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Administrative Mobbing

Lessons from

Hector Hammerly


Professor of Linguistics
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, British Columbia


The First Hector Hammerly Memorial Lecture

"The Anatomy of an Academic Mobbing." Joan Friedenberg, Florida Atlantic University"

11 April 2008

Given at the University of Waterloo



The Second Hector Hammerly Memorial Lecture

"How to Destroy
a Don"
Hugo Meynell,

5 November 2008

Given at the University of Waterloo


This cluster of webpages is published in respectful memory of Hector Hammerly. He spent the last eleven years of his life analyzing and denouncing authoritarian tendencies in the administration of his university, and defending himself against the university's consequent attacks on him. His essay below, found in his papers after his death, can be read as his last scholarly testament: a poignant account of administrative mobbing in academe, and a sound practical guide for any professor who would challenge administrative power. I gratefully acknowledge the help of Ethel Hammerly in preparing the 2006 essay, also the life chronology and list of publications, for publication here. - KW

Essay and Response:


In 1997, at a time of understandable intense frustration, Hector Hammerly set down a long list of characterizations of university administrators. Below are ten of them. These administrators, Hammerly said:

  • Put their pants on one leg at a time, like everybody else, but think it would be demeaning to acknowledge it;
  • Know as much about planning, budgeting, human relations, and conflict resolution as a pit bull;
  • Have "zero tolerance" for others and total tolerance for themselves;
  • Listen to professors attentively and graciously, like a cat listens to a canary;
  • Believe there's no need for any democratic nonsense between rubber-stamp ballots;
  • See "leadership" as looking down upon, sitting on top of, and stepping all over;
  • Always support each other against those they fancy their "enemy" — faculty, staff, and students, no less;
  • Have policies for every conceivable situation and regulations for every conceivable activity, but ignore them all when convenient;
  • Are power-addicted, fairness-innocent, apology-challenged, and freedom-averse;
  • Cow faculty members into not helping each other — which would be the professors' only hope for shaking off the yoke.