remorse and negative attitudes towards co-workers (in order to redress the balance of inequity). Secondly, the study revealed that those who perceived there to be an injustice produced less in their second proof reading task simultaneously suggesting that layoffs have the potential (negatively) to influence productivity...
The complete paper: The Psychological Effects of Downsizing and Privatisation
August 25, 2010
“I never could have forecast that the University would allow us to remain in this situation,” wrote VQR online editor Waldo Jaquith on his blog last Friday.
Indeed, workplace bullying expert Gary Namie says he’s surprised by the University’s decision. Genoways was the recent subject of a Today show feature, during which a VQR staff member called his treatment of Morrissey in the last two weeks of his life “egregious.”
“I would have put Genoways on leave,” says Namie, “just to cool things down.”
Instead, it appears the staff has taken leave and the embattled editor is busy putting the fall issue together with UVA spokesperson Carol Wood, who has been ensconced in the VQR office since Morrissey’s death.
“Ted has been involved with editing and proofreading of the fall issue with Carol Wood,” says Genoways’ lawyer Lloyd Snook. “I don’t know whether it is actually ‘to press’ yet— they were proofing furiously yesterday.”
Wood did not immediately respond for comment on Genoways’ status or her own work on the VQR.
Initially, Jaquith and fellow staffers had vowed to finish the fall issue, for which Morrissey had been serving as interim editor in Genoways’ absence; but now they have removed their names from the online masthead and left the “un-proofed and non-fact checked” issue for Genoways to finish.
Jaquith, who resigned just days before Morrissey’s death, will be going on vacation before he starts a new position at the Miller Center. Associate and assistant editors Sheila McMillen and Molly Minturn will be going on leave. Wood, however, emphasizes that they are both still employees of the magazine.
“We came back to finish the issue that Kevin worked so hard on,” says McMillen, “but we’ve had enough.”
Last week, UVA president Teresa Sullivan ordered a “thorough” review of VQR’s management so that “the issues and allegations that have been raised” can be addressed.
From: The Hook
August 16, 2010
When Kevin Morrissey walked to the old coaling tower near the University of Virginia campus late last month and shot himself in the head, he not only ended his own life, he exposed turmoil within the small staff of The Virginia Quarterly Review that now threatens the future of the high-profile journal.
Family members and people close to the review say Mr. Morrissey, the review's managing editor, had been complaining to the university about workplace bullying by his boss, Ted Genoways. But, they contend, the institution did virtually nothing to help. "Kevin had been to the university as recently as the Monday before the Friday he died," says a person who worked for the review. "The university had tools to step in and mediate, and they didn't." Some close to the situation say that in the days before the death, they even warned the university that Mr. Morrissey, who suffered from serious depression, might commit suicide.
Mr. Genoways, the journal's editor, is highly regarded in publishing circles. He is credited with taking VQR, as the review is known, from a sleepy publication to one of the nation's preeminent literary journals. He denies the allegation of bullying and says it was Mr. Morrissey's depressed state, not their rocky relationship, that caused Mr. Morrissey's suicide. "His long history of depression caused him trouble throughout his career," Mr. Genoways wrote in a statement to The Chronicle, "leading often to conflicts with his bosses."
In the wake of Mr. Morrissey's death, VQR's own stability has been challenged. Mr. Genoways's office has been cleaned out, and police officers have been stationed at the doors of the award-winning journal. The Chronicle got such details, as well as further charges of turmoil, from a half-dozen people close to the situation. None would allow their names to be used because, they said, the university has instructed them not to talk to reporters and they fear for their jobs. (A member of VQR's staff, Sheila McMillen, is the sister of a Chronicle editor. None of the information used in this article is from Ms. McMillen.)
Mr. Genoways told The Chronicle that the university had already "reviewed all the allegations being made against me and found them to be without grounds." The university wouldn't comment on that or answer most of The Chronicle's questions about the situation, citing the confidentiality of personnel matters. A statement on the journal's home page says that UVa "remains strongly committed to VQR."
Still, others are questioning whether too much damage has already been done. Elliott D. Woods, a VQR contributor and an ardent supporter of Mr. Genoways, wrote in an e-mail message to The Chronicle that he feared that accusations about what caused Mr. Morrissey's death could "ruin the greatest little magazine I know."
Gregory M. Britton, publisher of Getty Publications, agrees. "These are tough enough times for small literary magazines," he said. "A crisis like this can be a death blow, even to the strongest scholarly publication."
It was at the Minnesota Historical Society Press, where Mr. Britton was director during the early 2000s, that Mr. Genoways and Mr. Morrissey first came to work together. They got along well enough that a year after Mr. Genoways took over at VQR in 2003, he asked Mr. Morrissey to come to Charlottesville as his right-hand man. It was the kind of job that Mr. Morrissey had done before, those close to him say, and that he did well. People who worked with Mr. Morrissey, including Mr. Britton, say he paid close attention to details and could be counted on to take on more than his fair share of work. They also say Mr. Morrissey, who was 52 and had never been married, could be grumpy and prickly, and that he suffered from what at times seemed to be a deep depression. Some of those who spoke to The Chronicle say he had talked about seeing a psychotherapist and taking medication. "He managed his disease, and he managed to be really high functioning," said someone who worked with him.
When Mr. Genoways took over at VQR at the age of 31, it was with hopes that he would breathe new life into a stodgy-looking black-and-white publication whose editor's office didn't even have Internet access. The departing editor, Staige Blackford, had been at the journal for nearly 30 years and was in his 70s when he decided to retire.
Mr. Genoways gradually began putting the publication on the map, hiring well-known authors and photographers and taking on timely nonfiction projects in addition to the usual poetry and fiction. He paid journalists to write about high-stakes international conflicts like the war in Afghanistan and the violence of the Mexican drug cartel. The change quickly garnered both Mr. Genoways and VQR notice from those at the literary world's highest levels, winning the publication four National Magazine Awards and 14 more nominations, all of which it accomplished on a half-million-dollar budget.
During their first few years at the magazine, as it grew in stature, Mr. Genoways and Mr. Morrissey remained the closest of friends. In a letter Mr. Genoways sent to contributors this month that was obtained by The Chronicle, he said Mr. Morrissey was a fixture in his Virginia home and at holiday dinners with Mr. Genoways's wife and young son. Mr. Morrissey also traveled with Mr. Genoways to New York to accept the National Magazine Award that VQR won for general excellence in 2006. "We were the toast of the publishing world that night," Mr. Genoways wrote in the letter to contributors.
In the last few years, however, as Mr. Genoways took on more and more ambitious projects, and as he also became worried about the magazine's financial future, the relationship between the two men and the atmosphere within VQR's offices began to sour. Some of those close to the magazine say Mr. Morrissey questioned Mr. Genoways about what Mr. Morrissey felt were excessive advance payments to contributors and about bills for parties Mr. Genoways hosted that reached into the thousands.
They say Mr. Genoways, in turn, began cutting Mr. Morrissey out of key decisions and distancing himself from the office, refusing to answer staff members' e-mail messages, shirking many of his day-to-day duties, and dumping most of the work on his small staff. "The whole staff felt Ted took all the credit and did none of the work," said the person who worked for the review, adding that Mr. Genoways spent most of his time at VQR "scrambling to be a star." Mr. Genoways has been away from the office on a Guggenheim fellowship in recent months, but he still has been responsible for making sure the journal's issues are finished on time.
When Mr. Genoways was in the office, some recall, he could occasionally be overheard screaming at Mr. Morrissey behind his office door.
In his statement to The Chronicle, Mr. Genoways acknowledged there "had been tensions between staff members in the VQR offices." But people close to him, including the contributor Mr. Woods, say Mr. Genoways was hardly AWOL from his VQR duties. Nor was he depending on Mr. Morrissey and others to run the place. In fact, the exact opposite was true, says Mr. Woods. Mr. Genoways ran the magazine almost single-handedly, he says: The editor conceived of the ideas that inspired the covers, and cultivated contributors and held their hands through their reporting and writing, while at the same time he reached out to the larger world to gain renown for the journal and insure its continued vitality.
"Ted is the creative genius responsible for the magazine's success," says Mr. Woods, who worked as an intern at the magazine in 2008. "Ted is the fulcrum of the discussions about the future of VQR and, honestly, the future of journalism... Ted is the star at the center of VQR's constellation of writers, poets, and photographers."...
Seeking University Help
It was in this atmosphere, with the VQR staff growing more and more fractious, that Mr. Morrissey, together with three other journal staff members, went earlier this year to the president's office to complain. Mr. Morrissey had already registered his own complaints about Mr. Genoways with the university ombudsman and the human-resources office, according to his older sister, Maria Morrissey.
But university officials, those close to the publication say, brushed off the group's complaints, saying that creative people like Mr. Genoways could be difficult to work with and were often bad managers.
Meanwhile, people who knew Mr. Morrissey say he grew more and more despondent over the last couple of months of his life. He didn't think his problems with Mr. Genoways would ever be resolved. And he also felt trapped because while he may have been a talented editor, he lacked a college degree. Mr. Morrissey had a $76,000-a-year salary at Virginia and owned a condominium in Charlottesville, both of which he feared he might never replace if he had to leave UVa.
It was two final actions in the weeks before Mr. Morrissey's death that his family and friends believe pushed him over the edge. First, Mr. Genoways sent an e-mail message to Mr. Morrissey in mid-July, 10 days before his death (a copy of which The Chronicle has obtained), telling Mr. Morrissey that he had "engaged in unacceptable workplace behavior." In the e-mail, Mr. Genoways did not specify what that behavior was, but he ordered Mr. Morrissey to work from home for a week and warned him not to talk to other VQR staff members. People close to the magazine say Mr. Genoways was furious after learning that Mr. Morrissey and another staff member had clashed with Ms. Levinson-LaBrosse during a meeting...
Ann H. Franke, an expert on the law and higher education, said university officials should respond to all complaints of workplace bullying whether or not they determine a formal investigation is necessary. "Prompt handling of workplace complaints makes a better environment altogether," she said in an interview.
The University of Virginia paid for Mr. Morrissey's memorial service on the campus this month, says his sister, and bought plane tickets for his father and siblings to travel to Charlottesville. After the service, family members and people who worked with Mr. Morrissey went back to his home where they ate some of his favorite foods, including red beet salad and chocolate-chip cookies.
Around his apartment, says Ms. Morrissey, her brother had left signs that he was looking for a new job and considering selling his apartment. And on the bureau in his bedroom, he had a book that Ms. Morrissey believes might give some insight into how her brother viewed Mr. Genoways. It's called: Working With the Self-Absorbed: How to Handle Narcissistic Personalities on the Job.
From: The Chronicle of Higher Education
Read also: Tale of Woe: The death of the VQR’s Kevin Morrissey
And: Did Depression or an Alleged Bully Boss Prompt Editor's Suicide?
August 06, 2010
An academic has been cleared of harassing his former vice-chancellor via a “satirical whistleblower website” – but has been convicted of a public order offence relating to a meeting between the two.
Howard Fredrics, former senior lecturer in music at Kingston University, was acquitted by magistrates of harassing Sir Peter Scott, the institution’s vice-chancellor.
The charge centred on a website set up by Dr Fredrics, www.sirpeterscott.com, which he describes as “a satirical whistleblower website containing documentary evidence, musical songs and music videos relating to alleged misconduct by university officials”.
However, Dr Fredrics was found guilty of a lesser offence under the Public Order Act relating to a chance meeting with Sir Peter in Kingston.
Dr Fredrics says in a statement: “I am pleased by the court’s decision on the harassment charge, which is a tremendous victory for the right to free speech in Britain, and quite disappointed that the Crown Prosecution Service decided to pursue these charges in the first instance.
“Most importantly, I am extremely troubled by the fact that [Sir Peter] decided to lodge such a complaint, particularly since he has made public statements in the past to the effect that he did not wish to impede my right to free speech in relation to the website.”
Dr Fredrics said he would consider appealing against the public order conviction, for which he has yet to be sentenced.
Sir Peter said: “I am glad that Dr Fredrics was found guilty of threatening and abusive behaviour likely to cause distress to members of the public after he confronted me in Kingston town centre a year ago.
“Contrary to his allegations, I have never attempted to limit his freedom of speech. My only objection has been to his using my name for his website and untrue allegations against my colleagues. Both these charges were brought by the Crown Prosecution Service – long ago I, and the university, took a decision to ‘live with’ Dr Fredrics’ antics.”
As well as criticising Sir Peter, Dr Fredrics had used the site to expose controversial practices at Kingston.
In 2008, he posted a recording of lecturers trying to pressure students into inflating their National Student Survey responses.
Yesterday’s hearing was the conclusion of a lengthy series of legal battles.
In December 2009, magistrates found Dr Fredrics guilty in his absence of harassing Sir Peter and issued a warrant for his arrest. Dr Fredrics said he failed to appear at the hearing because of ill health. In April 2010, his barrister successfully argued that the lecturer was denied the right to a fair trial with legal representation because the court would not agree to postpone the case until he was well enough to attend.
The conviction and arrest warrant were set aside on the grounds that the trial should not have gone ahead without the academic being present.
July 16, 2010
There appears to be no sex bias in being targeted. Men and women are equally likely to report being bullied at work (Namie, 2007; Rayner, 1997; Zapf et al., 2003). However, organizational position and certain traits or behaviors are linked to being targeted. Organizational position is inversely associated with being targeted. The higher organizational position, the lower the incidence of bullying; low-status workers are simply more vulnerable (Hodson et al., 2006).
Certain traits, behaviors, or markers are associated with increased risk, but the inconsistency of associated markers fails to convey a reliable picture of targets. For example, appearing too weak, anxious, submissive, unassertive, or conflict-aversive is claimed to provoke aggression in others (Coyne et al., 2000). Conversely, communicating aggressively, rejecting less-ethical group norms, and overachieving are also suggested as antecedents to being targeted (Adams & Crawford, 1992). On one hand, targets are characterized as “literal minded, ... somewhat unsophisticated ... overachiever[s]” (Brodsky, 1976, p.89) who lack social, communication skills, have low self-esteem, and are suspicious of others (Coyne et al., 2000). On the other hand, research identifies employees who are particularly talented, conscientious, and well-liked by others as persons likely to be targeted (Coyne, Chong, Seigne, & Randall, 2003; Lutgen-Sandvik, 2006; Namie, 2003a). Plainly, there is no clear marker-cluster that categorizes targets.
Whether men or women are more likely to be reported as bullies has yet to be resolved. Research findings are mixed; some suggest that bullies seem to be male more often (Hoel & Cooper, 2000; Zapf et al., 2003), and others suggest the opposite (Namie, 2003a). There does appear to be a relationship between position and bullying others—supervisors or upper- managers are identified as abusers in 60 to 80 percent of cases (e.g., Hoel & Cooper, 2000; Lutgen-Sandvik et al., 2007; Namie, 2003a; Rayner, 1997). In a nationally representative survey (Namie, 2007), 72 percent of reported bullies were managers, some of whom had the sponsorship and support of executives, managerial peers, or human resources.
Workplace violence researchers have invested considerable effort in identifying precursors of potentially violent organizational actors. The traits and behaviors associated with such aggression likely play a part in bullying. These include lack of self control, self-reflection, empathy and perspective-taking (Douglas & Martinko, 2001); personal volatility; history or tendency toward depression; Theory X beliefs; Type A personalities; negative affectivity; and unstable, unrealistic high self-esteem (Neuman & Baron, 1998; Tepper, 2000; Zapf & Einarsen, 2003). For example, inflated views of self that are “unstable or heavily dependent on external validation” (Zapf & Einarsen, 2003, p. 168) are particularly vulnerable to being interrogated, contradicted, or censured.
Other alleged markers include lack of social or communicative adeptness (Einarsen, Raknes, & Mattheisen, 1994), growing up around domestic violence, or being a victim of child abuse (Randall, 2001). Alcohol and drug abuse and aggressive behavior in one’s personal life may also be predictors of workplace bullying (Douglas & Martinko, 2001). Whatever the constellations of markers, bullies act in ways identified as pathological, power-addicted, and controlling (Namie & Namie, 2000; Tracy et al., 2006). Bullies are perceived as being good at “managing up” and ingratiating themselves with higher-level persons. As with targets, however, there is little research directly linking any specific personality type to perpetrators of workplace bullying (Rayner et al., 2002)...
From: Lutgen-Sandvik, P. & Sypher, B.D. (2009) Destructive Organizational Communication. New York: Routledge Press.
July 07, 2010
The study, which will be presented for the first time at the Institute of Work Psychology's conference in Sheffield today, found that bullying from colleagues significantly influenced levels of stress reported seven months later. Researchers found 39 per cent of respondents reported frequent – weekly or daily – bullying from workmates in the previous six months.
Christine Sprigg, a psychology lecturer at Sheffield University, who led the research, said: "The evidence of the relationship between employee ill-health and workplace bullying is clearly shown by our data but, more importantly, we find that there might be workplace interventions – for example working to boost employee self-esteem – that can help to lessen the impact of other people's bad behaviour at work."
The research team collaborated with nine organisations and more than 5,600 employees in carrying out the study.
Dr Luise Vassie, from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health which funded the study, said: "We're pleased this research not only adds to the existing body of knowledge on this subject, but also provides us with ideas on how the detrimental impact of bullying on worker health can be reduced."
July 01, 2010
Microbiologist Michelle Adams said she was one of dozens of staff who had suffered bullying and harassment in recent years at the university and she believed it was an "ingrained culture" at the institution.
University vice-chancellor Nick Saunders said he did not believe bullying or harassment was a problem at the institution.
But he confirmed 57 complaints were investigated last year.
"To my knowledge bullying and harassment is not a major problem at the University of Newcastle in the context of an organisation that employs and teaches 35,000 staff and students," Professor Saunders said.
Dr Adams's case dates back to 2003 when she raised allegations of plagiarism against two fellow academics.
Following the allegation Dr Adams said she was treated like a "leper", frozen out of communication with colleagues, bullied in meetings and the hostility got so bad she was afraid to enter the staffroom.
In a statutory declaration to a Workers Compensation Commission conference last month she detailed being left off important emails, given an hour's notice by email to attend meetings at Ourimbah when she was at the Callaghan campus and feeling isolated.
"In the end I feared going to work and there were times when I would just break down and cry," she said.
"It has gone on for so long that it is hard to remember what life was like before all of this."
The University of Newcastle branch of the National Tertiary Education Union and Newcastle University Student Union launched a major anti-bullying campaign last year.
The unions said there was a "large volume" of cases in which staff and students reported ongoing bullying and harassment on campus.
Education union vice-president Rod Noble said in some cases staff had been forced to leave the university as a result.
"For some people there are fears of retribution and some are simply too afraid to speak out," Mr Noble said.
"People have left as they have felt that was the only way to resolve it."
Several former Newcastle University academics who spoke to The Herald confirmed a "culture of fear" and said if people spoke up they "risked their careers".
Professor Saunders said there was simply no evidence of a culture of bullying.
He said the university's complaints office dealt with 33 formal, or written, cases of harassment and bullying last year that were made by 27 people, with 22 cases upheld against 16 people.
Of them 17 cases related to bullying with 12 cases upheld against six people.
A further 24 informal complaints of harassment were made by 24 people and seven related to bullying. None of the seven informal complaints resulted in an investigation.
Professor Saunders said bullying and harassment was not tolerated and it was clearly against the university's code of conduct.
Punishment ranged from counselling to the university taking action for misconduct.
June 23, 2010
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