Posts Tagged ‘bullying in the academe’

Boston Globe: UMass Faculty Bullying

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Bullying of Faculty Alleged at UMass
By Laura Krantz, Boston Globe, Oct. 18, 2015

Power struggle roils chemical engineering department

It began as minor personality clashes among professors, the type that can be common at any university. But what evolved at the University of Massachusetts Amherst chemical engineering department has proved far nastier.

Over three years, the dispute has turned into an ugly power struggle over an aggressive — one report said “bullying” — attempt by four members of the department to recruit others in a coup to oust their department head.

Documents and e-mails provided to the Globe paint a picture of the extended battle. Some involved in it describe screaming at faculty meetings, a rigged department election, vindictive annual reviews, and an attempt to block a professor from securing a full-time position.

Facts about who is ultimately to blame are harder to find. What is clear is that for the prestigious department in the state’s flagship public university, with its renowned faculty, millions in funding, and promising research, the imbroglio created a poisonous atmosphere that has disrupted the scientists’ work.

Beyond the department, it pulled in the faculty union and Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, who called the situation “quite serious.”

On one side, professors accuse four colleagues of trying to bully other faculty into supporting a bid to undermine then-department head T.J. Mountziaris, who served for nine years.

On the other side, professors said Mountziaris, who lost his chairmanship last year and is on sabbatical, made life difficult for some faculty, going so far as to block one person’s attempt to shift to become a full-time professor.



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Cap Times: UW-Madison bullying policy

Monday, December 8th, 2014

New Policy at UW-Madison Aims to Discourage Faculty Bullying
By Pat Schneider, Capital Times, Dec. 1, 2014

Derogatory remarks. Unwarranted physical contact. Sabotage of a colleague’s work. Use of threats or retaliation in the exercise of authority.

Sounds like seriously bad behavior in the workplace, especially for faculty at Wisconsin’s flagship university.

But Soyeon Shim, dean of the School of Human Ecology, says she has heard of many incidents fitting one or all of those behaviors at UW-Madison.

This kind of bullying is not limited to UW-Madison, or to academics, Shim stresses.
“It’s human behavior. It’s everywhere,” she says.

But the occurrence of such hostile and intimidating behavior at a university threatens the fundamental tenet of academic freedom that allows faculty to search for and express truth in individual ways, Shim says.

“Lack of respect or making someone feel unwelcome or unable to voice their opinions goes against academic freedom. You should be able to voice your opinion without being threatened or sabotaged in promotion,” she says.



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Province: Stressed employee kept vomit bucket under desk

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Stressed Kwantlen Employee Kept Vomit Bucket Under Desk
Email to Education Minister Amrik Virk Detailed

By Mike Smyth, The Province (Vancouver, BC), August 6, 2013

Explain or resign.

That’s the ultimatum from the NDP to Liberal Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk, after The Province obtained an email linking the minister to a workplace-bullying storm rocking Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Sandra Kuzyk, 52, is suing the university for wrongful dismissal after she was sacked from her job as a long-serving executive assistant in the office of the university president.

Kuzyk alleges she and other Kwantlen staff were repeatedly bullied in 2011 and 2012 by then-interim-president John McKendry, claiming he “yelled, berated and otherwise terrorized, threatened, abused and harassed” her at work.

“He threw various objects, including but not limited to files, documents and binders at the plaintiff and others,” Kuzyk claims in a civil suit filed July 26 in B.C. Supreme Court.

Kuzyk also alleges McKendry pressured her to not co-operate with a 2011 RCMP investigation into a data breach of confidential student records.



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Workplace Mediators Seek a Role in Taming Faculty Bullies

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

By Peter Schmidt, The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 10, 2010

This is an article describing an initiative of the American Arbitration Association, the ADR Consortium, and the Institute of Human Resources and Industrial Relations at Loyola University Chicago (Prof. Lamont Stallworth). They believe they can mitigate faculty bullying in colleges and universities. See full article and the related comments. Then read our opinion on the mix of mediation and workplace bullying.


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