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Damning report shows worst levels of bullying at Canterbury Christ Church university

Canterbury Christ Church University is preparing to build a £12 million arts centre.
Canterbury Christ Church University is preparing to build a £12 million arts centre.

Canterbury Christ Church has the worst levels of staff bullying of any university in the country, a damaging study has revealed.

The report – compiled while controversial former vice-chancellor Robin Baker was in charge – shows one in five employees are "always or often" the victims of workplace bullying.

It also found that staff suffered among the highest levels of stress of workers in higher education.

The survey was carried out last year by British higher education trade union the University and College Union (UCU).

It found that 19.2% of Christ Church respondents stated they were "always or often" the victims of bullying.

The level at the University of Kent was 5.9%, while the lowest was 2.2% at Aberystwyth.

Christ Church was also in the worst 20 universities in the UK for stress levels.

UCU released its findings during its anti-stress and bullying week.

General secretary Sally Hunt said: "At best, the universities represented in this survey have a climate of fear and anxiety, which demoralises and de-motivates staff, and is ultimately counter-productive for them and their students.

"At worst, overt harassment and bullying of individuals is going unchecked.

"We know from our members that this can have extreme effects on physical and mental health, and in the worst case scenarios, renders experienced, hard-working staff no longer able to do their jobs.

"In the past there has been too much focus on individual employees who have suffered from occupational stress and bullying, as though these problems were the fault of the individual.

"The focus needs to be on employers taking seriously their responsibility to look after the well-being of their staff."

Prof Robin Baker was told to quit last year
Prof Robin Baker was told to quit last year

Christ Church spokesman Jeanette Earl said: "We do take the concerns of staff very seriously on a broad range of issues, including perceptions of bullying or inequality.

"In response to our own surveys, we have worked with staff to review our policies and procedures and have an ongoing action plan to encourage a positive working environment."

Governors at the university - whose motto is The Truth Shall Set You Free - forced Prof Baker to quit his £203,000-a-year job in October for reasons they have concealed from staff, students and taxpayers.

Geography academic Rama Thirunamachandran will take over as permanent vice-chancellor later this year.

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