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I was underwhelmed to receive the following through by email today: “University Court has supported and approved the proposal that the University commit all staff to undertake a mandatory training programme on equality and diversity.” Apparently “module completion rates will be monitored centrally by the Equality & Diversity Office”.

This is somewhere between worrying and offensive. I wonder if there will be a penalty for non-completion?

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If it's mandatory, then I imagine the answer would be yes.

Don't see why it should be worrying or offensive though. Of course it should be a given that people will treat other people equally; but equally obviously it ain't necessarily so. If you've been trained in it, then you've got no excuse (and your employer isn't liable for not training you).

Ah, but other ‘mandatory’ things have been avoided in the past — there was a widespread boycott of the HERA role evaluation process last year. My tendency is to avoid or ignore anything coming from HR.

I find it offensive because they are adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. If there is a genuine problem with equality and diversity issues in the university then they should be targeting their resources at that. Requiring all staff to do a course smacks of PR.

Who knows - you might learn something?

That thought was also in my head but I struggled for a way to express it. No matter how well you think you know something, there's always the possibility of learning something new.

Or I might suffer 6 hours of facile computer-based training, where a saner approach would be a memo to staff outlining our rights and responsibilities.

How can you possibly have acquired such negative opinions of computer-based training? ;-)

It might have been Feng Shui you had to learn about...

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