On Friday 17 May, TEU joined organisations around Aotearoa in celebrating Pink Shirt Day and those marking the International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia, and Transphobia, to call for an end to bullying and discrimination in tertiary education workplaces.

This year, Pink Shirt Day held significance for TEU members and tertiary education institutions across the country, as it came a few weeks after the release of the TEU commissioned State of the Public Tertiary Education Sector, 2018 survey report.The report found that 10.4% of respondents working in the sector reportedthey had been bullied at least several times a month over the last twelve months. A further 17.7% reported they had seen others bullied at leastseveral times a month over the same period. Similar results for university staff in the UK were released this week in a report that shows half of UK academics are stressed and 40% are thinking of leaving. The UK report, similar to the NZ study, found that frequent exclusion from decision making and a loss of control are making university staff isolated and ill, new research showsIn the New Zealand study many comments in the report describing bullyingfrom management related to being pressured to take on increasing workload, forcing academic decisions such as accepting or passing students where itwas not warranted or requiring academics to teach in areas that they had noexpertise in.

National President, Michael Gilchrist, says it’s crucial that leaders whowere out wearing pink shirts are serious about their daily response to theinstitutional pressures and bullying in our sector. “We also need the government to address pressures which have caused adecline in the conditions of work and in the wellbeing of teachers andstudents alike. Change starts with critical conversations. That’s why the TEU is callingon all those who value public tertiary education to make a pledge insupport of workers in the tertiary education sector."

Email teu@teu.ac.nz to make your pledgeto speak up about bullying and TEU will send a copy of The State of the Public Tertiary Education Sector to share. TEU asked branches dressed up and spoke out about bullying across thecountry on Pink Shirt Day. Here’s a snapshot of the activity.