Comments on: Academic workplace bullying: run away, indeed! http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/27/academic-workplace-bullying-run-away-indeed/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:41:03 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Al Gay http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/27/academic-workplace-bullying-run-away-indeed/comment-page-1/#comment-990830 Tue, 03 Apr 2012 16:36:49 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=411#comment-990830 Did I spell the university’s name correctly? That would be Binghamton University.

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By: Al Gay http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/27/academic-workplace-bullying-run-away-indeed/comment-page-1/#comment-990828 Tue, 03 Apr 2012 16:34:42 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=411#comment-990828 At Binghamton University the bullying is institution wide and top down. In other words, the upper administration has set the stage for the bullying that takes place at the department level. The Deans fail to intervene even when conduct by faculty towards others is egregious. Victims are told that the bullying conduct aimed at them is justified–with reasons given that would knock your socks off (although identical conduct against a male by a female would not be tolerated and would likely result in the males circling the wagon and brutalizing the female). Males are routinely allowed to take credit for work completed by female faculty, are allowed to interfere with relationships between graduate students and female faculty members and are allowed to marginalize and discredit female colleagues without any concerns for consequences. Defenders of the university are quick to deny that this is possible because the university is gender balanced and many of the administrators, (and until recently the president) are female. Those who think having females in key positions makes gender discrimination and tolerance for bullying impossible are sadly mistaken. My topic area consists of 80% male faculty and 80% female graduate students. Guess which gender is viewed as more influential. Historically the male faculty have marginalized area women who usually leave after a brief period-never getting near tenure-and never setting foot in the town again. The women in the other areas that are gender balanced have had no reason to support those in my area since they often align themselves with the more powerful males. You don’t have to listen particularly carefully to hear the negative comments made to graduate students about the female faculty. Yeah, I am no longer silent. What a poor environment in which to train professional women (and men) and what a poor environment in which to be trained!

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/27/academic-workplace-bullying-run-away-indeed/comment-page-1/#comment-822394 Thu, 05 May 2011 11:17:05 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=411#comment-822394 profb: I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. I think you’ve diagnosed your plight correctly. However, I would urge you not to worry about your students and just try to find a way out. The academic job market stinks more than ever, but if you’re willing to consider non-academic work (at least for a while) you might see that you have other options.

Your colleagues probably feel very guilty to have recruited you into such a dysfunctional place. That may be one reason why you are being isolated. (Then again, those who remain might well be a big part of the problem–it’s hard to say.)

If you can’t get out in the next few years, try to make alliances with people in other departments and programs. One of the consequences of bullying (and the attendant isolation that you feel) is that information isn’t circulating freely in your department and you are not in the loop w/r/t a number of things that might help you out. Get to know people who work in other units by attending seminars, inviting people out for lunch or coffee, and get to know them and insinuate yourself into more supportive spaces on campus. They may not be able to help you, but the very least, you’ll meet colleagues and make friends who will make you feel less personally isolated. But, they may also have ideas for you, or background information on your department, or a line on some startup funds that your Chair may never have told you about, all of which might be useful and get you re-energized about your research.

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By: profb http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/27/academic-workplace-bullying-run-away-indeed/comment-page-1/#comment-822287 Thu, 05 May 2011 01:32:45 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=411#comment-822287 I have been bullied for the last two years since I started my tenure track position. Five faculty members left without a tenure before I started working in our Department. I have never met them. The reason is the politics in the Department; either you bring in large amounts of funding during your first year or the Chair starts making your life difficult in every aspects and talks to other faculty members badly about you so that at the end the your emails are not even answered. I am ignored, isolated, not taken seriously, my ideas are not appreciated and are always wrong, whatever I do is wrong and even my successes, such as having single author papers published and a book, and received small grants are simply not enough. Given the funding situation and financial crises, it is really hard to receive grants and funding. The job market is bad and I cannot just leave. I loved my research before I started working here and they hired me from a hot shot University, I was a dedicated and motivated and a happier person before I came to here. I feel really bad and I started not liking myself. I also have graduate students and what would happen to them if I leave the academia? I think I will be ready to leave research and academia for good after my students receive their degrees but I am not sure how long I can take this. I lost my love and passion towards research in this place. I became a very depressed person.

Our Chair has all the politics in his hands and favors some of the faculty and ignores and treats others differently. Either you need to have very large amounts of grant funding in your first year or you need to be one of his good friends.

I feel depressed and I do not see a way out. Its like not being alive anymore without knowing if there is a way out. I admire your new position and that you could escape from such an hostile environment.

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By: Gary Freedman http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/27/academic-workplace-bullying-run-away-indeed/comment-page-1/#comment-820039 Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:20:15 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=411#comment-820039 I was a victim of workplace mobbing at a large law firm where I worked for 3 1/2 years. All my performance evaluations were exemplary. Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer, and complained to the firm’s senior managers. The managers “investigated” and discovered that everyone I worked with had problems with me (big surprise!). The firm spoke to a psychiatrist behind my back — never having me speak with the psychiatrist personally, a violation of medical ethics — and the psychiatrist advised the firm that I was severely mentally ill, that my report of harassment was a product of mental illness, and that I might become violent. Within a week of my complaint, the firm fired me. They claimed there was a “lack of fit” between me and other employees.

I wrote a case study of the harassment I experienced, which can be accessed at the following site:

http://dailstrug.blogspot.com/2010/10/akin-gump-hostile-work-environment.html

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/27/academic-workplace-bullying-run-away-indeed/comment-page-1/#comment-805698 Wed, 23 Mar 2011 14:16:26 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=411#comment-805698 Cherie–thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear about your situation, but I hope that tenure has given you the space you need to protect yourself and to build a career that is somewhat satisfying.

Thanks also for sharing your data point about singleness and vulnerability–if I weren’t married to a burly guy who looks like Ernest Hemingway that I would have been treated even worse because they would have known that I was economically and emotionally more vulnerable.

I think you’re exactly right that leadership is key to turning things around–but in humanities departments, most administrators don’t want to bother or spend the money and attention it would take.

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By: Cherie http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/27/academic-workplace-bullying-run-away-indeed/comment-page-1/#comment-805545 Wed, 23 Mar 2011 04:15:41 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=411#comment-805545 I’m not sure if this is still active, as there are no posts after 2008. I want to express my appreciation for you web pages on academic bullies and second your advice to get out of highly problematic departments as quickly as one can. I’ve been in one for 27 years. I did try to leave before I was eligible for tenure. Then I hoped that getting tenure would calm things down. Maybe a new chair or dean would help. Eventually the bullying did modify–but only to become mobbing. I’m exactly the type of faculty member you described as vulnerable: single, supporting an elderly mother, female.

In rare instances, if one has a courageous and fair-minded administration, bullying and mobbing will be confronted. Even if I were lucky enough that such an administrator were to be hired at my university, I seriously doubt that there would be any substantive change in my situation. The department has a bullying culture. If there were only one bully, it might be possible to rein him in until he retires (which he could have done already). One bully just got tenure, and another is the chair. Yes, tenure-track bullies do exist.

Staying to try to change the situation is long-shot, and I wouldn’t recommend taking on those odds. My biggest mistake was believing that a religiously-affiliated institution would have some commitment to practicing what they preach.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/27/academic-workplace-bullying-run-away-indeed/comment-page-1/#comment-35026 Tue, 08 Jul 2008 02:43:15 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=411#comment-35026 Hey, Ignatz–thanks for stopping by to comment. (You might be interested in the comment by Rose on this related post:

http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/25/dont-sue-run-for-your-lives-part-ii/#comments

Your former department’s review practices are totally screwed up. I’ve heard of other departments that let even untenured people vote on tenure cases–but yours is the only one that allows people to gratuitously insult you anonymously as they fire you. It’s like a crazed evil fraternity or sorority house over there.

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By: Ignatz http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/27/academic-workplace-bullying-run-away-indeed/comment-page-1/#comment-34915 Mon, 07 Jul 2008 21:37:42 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=411#comment-34915 Hi historiann and friend SF,
I mentioned the book idea to a grad school friend who teaches in a relatively well-functioning (!!) English department. She suggested the book include ethnographies of departments that don’t tolerate bullying. What are the commonalities between them? Can a strong dept chair stop abuse hirself, or does ze need upper administrative support?
As historiann knows,I was bullied out of a t-track job at an institution where the dysfunction saturates every aspect of the place like a noxious smell (a rather apt analogy, actually). Even if the chair had had the moxie to stand up to department meanies, ze would have received no help from anyone “above” hir, even at the state higher ed commission level.
I did call the AAUP. Given the particulars of my situation, the AAUP higher-up I spoke with (since retired) said there wasn’t anything I could do. First of all, I wasn’t a stellar employee in some ways–but salvageable, I think. Second,at my school, all department faculty (tenured and non) voted yearly whether to re-appoint non-tenured faculty. No standards applied. Some of my “colleagues” insulted me on their ballot; others obviously hadn’t read my file. All comments were anonymous, of course. So in my “terminal year,” I’d politely greet faculty members wondering if they’d been the one who wrote “Can’t even speak proper English” or “Nothing but trouble” or (read the file, dummy!)”poor publication record.”

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By: SF http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/27/academic-workplace-bullying-run-away-indeed/comment-page-1/#comment-31991 Tue, 01 Jul 2008 03:54:28 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=411#comment-31991 I will take you up on that, Historiann! Give me a little time to gather my thoughts (got a lot going on……)

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