Pick on a way to beat the bullies 1

September 23, 2005

Sadly, the article "Bullying rife across campus" (September 16) only confirmed what many of us working in higher education have experienced or witnessed in the past few years, that bullying is part of higher education culture.

There is still a tolerance, acceptance of bullying in academia and, in some cases, a belief by high-level staff that humiliating and intimidating other staff is the best method of obtaining quality results.

Hierarchical structures lacking effective management combined with the belief that academic autonomy is crucial provide a breeding ground for bullying.

Institutions need to work hard to prevent a blame culture being established. It is crucial that senior managers and their human resources departments buy into the concept and belief that bullying is unacceptable.

If this is not visible, then human resources departments will continue to be seen as protecting the bullies and their institutions, not the victims.

The question is, would senior managers be more willing to address the issue of bullying if incidences were part of league tables or Higher Education Statistics Agency returns?

Shell Morgan
Kingston upon Thames

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