Here is a Youtube video in which no-one is allowed to comment or downvote.

It introduces Cambridge University’s “Dignity at Work” policy. We are assured, “There is no place for bullying, harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct, or victimisation in our community.”

It has a total of 8 upvotes after 5 months, after being circulated to all staff (~10k)

Some numbers squeak, others just shriek out.

Categories: Blog

1 Comment

Anon · 18 March 2024 at 21:04

Despite the veneer of respectability and the rousing, life-affirming music, the implied message in these videos to anybody with a complaint or looking to investigate whether the policy has any substance is actually quite thuggish: “Jog along, mate. There are no issues with bullying going on here. Look, we’ve got a dignity at work/anti-bullying policy, EDI policy, leaflets, and some videos on it and all, so we’ve already ticked all those boxes. You’ve got nothing on us.” It is just another depressing example of how Orwellian higher education and its management have become, and you can see it in the listless eyes of the people speaking in the video.

From what I’ve observed, the more an institution engages in this kind of behavior and strategic propaganda (i.e., Kent, Surrey, Oxford, Cambridge, LSE), the more likely they are to be protecting perpetrators of abuse, whether sexual harassment or mobbing, and hiding skeletons (sometimes quite literally through staff or student suicides as a result of their cultures of bullying and mobbing) in the cupboard. It doesn’t matter to them that they are in a sector that centers on human beings, nor that they hold positions of responsibility where their primary job is to look after those humans. It never mattered because, ultimately, it is all just about them looking at themselves in the mirror and riding the gravy train to retirement.

Beyond institutions, when perpetrators are called out or come under suspicion, they, too, pull the PR stunt. From what I’ve seen, there is a “road to Damascus” moment, characterized by a sudden uncharacteristic interest in posting about mental health, discrimination, and inclusivity on social media to signal their innocence. In some cases, this entails what can only be described as an extraordinary metamorphosis of character too, as they appear to become caricatures of benevolence and adopt the mannerisms of a children’s TV presenter and appear in as many EDI “inclusivity” photo opportunities as they can where they flash their coprophagic grins.

It makes you so deeply cynical because you want to give humans the benefit of the doubt, to believe that institutions can change, and genuinely recognize the imperative to change in the light of the chronic abuse they engage in or tolerate and tragedies such as the suicides of students or staff. However, the likelihood of either is almost zero; these institutions deal in espoused values, not enacted ones.

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