University lecturer effectively bullying me...

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iamsnape

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I don't know what to do and I need a bit of a rant...

Basically, I have anxiety problems triggered when large amounts of stress start getting on top of me - I get really down and have panic attacks which cause me to be really debilitated, if that's the right word, and I struggled to go about my daily life when I'm in that state. It started before summer last year and I was seen by doctors and councillors to help manage it. Now it doesn't come on as much, only during periods of extreme stress and emotional strain.

When I started my degree in September, I wrote about this on my medical form, and brought in a doctors note so my lecturers knew that I wasn't just lying. About 2 months in, my parents wanted to pull me from the course because everything was kicking back in (probably because I went from having no work load to being under a lot of pressure), but I discussed it with my lecturer and stuck it out. Since then my problems haven't been too bad.

Until a few weeks ago. My parents were on holiday, and my Nan had a nasty fall. She wasn't found for 27 hours. So after that, I was acting as a part time carer for her. In between uni, coursework and my job, I was in her house looking after her. Last week, she fell again, and knocked herself out. When I found her I called my brother because she had pretty bad facial injuries, and we ended up having to get her taken to hospital. She was in there for a week.
Of course, because my folks were away and my brother knows very little of my nan's medical history (I live with my Mum who tells me about it all), I was the one sorting out the hospital, going up there, etc. I told my teacher about this so she was aware.
Over that week my teacher forced me in to doing a lot of extra curricular things I didn't have time for, because I either needed to be at the hospital, or I was behind on coursework because of the hospital (my hand in was during that same week so I was stressed about that, etc). Needless to say my panic attacks came on pretty strong and my boyfriend was staying with me to help me before I had a break down.

On wednesday night, there was a talk at uni by a photographer I said I'd go to, but obviously being in such an emotional state, I wasn't up to it, so I emailed her to let her know that I would instead be going to see my Nan, who was in critical care at the time. She answered saying I needed to prioritise my education (over the life of my Nan), that I wasn't thinking about what was important, etc. Nevermind that the day before I'd handed in 2 A grade projects.
My Mum was home by then, thankfully, and sent her a very angry email because she's ignoring the conditions she's known about from the start. She's also been forwarding her angry emails to me to the entire faculty, which I don't appreciate. She replied to my Mum saying she'd 'discuss my problems with me after easter'.
WHAT THE HELL IS THERE TO DISCUSS? She knows about it all, she is making it a lot worse by acting this way, and frankly, I don't want to talk to her because she is ignorant. There's another girl in my class who got an extension and hasn't been in for about a month by simply handing in a doctors note for a similar thing - what's with the favouritism? I try very hard to hand in all my coursework on time to the best standard that I can, whilst dealing with all this other crap. I don't go to extra curricular things when I don't feel up to it, can I be blamed for that?

I don't know what to do. I'm excelling on the course at the minute, but apparently that's not good enough, and the life of my Nan should be put behind E.C seminars. Nevermind the health condition I've tried to make her aware of from day one.

What should I do guys? She ignores me, doctors notes, my parents. She's making everything worse but as she's been at the uni for so long reporting her for it won't make a difference. Sorry for the massive post I just don't know what to do. Gonna have a break down at this rate. :( I find talking about things on here really helpful because you guys actually listen and are supportive.
 

MargaretB

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I'm so sorry you are having such problems. I too suffer from anxiety & depression and know how debilitating it can be. I have no advice but wanted you to know that I'm thinking about you. :laluot_29:

Just wondering if there's anyone else at uni you could talk to? A counsellor or someone?
 

Sarah from Chucklebunnies

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If she has a line manager eg head of dept or head of faculty then take the medical notes, doctors notes, medical report - basically any paperwork you have - plus the information about your Nan being in critical care and no other member of the family being around to take over from you and give it all to them. Explain carefully, showing all the paperwork, explain that you are trying to do your best work but are being hampered by this lecturer's unreasonable behaviour. Use the word unreasonable. Show your grades up to this point as well. Make sure this person does see all the paperwork and does know of the problem. Make it clear you will not be fobbed off with a vague apology but that her behaviour must change. If you are an A grade student then they will listen, they will want your final marks on their statistics.

Do this, please. I'm afraid you have to stick up for yourself. Make it perfectly clear to the head of faculty that her attitude is unreasonable and must stop. Make it clear that you will take this further if she does not back down and appreciate that you have an anxiety problem. If this does not work then go to the student union, who will have an officer that deals with problems just like this. Also write to the head of the university, right at the top, and point out that this behaviour is unreasonable as your medical history was known about from the start.

If you do nothing, which is by far the easiest course of action, then even if it stops now it will start again. If you stand up and show that you will not be bullied because of your medical condition then they will not try it on again.

The very very best of luck. Oh yes, take someone with you if you need to when speaking to the head of the department.
 

Sarah from Chucklebunnies

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I forgot to point out that reporting her for this will make a difference. It will. But you don't have to say a word to her, go over her head. That will make the difference.
 

Mizzpigz

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I agree with what Sarah has said... You have to stand *
 

iamsnape

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It's just scary, especially as I'm a nervous wreck anyway right now. It doesn't help that I've been here for a couple of years anyway and every time a member of staff has been reported, nothing has been done about it except the student getting the cold shoulder for a week or two :( I will definitely need to take somebody with me because I can't do it alone, it's just worrying because I have a very strong feeling nothing will be done, and this lady is the head of my course, so I have to deal with her several days a week for another year and a half...I know the answer will be no but I worry that she would mark me differently because of it. She's big on favoritism unfortunately.
 

Mizzpigz

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Well they need to be professional about your grievance otherwise you could then put in another greivance for bullying if things get worse. The greivance needs to be factual nothing more and maybe she may see that she has then been treating you in a way that is not professional. Alternatively you could put in an informal greivance or write your lecturer a letter stating that her behaviour towards you is not appropriate and if it continues then you will make it formal
 

iamsnape

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Well they need to be professional about your grievance otherwise you could then put in another greivance for bullying if things get worse. The greivance needs to be factual nothing more and maybe she may see that she has then been treating you in a way that is not professional. Alternatively you could put in an informal greivance or write your lecturer a letter stating that her behaviour towards you is not appropriate and if it continues then you will make it formal
Yeah, that might be a good idea. It's very confusing. She treats people so differently though, I don't know what works with her and what doesn't. E.g - a girl that has the same problems as me got her Mum to email her and all her deadlines have been cancelled - she can hand things in whenever she wants so long as it's before August, whereas we all have strict 5 week deadlines. We also only have 5 weeks to do our projects and are expected to attend everything, but an exception has been made for her. All this required was parental contact and a doctors note.

She has had the exact same thing from me and ignored it, saying she will 'discuss it with me after Easter' (all that suggestion has done is increase my problem!). What the hell is with the special treatment? :( So I'm not sure how to go about saying that I'm not happy with things, or where to start.
 

Mizzpigz

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If you google ' greivance letter template' it will give you an idea of what to write. I think there are others on here who ou,d give you specific advice though as a couple are union reps xx
 

iamsnape

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If you google ' greivance letter template' it will give you an idea of what to write. I think there are others on here who ou,d give you specific advice though as a couple are union reps xx
Oh okay that'd be useful :) I'll try and put something together. It just winds me up that I'm paying per year for her to teach me and she ends up encouraging a break down, silly woman.
 

Mizzpigz

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Just remember though you will be free of her at some point as at least you don't have to work with her on a full time basis. As hard as it is try not to give her too much power, just see her as a woman with issues and it will help to keep you calmer inside xxxxxxx
 
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