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Accused of Intimidation at University WIBU to Resign?

(34 Posts)
suchafuss Tue 01-Dec-15 05:28:17

I am a mature student who is studying a vocational degree in the caring professions (don't want to be too specific in case I out myself).

I was recently elected as President of this vocations society and have a really great team, apart from one person who is hell bent on dominating our society, talking over the top of people trying to dictate what happens in meetings, how we should do things but in a way that does not allow others a voice and at the same time neglecting things that she is responsible for.

Recently we had a series of events to organise and all had specific organisations to contact. However this person kept contacting people that she had not been allocated and which resulted in people then refusing to speak to the person who was dealing with it and giving a really poor impression of the society. The secretary sent an email to everyone asking them not to do this as it was causing problems but she continued. I spoke to her on the telephone and asked her to send me the contact details of someone both she and the other committee member had been speaking to so that I could thank them for their support, apologise for the confusion and see if they were able to extend a seminar they were holding for us.

She completely ignored this and emailed the person confirming their attendance and telling them I would be in touch to personally thank them. So I emailed her pointing out that she had ignored what I had asked her to do, she had also managed to upset other members of the society and made the society look unprofessional and what could we do to resolve this.

FWIW my work before UNI involved working as part of a management team for over 20 years so I know how to work effectively and the rest of the team like that, that I am professional and as a result they are learning skills for employment.

The reason for my AIBU is that as a result of my email this person then complained to my programme director and some other people at the university that I was intimidating her and had really upset her, in short that I had bullied her. I would never bully someone, I loath it. No one has taken any notice and in fact when she realised that no one was taking her accusations seriously when she was trying to garner support she came and apologised. But it has left a really bad taste and I am concerned that if I try and direct her in the future I will have similar issues. Should just resign and protect myself from any other accusations or is there something I can do to protect myself from this?

SunnyL Tue 01-Dec-15 05:34:26

Is being a member of this society really important for your future career plans? If so I'd say ride it out. It sounds like other people have gotten the measure of her. you're also showing a good ability to manage conflict - something that will help with fuure job applications.

However if its not essential to your studies you may find it easier to pass the baton to someone else and concentrate on completing your degree in peace.

RamblingRedRose Tue 01-Dec-15 05:42:14

It sounds like you handled the situation really well. I don't think you should resign at all.

FishWithABicycle Tue 01-Dec-15 05:43:22

After you finish your studies and are seeking employment you are likely sooner or later to have a "competency" type interview where you are asked something like "tell us about a time when you had to work in a team with someone very difficult, what happened?". If you resign, you won't be able to use this situation.

On the other hand, she sounds unhinged.

Uni societies usually have to be open to all. Including difficult people. YWNBU to resign, you have no obligation to put up with this. However, this won't be the last time you have a nightmare colleague and next time you are in a situation like this might be when you are employed and can't afford to walk away. So how can you instead find a way to learn from this situation?

CarlaJones Tue 01-Dec-15 05:52:24

Sounds like it's the other person who needs to go for wrecking the group, not you, but i don't know how that could be arranged.

Moopsboopsmum Tue 01-Dec-15 05:58:35

I think YABU, treating students the same way as part of your 'management team', 'directing her'. I'm not surprised she felt bullied. You sound very heavy handed and patronising. A fellow course member 'teaching them skills for employment'. Sorry no, you should resign and leave the 'teaching' and 'directing' to the educational staff. That is not your role as a society President and frankly you are lucky no one took her seriously.

suchafuss Tue 01-Dec-15 06:01:35

Have you never heard of Peer Assisted Learning Moops? I wasn't patronising I was professional

SevenOfNineTrue Tue 01-Dec-15 06:06:52

You should not resign. This woman is clearly a bulldozer. She does as she pleases then complains to management or those higher up when someone tells her not to do what she wants.

Hang in there.

Good luck

TooSassy Tue 01-Dec-15 06:09:31

Have you gone for a coffee with this person and asked if everything is ok? She obviously has some sort of gripe with you/ something.

I'm sort of a little bit with the last poster. I'm not sure if perhaps you're coming across a little heavy handed in your approach?

I wouldn't resign without speaking to the person directly and trying to figure a route out. If However the role is of little use to you and you can't be bothered then resign away. But don't blame her. This will have been your choice.

Euphemia Tue 01-Dec-15 06:40:13

Let her complain. Worst case scenario, you end up in front of the university disciplinary committee. You have loads of evidence of her unreasonable behaviour, and hopefully people who would back you up with your version of events.

aquashiv Tue 01-Dec-15 06:53:20

Sounds like you have the measure of her. Perhaps she could be assigned a role to keep her occuppied. Sounds like you are all a bit full of your own self importance. Personally I wouldn't take it all so seriously.

HeteronormativeHaybales Tue 01-Dec-15 07:06:38

I also am a little bit with moopsboops, tbh. This is a university, not the business world, and she will possibly resent the impression you seem to have that you are in authority over her - you're not, really, although you are president; everyone is a volunteer and a society such of this will be used to collaborative and non-hierarchical ways of working. Your message had rather the tone of an exasperated manager, and tbh that would have got my back up too - as does your citation of 'learning' concepts in this arena.

Don't get me wrong, she sounds like a nightmare. But I can't help thinking that I would have tackled this, in this setting, with a sort of path-of-least-resistance approach - if she was so desperate to do all the contacting, great, it's a job off everyone else's hands; then she would have had to come and relinquish some of the contacts when she found it was too much for her.

Youandmemillerscow Tue 01-Dec-15 07:06:43

I am really curious about what your degree is in <missing the point>.

Obs2015 Tue 01-Dec-15 07:12:48

Maybe you should get advice from someone at the Uni, in charge of all societies, to advise you how best to handle this. Then at least you are covered.

GruntledOne Tue 01-Dec-15 07:13:28

She does sound a pain, but I am wondering whether you have the right approach to this society inasmuch as you talk about it being your team and directing people. Given that, I assume, everyone there is a volunteer and you are all on an equal level, you may do better approaching it on a more co-operative basis, so that you secure everyone's agreement to a particular method of dealing with things rather than directing them on it.

wowfudge Tue 01-Dec-15 07:14:34

I think you've done exactly the right thing. Is this idiot going to contact the people she complained to? Probably not. She should be resigning, not you.

I totally disagree with those PP saying you've been heavy handed, it's not business and so on.

Fwiw there is nearly always someone like this in a society/club. You could try having a conversation with her and finding out what the issue really is, if this were a team member at work you probably would.

suchafuss Tue 01-Dec-15 07:20:55

It's Social Work so anti oppressive practice is really important. I had to say something as the other execs were complaining and this person was not listening and she is very dominant. I had tried to even things out in meetings using restorative approaches ( i am qualified in Restorative Justice so use reflection to assess my own behaviour frequently). She also had a number of tasks associated with her role that she didn't complete,and refused to sit and have a chat with me. I am at a loss as to how I have been patronising in any way and only stepped in when she had caused issues and at the request of others.

Spartak Tue 01-Dec-15 07:25:42

Are the rest of the committee recent school leavers? I completed a degree in an AHP subject in my mid 30s. Virtually everyone else was just out of school. They all drove me nuts, it made me realise that I was no longer young.

If I'd attempted to manage my course mates or attempted peer assisted learning of that nature, I would have been told quite firmly to sod off.

I just kept my head down and got on with the course. I was glad when it was over.

abbsismyhero Tue 01-Dec-15 07:34:28

sounds like a nightmare to be honest when someone is given a specific direction they do the total opposite?

hang in there you have all the proof they are in the wrong

noblegiraffe Tue 01-Dec-15 07:45:32

If she's driving everyone mad, not doing what she's told and ballsing stuff up, why not just boot her off the committee? It's a club, not the workplace, you're not all forced to work with her.

Esmeismyhero Tue 01-Dec-15 07:48:54

Oh moops are you the unhinged woman? Your post was really aggressive.

thelouise Tue 01-Dec-15 07:53:51

I knew it was a social work degree.

Don't resign but work through it with her. This is perfect experience for working in challenging situations. You will come across this every day in your working life, no matter what area you go into.

ShebaShimmyShake Tue 01-Dec-15 07:55:36

No, don't resign - she is trying to bully and intimidate you. You must have the paper (email) trail of everything she's been doing, minutes from meetings proving what she should be doing and what she isn't, and possibly other society members will back you up if she's that antagonising? (I'm sure they could do it without having their names released beyond any relevant meetings if necessary). So get your ducks in a row and be ready to defend yourself if it should come to any panel meeting. Don't let her do this to you and the society in general.

shinynewusername Tue 01-Dec-15 08:08:57

I'm with Haybales. She sounds a complete nightmare and I certainly don't think you bullied her, but you don't really have any right to tell her what to do. Trying to manage her will just have escalated her behaviour because she is that sort of (extremely annoying) person.

I'm surprised that you're surprised tbh. If you have been in work for 20 years, especially in the social care sector, you have surely come across this sort of dynamic before?

shinynewusername Tue 01-Dec-15 08:09:13

PS I don't think you need to resign though.

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