I had a very ugly incident at my corrupt institute (I live in E. EU). In short, I was assaulted by one of the department's heads during my own group meeting on my own grant for daring to "back talk" after he had abusively terminated that meeting. Him, and my own department's head had sabotaged my projects by sidetracking the people working on them, threatening them, and, lately, by denying access to shared research facilities which they don't really use.

As this behavior has been tolerated by the director (who is the ultimate god there), I expect things only to get worse. I'm seriously considering whistleblowing as my only option, as my reports of the incidents are merely CYA actions since they've gone unnoticed so far.

I might be out on my ass by next week for the "lese-majeste" of this week. If I do whistleblow, is there a way within EU to protect myself and my research group? I doubt I'll get any understanding in my own country.

Update: I'm not fired, they just found a nice and sneaky way to dissolve my research group. Funnily enough, no one is on my side, including the people who witnessed the incident.

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    Physical assault is a police matter. But do you see any future for yourself in this situation? It doesn't look like it has any possible happy ending. Not unless there are regular procedure for removing bad actors. Those are pretty rare most places.
    – Buffy
    Commented Oct 28, 2018 at 21:29
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    If you are going this route, I think you need to talk to a lawyer. This seems like too delicate a situation to rely on the advice of random Internet strangers. Commented Oct 28, 2018 at 21:39
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    @Magicsowon You know how the thing with the circles ended. Get yourself a mercenary, i.e. a lawyer and consult, they will have seen many cases and know best what your options are. I assume leaving that place is not an option? Commented Oct 28, 2018 at 21:44
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    The higher the stakes, the more important it is to do it right. With 30 years of hard work on the line, I'd engage a lawyer. The cost of botching it up is just too high.
    – Allure
    Commented Oct 28, 2018 at 22:47
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    You don't say where this took place, but in response to suggestions to inform the police that you've been assaulted, you say that in your country physical assault is not a police matter. If that is true, then how can you possibly get reasonable help from people who know so little about your situation that the most basic tenets of their society don't apply to you? Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 16:56

1 Answer 1


If the matter has escalated to a physical assault then you have the option to contact the police. For lesser issues concerning corruption or maladministration of public resources, you should consider searching for the closest equivalent of an ombudsman for your university sector. In public industries with an ombudsman it is usual to be able to make a report of maladministration or corruption, and there are protections for whistle-blowers who file reports on these matters. Specific rules vary according to the laws of the country and the specific industry ombudsman, so you should first check to find the appropriate ombudsman and check the protections for whistle-blowers that apply in your case. If you have a lot invested it is probably also a good idea to speak to a lawyer to get advice on the available reporting mechanisms and legal protections.

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