Reflection on the Rutgers bullying case

Posted by on Sep 5, 2012 in bullying, cyberbullying, Discrimination

Reflection on the Rutgers bullying case Reflection on the Rutgers bullying case Reflection on the Rutgers bullying case By Dr. Leah Hollis, author of Unequal Opportunity: Fired without cause? Filing with the EEOC… As a Rutgers alumna I was asked today “what do you think of the sentencing of Dhuran Ravi for the cyber bullying incident of Tyler Clementi?”    Ravi was originally facing up to 10 years in jail for a cyber bullying incident that led to Tyler Clementi  committing suicide.  Instead, Ravi faces 30 days in jail and a $10,000 fine. Was the sentence too light? Should the conviction be appealed?  Is the isolation faced by Ravi the last 20 months already sufficient?  Maybe some of the other questions we should ask, where do kids learn this behavior?  Who teachers civility?  How does this behavior continue to manifest as we supposedly grow up and into careers? I had to pause. I am a 20 plus year veteran of student services, and worked in academic affairs and students affairs.  I have seen the best and worst of student behavior at some of the most elite campuses.  The antics of any dorm life can shame unwitting bystanders.  In this case however, a young man is dead, and the lives of the three students, (remember the hall mate Molly Wei who hosted the webcam) are irrevocably changed.  Therefore I initially say the obvious, no one is a winner.   Our society is chocked full of competitive and negative behaviors where decency is the least of concerns.  We learn competition and incivility from the school play yard when someone  was berated for being  weaker, smaller, younger or just different than the mainstream. Remember the days were students would race at the school bell to see who won the latest skirmish. The battle cry  FIGHT FIGHT?!? would bring a small troop of prepubescent spectators to witness the latest bullying battle. On a smaller scale, it was nothing for kids to punch, kick and push others, regardless of gender.   What we learned in kindergarten is often carried through our school years and college. Further, such behavior moves with us into middle age and our professional lives.  And consistent with the current behaviors regarding bullying,  people at one time or another tend to be on both the giving and receiving end of this behavior.   As the last few years of media coverage have confirmed that  bullying affects all age groups.  Youngsters in grade school and high school are facing bullying; as a result several states have anti bullying state wide policies.  New Jersey has one of the strictest anti bullying school policies in the nation.  On the heels of the Tyler Clementi tragedy, Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2011 was introduced in Congress to protect university students from harassment and bullying.  . In the face of pervasive workplace bullying, 18 states have...

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Workplace Bullying: Battling it out in higher education….

Posted by on Aug 30, 2012 in bullying, Discrimination

Workplace Bullying: Battling it out in higher education…. Workplace Bullying: Battling it out in higher education…. Workplace Bullying: Battling it out in higher education….   Workplace bullying is a documented phenomenon in corporate sectors and in Europe.  Workplace bullying is actually an extension of the school yard bullying.  Workplace bullying targets the people who are viewed as reasonable, empathetic or in the lower power position.  It is interesting then, that of late, several people have approached Patricia Berkly about their careers in higher education.  Workplace bullying is a critical issue that destroys the careers of many.  And as studies show, workplace bullying disproportionately affects women, people of color, the LBGT community and those over 40 in greater numbers.   Bullying means harassing, offending, socially excluding someone or negatively affecting someone’s work tasks.. it has to occur repeatedly and regularly over a period of time (about six months)… it is an escalating process, the person confronted end up in an inferior position and becomes the target of systematic negative social acts. (Einarsen, Hoek, Zapf, and Cooper, 2003, p 22).   Therefore, when a seasoned colleague feels he or she is hanging on until retirement, enduring put downs and unreasonable criticisms from a newly appointed leaders, workplace bullying can be the reason.  When the department or division cowers in its tracks just to make it another semester because their ideas are not valued, workplace bullying may be at the root.   Patricia Berkly LLC is focusing on an original study on workplace bullying in higher education administration.  The goal will be to identify the cause of workplace bullying, the targets of workplace bullying and offer solutions to workplace...

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Definition of Bullying

Posted by on Apr 14, 2012 in bullying, cyberbullying, Discrimination, Diversity Training, diversity training consultants, sexual harassment

Definition of Bullying Definition of bullying Definition of bullying   Definition of Bullying in the workplace includes: harassing, belittling, insulting behavior, especially if enduring such becomes a condition of maintaining a job. What is the definition of bullying as it applies to the workplace?  The definition of bullying includes harassment, discrimination, belittling and insulting comments… constantly. The definition of bullying is similar to the definition of harassment.  However, the definition of bullying includes ALL people, regardless of race, class or gender.  The definition of bullying also relates to a pervasive behavior, often at the hands of the boss or supervisor.  The definition of bullying should be considered by leadership.  Once the definition of bullying is taken serious, then quarterly training and support for supervisors can eradicate behavior under the definition of bullying. The definition of bullying should also include the cost of bullying. The definition of bullying should be something that human resources managers along with supervisors.  The definition of bullying should be something the executives consider.  Once the definition of bullying is understood, and the effects of bullying are understood, those who understand the definition of bullying understand that it costs organizations millions of dollars to harbor a bully.  The definition of bullying can lead to health problems; the definition of bullying can create a toxic work environment.  The definition of bullying and those behaviors that comprise the definition of bullying erode an organization and undermine productivity. Those who understand the definition of bullying also understand that the effects of bullying of similar to the stress of those who are subject to sexual...

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STOP Workplace Bullying

Posted by on Feb 26, 2012 in bullying, cyberbullying, Discrimination

STOP!  workplace bullying STOP!  workplace bullying STOP!  workplace bullying We might have thought bullying was one of those things we endure  as kids, but it is no coincidence that during a recession and season of budgets cuts, bullying has taken a serious foothold in schools and in the workplace.  Stressful situations breed workplace bullying as it triggers insecurity and the need to have absolute control in these stressful environments.  Ironically, the last thing a stressful situation needs is a bully who brings more stress to the environment. Workplace bullying brings emotional and psychological attacks to staff who then spend time fending off the threat, instead of time focusing on being productive.  Why then don’t organizations crack down on workplace bullying if it is so destructive? 1. Workplace bullies are often the boss, welding control, even threatening targets with demotion or job loss if they don’t comply with unreasonable demands. 2. Organizations often protect their management- the workplace bully-, even when management is wrong, therefore targets subordinates quietly suffer and plan an escape instead of addressing the problem. 3. Staff often makes excuses and won’t address the workplace bully: there is not enough time, or not enough energy to address the toxic personality. Patricia Berkly LLC offers some organizational solutions to help everyone maintain a healthy work environment and stop workplace bullying.  The time spent to put protective measures in place will help to maintain quality and productive employees. 1.   Establish a culture of zero tolerance with strong anti- workplace bullying policies.  Be clear about what behavior is acceptable and the steps the organization will take to protect itself from a workplace bully. 2.   Follow that policy.  Too often organizations craft wonderful policies, yet fail to follow them, or apply them inconsistently.  This allows workplace bullying to flourish. 3.   Offer regular and consistent training to address workplace bullying.  With natural attrition, any staff needs training.  Such training will also empower staff as a whole to address workplace bullying as the grassroots level. 4.   Establish information interviews with staff as a standard operating procedure to stamp out workplace bullying.  In addition to other aspects of the operation which need attention, this standard procedure could also uncover incivility in your workplace. Protecting your organization from workplace bullying is everyone’s...

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Transparent Penn State

Posted by on Feb 14, 2012 in bullying, Discrimination, diversity training consultants

Transparent Penn State Transparent Penn State Transparent Penn State On a new Web site, the university gives a detailed breakdown of costs stemming from the Sandusky scandal. The site also includes PDF versions of the signed contracts of new football coach Bill O’Brien and key school administrators.   Written by Mark Brennan Penn State has launched a new Web site offering unprecedented access to key university records and documents. Included on the site is a detailed breakdown of legal and public relations fees incurred in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal that broke in early November, a figure that has already reached $3.2 million. “This is a reminder of the commitment to open communication to the fullest extent possible,” said Penn State president Rod Erickson, who took over when former president Graham Spanier resigned after the Sandusky scandal erupted. At the time, the university drew heavy criticism for operating in a secretive manner. According to a grand jury report, certain university officials had known about allegations against Sandusky for more than a decade. But no serious action was taken against the former football assistant coach until the grand jury filed child sex abuse charges in early November. Sandusky maintains his innocence and is under house arrest awaiting trial. Penn State, meanwhile, has spent millions on legal fees and public relations firms. And now — thanks to Erickson’s vow for the university to be more open to the media and public — we know how much and where it is going. A total of $2,468,137 has been spent on an internal investigation and crisis communications. The internal investigation is being led by former FBI director Louis Freeh’s firm, the Freeh Group. Public relations are being handled by the law firm Reed Smith and the PR firm Ketchum. Another $467,940 has been spent on legal services and defense fees. Two civil suits have already been filed against Penn State in connection with the Sandusky scandal. Another $50,131 has been spent on what PSU is calling “externally initiated investigations.” Penn State is also picking up legal fees for Spanier (who has not been charged with any crime), as well as former athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Shultz, who are both awaiting trial for allegedly lying to the grand jury investigating Sandusky. Those fees total $210,309 to date. According to the site, all legal fees and public relations costs associated with what it calls the “Sandusky controversy” will be covered by insurance policies and from interest revenues from investments. The school insists tuition fees, alumni donations and/or tax revenues will not be used to pay for any of the expenses. The site includes a wealth of other information not previously available at Penn State. Included is a downloadable PDF version of the school’s employment contract with new head football coach Bill O’Brien (he is making $2.3 million per...

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What is Diversity?

Posted by on Feb 13, 2012 in Discrimination, Diversity Training, diversity training consultants, diversity training programs

What is Diversity?   What is Diversity?   What is Diversity? Many ask what is diversity is while our organizations are ever changing and facing shifting demands in clientele and resources.  The answer to what is diversity can be found in the very people we hire and serve.  Diversity is a mixture of people, and all of these people are needed to foster an inclusive environment for both internal and external client.  What is diversity?  Consider the changing demographics as over 15 states have a “minority majority” demonstrating that diversity is here to stay. In answering the question what is diversity, organizations should also guard against the type of tension by not honoring the different people on staff. In answering the question what is diversity, organizations should have policies which address religious, racial and gender differences.  In addition, when answering the question, what is diversity, consider the backgrounds within status.  People can generate incivility within class; women harassing women, racial minorities harassing other racial minorities.  By addressing the question what is diversity, leadership styles can address these differences to avoid bullying and create a healthy workplace.   What is diversity? As the community is shifting to being minority /majority by 2040 or sooner, what is diversity is answered by, a good business strategy.  As evident by the commercials featuring more women and racial minorities, our society and resources controlled by these populations show that answering the question, what is diversity, is key to constant evolution.  One way to address the question, what is diversity, is to have proper training, workshops, and assessments of the organizational culture. In addressing the question, what is diversity, organizations can conduct exit interviews, devise safe zones for complaints, and continuously train managers in the best strategies to engage employees. What is diversity is a question that is continuously asked; yet an organization that can answer the question, what is diversity, for its own establishment, is creating a healthy workplace. Reflect on your own organization; what is diversity.  And in answering the question, what is diversity, what is the organization doing to maintain that...

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