Bullying in Academia Up Close and Personal: My Story

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Paul Johnson



This paper is a personal account of being mobbed and bullied over the past four and half years. This whole experience began on October 26th 2009, with what the literature describes as the Critical Incident. Despite the fact that the assessment instrument had not been published, and accompanying medical documentation provided a context for what had occurred, people decided to ignore this information and utilized this incident to demonstrate that what the author had done was unethical and required swift retribution by the University. However, following an administrative review, it was determined that the author had not committed this alleged offence. Certain individuals were appalled and refused to abide by this decision. The outcome was that over the next four and half years the author was subjected to many of the experiences that Leymann, Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, Friedenberg, Khoo, and Westhues describe in typologies of bullying and mobbing. The most serious consequence was that on July 23rd 2012 the author suffered an Ischemic stroke. Not only was the author’s medical health compromised during this experience; this experience had a devastating impact on his emotional well-being, career and professional development. Within the School of Social Work, I was unable to receive peer support, administrative acknowledgement or empathy regarding the impact that this illness had regarding my well-being. What was even more troubling was the University’s unwillingness to confront the bullying and mobbing. Instead, with no resolution the school leadership continues to hold onto earlier accusations and through communications and interactions blame the victim.

Key words: mobbing, bullying, mental health consequences, physical health repercussions, personal and professional ramifications, critical incident method

Article Details

Author Biography

Paul Johnson, University of Southern Maine School of Social Work

School of Social Work

Associate Professor