It's not about punishing your supervisor or being a whistleblower...


It's about taking a stand, doing something about the unfairness in the academic workplace.

Why are you sitting around writing about how awful you feel about the unfairness you are subjected to in the workplace?

I don't want to be a whistleblower - whistleblower's are VICTIMS. We have to be much cleverer than that.

Do you remember "Sarah's Law" after the murder of Sarah Payne? What did the parents do? Did you see them throwing stones and cursing their daughter's killer?

NO! They, made a law so that from now on violent sex offenders face lifelong supervision by the police and social services in an overhaul of the country's criminal justice system.

So, what has this to do with unfairness in the academic workplace?

Well, I'm saying we get together to make a law, a procedure. We sit around, drinking tea and conconting this law. We get it perfect because all of us know the ins and outs of academia, having worked there, and then we push this law into the public domain.


Nobody's supervisor is named. Nobody has to be named. Everyone can stay anonymous, nobody has to declare anything. We know that bullying goes on because it's here for everyone to see.


I've got nothing to lose because I'm working behind the bar at O'Neills having been forced to quit my PhD by my supervisor, which he had no right to do.

I appreciate all you of you still working in academia have more to lose than me, but why do you have to say that this applies to you? Why don't you say you're just interested in the cause?

If you run a race for cancer research, does it mean you have cancer?

We need a law to protect PhD students.


Like the fingers of a hand, and a hand that chooses to change things, can you be a finger of that hand?

[email protected]


I agree and empathise with you QTpie. Luckily my supe seems a nice guy, (early days still) but experience with my previous employers was something similar. One guy drew attention to bad practice, was consequently sacked and didn't work for 5 years! All because of a whisper campaign.
There is no excuse for blatant unprofessionalism from those who us students are supposed to look up to until we can stand on our own academic feet, so to speak. Start a working group, you'll help many but don't let it be an excuse for others to use it to vent vitriol.
Just as an aside, I thought the NUS was supossed to deal with things like this?


I am very sympathetic: you must be p*ssed off, and quite rightly. But I think all this is covered under EU legislation already. You are unlikely to win sympathy from outsiders by comparing your situation to that of Sarah Payne's parents.


Juno, I think that comment was very unfair, I don't think that QT was comparing her experience with that of Sarah Payne's parents, but using their response to their situation as an example. Reminiscent of tabloid journalism to misread like that.


I've been reading the latest threads with interest. As someone who's completed the PhD, having had pretty good experiences in the system, I could still see A LOT wrong with it. I was a postgrad course rep, and some of the things people approached me with were unbelievable.

QT, I think it's great that you are so fired up. Obviously this is in reaction to your recent unfortunate events, so I would advise you to try to partially distance yourself from those (really hard I know) and wait to see what others have to say, but you certainly have my full admiration and support.

Whether focussing on bullying or not, there is something wrong with a postgrad system which has roughly a 50% drop out rate. If that was the case in our undergrad population there'd be a government inquiry. The Phd experience needs probing extensively to find out how much support (or lack thereof) students get.


OK, thanks for your input.

I am fired up and having chewed the cud a bit, I feel there is not much hope: as someone rightly mentioned previously, the bullying does not stop at PhD level. It infiltrates through academia.

I was going to say, how can we apply a system just to PhD students and then not consider the academics, i.e. so it stops at PhD level, but begins again when you qualify??

That's the point. If you tackle one part, you have to tackle all of it.


I didn't realise the drop out rate was as high as 50% - so I'm not in the minority then.

I'm not the only one who wishes I could do something about it: someone else is going to go through what I did.... could be someone weaker....


Thanks everyone.

I am doing exactly as you say: I'm distancing myself from the situation and I'm waiting to see what others say.

Yes, I'm upset, because I was forced out of my job. Yes, I'm upset because my supervisor got away with accusing me of a catalogue of things which were plainly untrue. Yes, I'm upset that my supervisor duped me into "exams" that were set up to put the final nail in my coffin. Yes, I'm upset that people like him win in the situation.

I'm not going to do anything at all. If others want to do something with me, that's different, but most people are afraid... especially of the bullying tag.


May be not suitable in your specific situation but how about setting up an educational contract between supervisor and student? This is used in a lot of settings related to adult education. It would make explicit what you can expect from each other and provides "internal pressure" for both parties to try and keep themselves to it. May not stand up in court, yet does provide some guidance on what the two of you should do.

What do you think?


It's a good idea Rick and the institution I was at had one, but it was ambiguous to say the least. One statement was "the supervisor should give the student all the support that is needed". I mean any evil supervisor can look like he's providing support while he's stabbing you in the back!!!


Yeah, see your point,

you are quite right that these things are very limited if the supervisor does not want to play ball.

How are you today?



I apologise for my last question; I can see from your previous entries that you are upset. I am sorry.


No worries Rick; I need all the advice/input I can get and it's talking to people like you about experiences that helps put what happened to me in perspective.