Readers' reactions

April 30, 1999

Last week in The THES...Cary Cooper argued that bullying is on the increase in universities

I am a professor in a grade five department at a leading research university, one of only nine female professors. Throughout my career I have experienced patronising comments, direct and indirect discrimination. In the past year I have had time off sick, some of which I attribute to work-related stress. I work in a university that has no provision for ensuring a gender balance on appointment committees and in a department in which the professorial group of 12 men rejected my suggestion that we conduct a gender audit on salaries. Universities are caught between pseudo-democratic structures and often out-dated, inappropriate personnel management. This breeds the jealousies and frustrations that lead to a bullying culture, where no one feels properly valued. How to tackle it: acknowledge it, understand that it is about fitting in, being the right gender, ethnicity and class. University management should not be for amateurs: training should be compulsory.

Celia Wells Professor of law Cardiff University

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