Bad Apple Bullies

Bad Apple Bully school principals and departmental officers can bully Australian teachers into ill health - and out of work!

A former University of Queensland PhD student's story.

Editor's Note : This story was sent to me in a series of recent emails.

It is a pretty amazing story, but I have asked several questions about the story and have received very detailed answers.

My 'gut feeling' is that the story is true.

But if UQ would like to respond they can email me


The former UQ PhD student's story :


I am a former employee and PhD student at The University of Queensland.

I am a gay man.

In 2003 I was forced to leave my job and my studies because I refused to date a female student XXX, a self-proclaimed fellow employee, who was stalking me.
Female student XXX responded to my refusal to date her by threatening to make my life hell, in writing.
When I continued to refuse to date XXX and informed her that I'd view persistence on her her part as harassment, she made a malicious complaint of sexual harassment against me.
Despite having previously complained about the behaviour of student XXX repeatedly to my female supervisor, my supervisor and another staff member assumed my guilt - I am a man after all - and instructed me to apologise to student XXX in writing.
They refused to tell me what exactly I'd been accused of but insisted I apologise for it.
All I could apologise for was not asking XXX to leave me alone sooner, though explained I had been acting on the advice of my supervisor who had in previous cases of unwelcome amorous advances from female students instructed me only to keep a record of incidents and wait for them to actually ask me out.

While not known to me at the time, student  XXX was currently on probation for trying to strangle her ex-boyfriend in a public place and (according to one report) had only very recently made malicious false allegations to the CMC against police officers in that matter.
XXX had also made criminal access to my Centrelink records while in their employ and while on a student placement there for the University of Queensland.
XXX later went on to fake a series of death and rape threat emails she claimed I sent her, which she used to first attempt to gain a DVO against me and then successfully an AVO.
The police proved she faked those emails.


I lodged a complaint with the university.
The university responded by isolating me.
They maligned me.
They witheld key evidence by "misplacing" it.
They did truly outrageous things and then tried to make me out to be crazy when I reported them.
The university have a history of unfairly dismissing staff through creative restructuring, as seen in this most recent matter with Mr Procopis.

Staff at UQ know this is how UQ operate.
So do the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC).

UQ staff know this is what to expect should they ever dare to lodge an internal complaint.
And the CMC, rather than holding UQ to account, seem to bend over backwards to cover up the misconduct of senior management.
This is why there is such a pervasive and destructive culture of bullying at UQ.
UQ also seem to have an unusual relationship with the Anti Discrimination Commission of Queensland (ADCQ).
Unlike every other Australian University policy I checked, in 2003 (and I believe this was the case until about 2008) UQ's s-xual harassment policy made no mention of the federal Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) .
The UQ s-xual harassment policy only referred staff to the ADCQ as an external body to whom discrimination complaints could be made.
I followed that advice.
I phoned the ADCQ.
The ADCQ's initial advice was that I had clear grounds for complaint.
But when my complaint was received it was assigned to one ADCQ staff member, reassigned to another without a reason being recorded in their system (which I learned during a later phone call to them) and then wrongly dismissed out of hand without explanation.
When I sought feedback on why it had been dismissed, the ADCQ officer in question just hung up the phone.

From the ADCQ website I learned about the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC).
So I contacted HREOC.
HREOC advised me that it appeared I had clear grounds for complaint but s10 of the S-x Discrimination Act prevented them from accepting a complaint if it had already been submitted to a state government agency.
I asked if I could submit the complaint and just get the feedback even if they couldn't accept it.
HREOC agreed to that.
So I submitted the same complaint to HREOC.
HREOC contacted me and urged me to speak to the ADQC again.
HREOC was certain I had clear grounds for complaint and that the ADCQ were wrong.
Unfortunately for me, the first lawyer I approached seemed to have a conflict of interest.
He told me to ignore HREOC, because they're a completely separate organisation (from the ADCQ) and wasn't interested in what they had to say.
He advised that he'd look over the material and get back to me.
He never did.
Now he's a judge.

I phoned the ADCQ.
They said they didn't care what HREOC thought and wouldn't accept the complaint.

So HREOC accepted my complaint.
HREOC can no longer rule on cases though.
They assess them, make a recommendation and then it has to go to a federal court.
They used to judge them themselves, but the legislation they were set up under was flawed and someone took them to court to overturn one of their rulings on those grounds and was successful.
The government didn't bother to fix the legislation so HREOC had to limit themselves to recommendations.

HREOC said yes, I'd been discriminated against in the way UQ handled the complaint, especially their immediately assuming my guilt and instructing me to apologise.

I think they also said yes to her s-xually harassing me with the threat after I refused to date her.
But they said no to her making good on the threat with the malicious complaint of s-xual harassment against me because I refused to date her itself being a form of s-xual harassment.
It's a bit of a black hole.
In theory UQ should never have accepted her complaint against me because it was so obviously malicious.
That's how s-xual harassment law been structured to prevent it being abused the way she did.
In theory at least.
She inquired about submitting one to HREOC and they advised her not to bother.
UQ also shouldn't have ignored her full written confession to having made up all of the allegations or found me partially guilty on the basis of a non-existent confession.
But that's what they did.

It went to the Federal Magistrate's Court where it languished for four years.
On paper they say s-xual harassment cases should be heard within 12 months.
Bits of it got summarily dismissed and then undismissed on appeal to the Federal Court.

It literally ended in tears when the court first breached my privacy and gave her my home address, then in the last hearing I attended the magistrate threatened to throw the case out if I didn't immediately give them and by extension her my new home address.
That completely did my head in and I broke down crying at the court registry.
After so many of years of sticking to the high road even though both she and UQ played incredibly dirty, I had to either see the case thrown out and all my effort, sacrifice etc. go up in smoke, give my stalker my new home address and then move again as quickly as possible (which I couldn't afford), or lie about my new address and try to sort it out later.
I did the last one, and that was basically the end.

UQ were lining up some sort of settlement (in their typical fashion) with the obligatory non-disclosure agreement for me.
I could have let everything be swept under the carpet but that would have been wrong on so many levels.
Sandy was not the first person I'd seen forced out of the University because of harassment/bullying.
He was the sixth, I was the seventh and there were two more soon after I left.
One of them saw what they put me through and told me she didn't even complain.
She just resigned and got out of there.

I was morally obliged to take a stand and I did that.
As well as I could.
I know the court shouldn't have breached my privacy by giving my home address to Little Miss Strangler and the magistrate definitely should not have threatened me the way he did, but I also should not have responded by lying under oath giving a false address.
I don't beat myself up over it but I couldn't keep going.

Tony Fitzgerald presided over the last royal commission into corruption in Queensland. 
Mr Fitzgerald has been candid about his view on the current state of corruption in Queensland.
Corruption has been a pervasive and terribly destructive problem in Queensland for far, far too long.
Onlookers witness good UQ staff (Mr Procopis) being punished unfairly and bad staff getting away with terrible misdeeds.
They realise that senior Queensland Public Servants are above the law and there is no justice.
Perpetrators and potential perpetrators learn that they can get away with anything in Queensland.