On 5th July 2006, Diana Winstanley, BSc, PhD, PG Dip Couns, FCIPD, a 45 –year old mother of two and widely respected Professor at Kingston University, committed suicide.
The small handful of press reports relaying news of her violent and untimely death were virtually identical. All referred to her apparent inability to cope with the excessive pressures of her new job, as Director of Postgraduate Programmes at Kinston University Faculty of Business and Law.
She is widely reported to have been both an exceptional academic and a well-liked person.
It has also been consistently suggested that she had access to university ‘support services’ to help cope with her stress. But no questions have ever been answered with regard to her employer’s role in her death or more generally what it was that constituted such immense and irreconcilable pressure.
The fact that Diana Winstanley was an expert in occupational health, management and ethics seems to belie the circumstances of her suicide. It is disturbing to learn that such a person should be driven to such an end by her own employment.
Alarmingly it seems she is not alone in feeling oppressed, with many academics feeling the pressures of work and university environments to be insupportable.
With this website, we aim to document our efforts to understand a little better the circumstances forcing a person like Diana Winstanley to end her own life.
The questions raised by the death of a person like Diana – about workplace stress, management, bullying, occupational health, pressures on academics - are extensive, important and have not been satisfactorily addressed. At least, not publicly.
Just what type of demands can lead such a capable academic to suicide?
Why a person like Diana Winstanley?
There are today in Britain fewer and fewer research initiatives separated from vested political or commercial interests, facilitated by spin and power. We hope to contribute a little to opposing this trend.
This website has no motivation other than to investigate the truth, raise and attempt to answer some important questions and inform. This project is and will remain unofficial, transparent, independent and, for some, uncomfortable. We believe that those who truly care about Diana and others in similar situations now and in the past, will understand and support this.
We need to learn more about the pressures facing academics today and about the universities in which they work.
For questions or if you knew Diana or have something to say on these issues: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please forward the message “Why Diana” with the web-address of this site http://www.why-diana.org/ widely.