Launch of ‘Prevent Bullying at UNE’

Published 08 May 2009

preventbullyingThe University of New England has launched a “Prevent Bullying” campaign to help all staff and students to an awareness of the causes and consequences of bullying, and strategies to prevent it.

The Chancellor, the Hon. Richard Torbay MP, and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew, hosted the launch of “Prevent Bullying at UNE” in UNE’s Central Courtyard on Friday 1 May. They spoke to an audience of about 120 people, including many senior staff members.

Endorsed by the Vice-Chancellor’s EEO Advisory Committee, the event was sponsored by Services UNE, which provided a barbecue lunch and donated the proceeds to the Armidale Women’s Refuge Shelter.

Kay Hempsall, the convener (with Dr Eliza Kent) of the working party that developed the campaign, said it had grown out of concerns raised in the Voice Project survey conducted at UNE in 2007. “The survey showed that about 40 per cent of staff members thought more could be done to eliminate bullying behaviours from the campus,” Ms Hempsall said.

“The large numbers of people who participated in a subsequent series of workshops, called ‘Beyond Bullying’, was a further indication of the need for a program to develop awareness and provide assistance,” she continued. The working party was formed to develop that program.

The working party organised a further series of intensive workshops last December, providing 20 staff members with the skills to advise any of their colleagues who felt they had been a target of bullying. “The ‘Prevent Bullying at UNE’ campaign developed out of those workshops,” Ms Hempsall said, “and we’ll be running more of them this year.”

“I look forward to being kept up-to-date on the outcomes of these workshops,” the Chancellor said. He praised the initiative, saying: “Bullying is a very serious issue that is widespread across many workplaces, and we must be alert to the problem. No UNE student or staff member should suffer in an environment where bullying is tolerated.”

The Vice-Chancellor said he was pleased that the important issue of bullying had been brought into the open, and to have the opportunity to talk about it and to address problems that might arise from time to time.

Information cards, prepared by the working group, were distributed at the launch, and these will be distributed widely across the campus in the coming weeks.

THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here shows the Chancellor, the Hon. Richard Torbay MP, with Dr Eliza Kent. Taken on the day of the launch, it expands to include members of the working party, Union representatives, and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew (centre front).