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​The Cancer within

In a recent private meeting, the chairman was quoted as saying:

Those who are negative, those who write on social media about us, those people are CANCER, and I am the doctor, and I want them removed!


Well, we could not agree with him more. Negativity is a disease. It is like part of your body goes bad and no longer wants to be part of you. It spreads and harms even the good healthy organs. And leaving it there will kill you! Therefore, people who are bad should be terminated. But despite all the terminations, this issue of negativity and the many blogs keep coming back. Also, it is unique to this institution. We cannot find one single negative blog about the other universities in Kuwait. Why?


Everyone knows cancer does not come from thin air. The way you treat your health and body has a lot to it. Cancer could come from smoking too much, from exposure to too much sun, breathing toxic air, or living on an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Doctors know that even after removing cancer if a patient goes back to smoking and toxic environment, then cancer will come again. So, we put it to you like this. It is your unique management approach that created this cancer and not us. You are the source of this cancer, not us. And while you can continue your war on cancer and keep chopping way as cancer spreads, at some point, you will end up killing the institution. The chairman is familiar with this happening in the past. The many companies he ran to bankruptcy, yet he failed to learn any real lessons from them. His management style makes any business he manages prone to this cancer. This is the toxic environment that creates cancer.


This project is no longer a small computer training shop in some old manky building in the middle of Kuwait. This project now is a big elephant, an elephant that can crush him and his monkey if he do not step back. This bankruptcy will be huge if he does not keep a tap on his spiralling spending on recruitment. He is financially struggling, we know this because we are very well informed.

Oh and on the note that you managed to cut cancer, think again. It is still inside, and it is spreading. You are helping it spread even faster than you think with every new termination. We operate under your nose. We are so close to you; we can smell your cheap valentine gift perfume. We have a photo for you. We used a secret camera to take a photo from inside the campus this morning before the dust storm came. Hello AUMers.


You people are no cancer doctors; you people have no idea what you are doing. You have become more like junior butchers running this university like it is some computer game.



Keeping chopping away, we will let you know when to stop. That is it, we do not care anymore.

Live news:

22th of June 2017:

We are delighted to see some change in Mohanad’s tone. We will continue to monitor the situation. We rely on everyone of you to be our eyes and ears. We all need a break for Eid al Fotr. From acmaumreview, we say: عيدكم مبارك. We will be having a break for the Eid period too. We will back on July 2nd.

20th of June 2017:

We receiving reports that several of those who were terminated did not get the money they were entitled to and have contacted lawyers. Because they are terminated, these people are entitled for three month pay as well as their two month holiday pay, and full indemnity. HR, using fish market haggling techniques again, has given them a cheque for only three months. They are up to their childish tactics. This suggests that this has worked before on less informed faculty. Yet another reason why we should all know our rights and why this institution is aggressively fighting this and other blogs.

18th of June 2017:

Today, we have confirmed the following firings from late Thursday:

SR_Blink Three additional Engineering faculty terminated or resigned.

SR_BlinkTwo TAs from Engineering terminated.

SR_Blink One PA of the college of Business terminated with in her 100 days!

The new magic number for 2017 is 55 fired, terminated, or resigned.

55-climate-change

15th of June 2017:

We have confirmed the following:

SR_Blink   Two from Engineering terminated: One assistant professor and one TA, both joined less than a year ago.

SR_Blink   One Math assistant professor terminated.

SR_Blink   Two resignations: one from Business and one from Engineering.

SR_Blink   Four LAD terminated, two of whom are winners of BEST TEACHER of the year. All of whom loved and respected by faculties across the departments. Go explain that. Who are you! Did you not get it yet?

Nine faculties fired, terminated or resigned, that is what we know of so far. If we missed anyone, please let us know.

Today Facebook issued Safety Alert for AUM, as we report the new number to be:

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If you are affected by the news today, we strongly recommend you read A message from John.

11th of June 2017: We have some new confirmations and a busy day ahead.

SR_Blink   Dr Muscles AUM (MIS) is our 40th departing faculty for 2017 to be confirmed. We will miss him. His Sherlock Holmes investigations helped spread the news of the blogs, not stop them. Last Update 7:40 am.

10th of June 2017: Thank you ‘AUMer and ‘Anonymous A’ for letting us know. The news is still trickling from Thursday evening events.

SR_Blink   One TA resignation from the Liberal Art Department.

SR_Blink   On Thursday two ACM (IT/CNS) faculty fired with immediate effect.

SR_Blink  A further two ACM (Psychology and art) resignations.

SR_Blink We have heard of one resignation in the Business College and four resignations in the Engineering College, but we will only count these if we are able to cross-reference. Can anyone please provide initials or names of these faculties?.

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7th of June 2017:

SR_Blink We have been informed that four EPP instructors have resigned in the last 48 hours. We need further confirmation as this has come to us via a private post with no abbreviations of their names.

SR_Blink  One sports centre trainer has also resigned. So we are delighted to update the count for 2017 to 34.

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We cannot be everywhere, so you need to be our eyes and ears. Please verify your sources before letting us know. Post here, and we will relay your messages. If you want to remain anonymous, write PRIVATE in your message. We intend to respect the privacy of those who move on having wandered here by mistake. So names of faculty departing will be abbreviated with department code. The haters and spammers, and you know who you are, will not be forgiven. We have eulogies ready for all of you.

Earlier in the year, we counted 29 faculties fired or resigned.

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Today’s lesson: AUM ethics

From “Someone” we share another contribution.
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Despite the cheap ways used by the chairman, lady bipolar, and their fat slave to slander the good people they terminated, the remaining faculty still knew the truth anyway. Faculty have worked closely with these people, on a daily basis, and knew these people were dedicated, hardworking professionals who shed blood and tears for the so called university, helped it grow and prosper since when it had only 30 facutly members and 1500 students. Upper management however seemed oblivious to all these efforts anyway and terminated these people in cold blood.
What ethical behavior will make you terminate your “stars” without even giving a proper explanation? Most of the terminated haven’t ever signed an incident report or a warning in their life!
I will tell you what’s ethical for them. When 1500 students have failed in their finals and were about to be dismissed from school, hell broke loose. Students were given 20 or 30 bonus marks over their final grades to avoid dismissal/third probation (hence avoiding to lose 1500 customers in one day). Instructors were shocked to see students they failed in the previous semester, were enrolled in the next course! Students passed their courses and management didn’t even bother to notify the instructors that grades were tampered without their approval.
On the other hand, Mohaned created a very clever process in which you need to fill in 10 documents, just to make sure you’re not messing around with grades! According to mohaned, “everyone is a criminal unless proven innocent”.
Double standards at its best!
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∞ Warning to New Recruits (ACM/AUM) ∞

If you have stumbled upon this blog by chance or by reference, someone out there loves you. We promise to give you an unbiased advice that can be cross checked.

First of all, if you do not have already a job or you do not have any other job offers, then take the acm/aum offer. It is going to be tough and if you get a good deal, it could be financially worth it. Continue reading to appreciate the context of this advice.

If you have a job, however low paid or stressful, you should not resign. Consider taking extended unpaid leave, sabbatical, sick leave, or time off. Try whatever you do NOT to resign before coming here. Otherwise, we are confident you will regret not having the option to leave.

Here is how it works. HR will usually find you using Linkedin, online searching, or most recently by contacting your embassy in Kuwait. Embassy contact is a peculiar way to recruit. It is a sign how much acm and aum are getting desperate.  For many, Skype interview with HR is the starting point.

What are they looking for?

Of course, they will want to make sure you can teach the subject. Experience is not essential. In fact, you will be surprised to know they prefer if you do not have much experience. Fresh PhD graduates or PhD working in the industry are their preferred choices. They want to reprogramme new recruits and it helps if you are not exposed to real universities. Also, an essential characteristic they are looking for is timid people. Individuals who appear submissive and look a bit desperate for the job. In fact, Mohanad, the provost, was quoted by more than one person as asking new recruits if they are the type who sits in the corner quietly and just does the work. Mohanad always appears in the final interview when they fly you to Kuwait or when they come to your country to interview a batch of you in one go. Mohanad is a Middle Eastern, heavy set, average height, middle-aged guy. He speaks softly and may come across as a gentle father figure, but his actions are something else. Try not to stare back and answer every question calmly, and he will hire you. Also look out if the chairman or his son are there, although this is rare. They will only appear if you are applying for a top position such as high management position or professorship position. Either way, looking timid and submissive is precisely what they are looking for. If you are interested to know what kind of mentality the management has to faculty, you may want to read this Quotes from the chairman.

Signing the contract:

There is a copy of the contract that you can find online, along with an explanation of several illegal clauses. You can find it here. Also before signing the contract, make sure you check that the salary they are paying you fairly here. The HR is known to haggle like a fish market seller, that is why they never advertise positions with salaries shown. You need to have some balls but also be polite about it suggesting that you are aware that Kuwait is expensive. Kuwait is a costly place to be. Renting a one-bedroom starts for 200KD in places you would not want to be seen, very small space, and/or the smell is awful. For a decent one-bedroom flat, expect to spend 300KD to 350KD. If you are a family, the rents for a decent place is 400KD to 550KD. Your monthly groceries can vary from 150 to 200KD for a single person, or 200KD to 300KD for a family. Transport is not cheap either, you will need 100KD a month if you rely on taxis or 160KD if you rent a car. We strongly recommend you do not buy a car, at least until you know for sure if you want to live here. There is nothing for free that you can do in your spare time. Swimming clubs, cinemas, eating outs, and everything that you can imagine will cost you a lot more than you think. As a single person, you will need 1000KD a month just to survive, or 1400KD if you want to have some quality life. As a family, you will need a minimum of 1500KD, but your cost could go up to 2000KD if you have children. This university will not pay the full school fees. They will offer you 2000KD per child, but none of the decent schools are 2000KD a year. The good ones start at 3000KD a year, and you need to pay the difference. Get your calculator out and do your own math. Some people came here, and instead of making money, they are now in debts.

The medical that is offered is good and does cover you for quite a few things. But do not expect it to cover you for everything, those insurance people are temperamental, and it is hard to guess if they will cover you this time or not. The life insurance offered is a joke. They do not tell you how much it will cover you for a reason. One faculty insisted on knowing because she had a life insurance back home and was wondering if she should cancel it. Eventually, she got the answer. The life insurance covers only two months salary. Yeap, AUM expects two-month salary to be enough for your family to survive on in the unlikely event you die.

Kuwait immigration paperwork:

Probably the most painful experience you will ever have in getting a residency. To get your first work permit to enter the country, they will ask you for an array of medical tests that will cost you anything between $200 and $700 in your country. HR will not pay for it. This includes X-ray chest scan, medical report, and a test on a variety of transmitted diseases. Also, you will need to notarize and certify all your documents including your certificates from both your foreign ministry and the Kuwait embassy in your country at your own expense. Once you come to Kuwait, you will have to do all the medical tests again at designated government clinics, because they do not trust your documents to be authentic. You will also have to get your fingers scanned in case you ever commit a crime. We are hearing that they will be introducing DNA swab soon. Your privacy is violated in every sense.

Your family and children cannot join you when you start. No. But if you are lucky enough to have a Western passport, they could stay initially with you on a three months tourist visa. Otherwise, you have to leave them behind and come on your own. HR will not help you complete your family residency paperwork. You will have to do these on your own time and expense, dealing with many immigration employees who really cannot be bothered and speak poor English. Same applies to getting your driving licence. Everything is a big deal here. A slight difference in the spelling of names, your partner is not from the same country as you, you are born in a different country than your passport, and the list goes on. The stories that we have heard always surprise us. And yes some people, though rare, decide to finish their first year and then leave because they just give up.

The Work:

Where do we start? We will need a book to explain the crazy working environment. So we will just summarise them in keywords, and please read this and other blogs carefully before you make up your mind. Keywords: overworked, little holidays, no life, teach anything, pass all students, use Excel, use banner, use Moodle, respond quickly, one minute meeting notices, come early and leave late, no complaints, people suffering, people resigning, people fired, people depressed, fake smiles, management asks you to do something, management changes its mind and asks you to do it in a different way, management changes their mind again and wants you to do it in a very different way, no one is sure how to do it, no one trusts no one, someone in management comes to your class to view your lessons without prior notice, students are generally nice but they know you are new and they want a free ride, a student complaint is a huge deal even if you are right and they are wrong, and the list goes on.

The 100-day probation:

Some people get fired on their 100th day for showing some academic personality of questioning rules or regulations. There are, of course, those who are plain bad at teaching too. The biggest problem with being fired on or before your 100th day is that you get nothing other than a ticket back home and the clothes you came with. It is an utter disaster for these people. A living nightmare for the many recruits who just want to pass that hurdle. What do you get if you pass it? The comfort of knowing that if acm or aum fire you, then you will get three months payment advancement- hurray! Rubbish really when you consider what sacrifices you have done to come here. In your first 100 days, do not show any initiative or interest in standing out. You will regret it either way. If they do not like it, you will be fired. If they do like it, you will be promoted and that is possibly worse. Read our post on AUM Special Assignment: say NO.

Living in Kuwait:

It is hard to explain, but everyone complains about the lack of sleep. We attribute this to several factors including the working environment but also living in an air conditioning environment which is dry, in an environment like Kuwait which is already very dry, along with the heat and dust that makes breathing difficult. You find yourself having sleepless nights and coming to work exhausted all the time. It is like there is not enough oxygen in the air.

Another issue is that Kuwait is a highly conservative country. For expats, they complain about not having nightlife to do other than eating. Kuwait has the highest percentage of restaurants per person. You will find yourself putting on weight. As always there are ways to bypass some of these issues. Some expats do their get together to have some sense of normality, but it is just not the same.

Do not be tempted to borrow money, otherwise, you will find yourself stuck here and this is the worse thing you can do to yourself. This place is like being in juvenile detention under normal circumstance, but if you get yourself into debts, it becomes a real prison.

Finally:

You are about to make the biggest decision in your life. You are about to leave your job, colleagues, family, friends, home, town, country, and a life you grew accustomed to it. You have studied for many years and worked hard to secure a job that pays you well but also treats you with respect. The money is tempting, but make sure you get the fair amount. If you have good working experience and impactful research, then stay away. Other universities in Kuwait will offer you the same amount and treat you much better. We have friends in the American University of Kuwait and the Gulf University for Science and Technology, and they tell us this is not what they experience. We know a professor who has been working for AUK for 14 years now and she sees this place as a place she will continue to work for until the day she retires. You will be hard pressed to find anyone at ACM or AUM who has been here for more than 4 years and thinks the same. Yet this university has been around in one form or another for 18 years according to the chairman. You will be living in fear here. This live blog of who is being fired and About Us may give you a clue as to how bad it is.

Talk to someone:

Of course, you only heard from one source, and you may want to cross check these facts. You are more than welcome. ACM and AUM do not display contacts of employees online, unlike AUK and GUST who are proud to show them online. But do not worry, there are two places you could find faculty to contact. You will need to have a profile as well to be able to communicate with them. Pick one or more who are native speakers to you. Yahni, if you are German choose a German person and message them in your mother tongue. Make sure they can see your research profile to know that you are a genuine person. And read between the lines what they will tell you. These people live in fear of being fired. Do not pick profiles with no photos, we are not sure who these are.

AUM Google Scholar & AUM Research Gate.

If you have any questions you would like to put to us, write in the comments and we will do our best to respond.

Again, who are you?

How do you feel when students get their timetable before you? How does it make you feel when the management disables your banner yet the students can see their schedule? How humiliating is it for you to ask your students ‘what is my timetable, please?

How do you feel when you are forced to teach courses, not your speciality? You explain that these are not your topic, but you are obliged to do them anyway?

How do you feel when you discover that the day before your students had some ceremony and wonder, why did the management keep it a secret? How did you feel when you are invited to major events – example, visit of the ex-president of Turkey,- and they demand you wear your BEST dress/suit, makeup, shoes, only to sit in the far back and realise you are here to fill up space, while the students get the front seats?

How did you feel when the weather was bad and dangerous, students were asked to stay home, but you have to risk your safety and come to work to do nothing. And then they deducted it from your overtime anyway. How do you feel when your students know their holidays before you? How do you feel when it is your Christmas yet your students get it as a holiday, but you don’t. How do you feel when you never get to know your holiday until the last minute? This semester we saw a surprise change. Announcing the Eid two weeks in advance. Do not congratulate the management on taking a positive step. They only did it, so you fix your Moodle and Syllabuses. Not for your eyes.

How does it feel when you have to park outside, sometimes crossing a fast and dangerous road, and get cooked on your way in with temperatures of +50’c. Yet even on days when students are on holiday, you are not allowed to park inside. On the other hand, the students get priority parking inside in front of their classes.

In this age and time, is there a university in the world that requires faculties to sit in their offices like some travel agent shop or customer service room? Yet students NEVER care about your office hours, barging in anytime they care. “Doctoor, one question, wallah…” and they stay there for an hour demanding you explain the whole lesson again.

In the aftermath of the terminations yesterday, we reflect. Yes, some of the faculties who have been terminated did deserve to leave. We know them, and we get it. But what does it mean when faculty AUM awarded them best teachers of the year get terminated? What does it mean when everyone tells you, these people are the most loyal and hardworking AUMers you could ever know? It means that what you heard about the integrity of the other faculty who got fired earlier in the term is true. And yet again another example of how this place is not a place for hard working people like you. One thing in common in yesterday’s terminations is that the majority had booked to go home for the summer. So Fahd and Mohanad for whatever reason, terminated them, given they will cause minimum disruption to the students. What disruptions it causes the faculty is not important. Who are you! Did you not get it yet?

And for sure there are more, but they did not want to terminate you now. We see our replacements arriving, new innocent faces, believing they are coming to a real university. They are less paid having no idea how expensive Kuwait is and how little money they will be sending home.  The events of yesterday are a sign, new recruits are a sign, and the new round of Linkedin recruitment are another sign. The next round of firing is going to be Thursday 27th of July 2017 (or earlier). When will your turn come, it is just a matter of time. Engineering and Business faculties, you are next.

You could sit there and wait for it to happen, or you can start exploring your options.

You will find many offer comparable salaries, in places cheaper than Kuwait, with much better working conditions. Or just wait for things to get better.

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A message from John.

Imagine people love their work place

It’s easy if you try

No sleepless nights and no stresses

And your weekends are always yours

Imagine all you people

Living with job secuuuurity… Aha-ah…

—————–

Imagine there’s no Mohanad

It isn’t hard to do

No made up rules and tasks

A management that cares about you

Imagine all you people

Living life in peeeeeace… Youhoooo ooo…

———————-

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And leave this place for a better one.

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Imagine you’re happy at work

I wonder if you still can

No 8 to 5 office to come to

You have a future and a career plan

Imagine all you people

Calling work a lovely place… Youhoooo ooo…

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You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And recognise you only live once.

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Great contribution by John.Left. We choose for you this photo, I hope you like it. Peace.