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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Oxford University says no to emails out-of-hours !!

For a decade and slightly more, I have got into this routine of writing some articles, posting them on my blog and sharing them with a fairly large group of friends through ‘email’.  My style of writing is mostly formal – and when I write emails, I have a Salutation and formal ending with –‘with regards’.. .. .. however, I have this bad habit of sending my mails at odd hours / late hours and sometimes early morning !

In the byzantine world of politics, many sides resorts to half truths, lies and more lies. Spoken very often, some of them even get accepted as facts.  In Feb 19 as he was launching series of attacks, Congress President Rahul Gandhi alleging corruption in the Rafale deal, threw yet another barb at the PM unveiling a copy of an email purportedly referring to Anil Ambani's visit to France before the Prime Minister's visit but faltered yet again as that  email had no reference at all to  Rafale.

Electronic mail (email or e-mail) is a method of exchanging messages between people using electronic devices. Invented by Ray Tomlinson, email by the mid-1970s had taken the form now recognized as email. Email operates across computer networks, which today is primarily the Internet. Some early email systems required the author and the recipient to both be online at the same time, in common with instant messaging.  Modery day Email servers accept, forward, deliver, and store messages. Neither the users nor their computers are required to be online simultaneously; they need to connect only briefly, typically to a mail server or a webmail interface for as long as it takes to send or receive messages.

Those days reference to Quality Education was synonymous with Oxford.  Oxford is a University city in England, 51 miles northwest of London, 57 miles from Birmingham.

The city is home to the University of Oxford, the oldest in the English-speaking world, and has buildings in every style of English architecture.   The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. It is considered the  oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation after the University of Bologna. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. Oxford university is made up of 39 constituent colleges, and a range of academic departments.  Oxford has educated many notable alumni, including 28 prime ministers of the United Kingdom and many heads of state and government around the world.  As of 2019, 69 Nobel Prize winners, 3 Fields Medalists, and 6 Turing Award winners have studied, worked, or held visiting fellowships at the University of Oxford, while its alumni have won 160 Olympic medals.

This is no post on greatness of Oxford but on an interesting news item on its opinion on emails.  MailOnline reports quoting Oxford University that it considers ‘Out-of-hours' emails are harassment, telling  dons not to contact students outside 'normal working hours'

The report states that Professors at Oxford University have been told to not send out-of-hours emails in order to minimise the risk of colleagues feeling harassed. University administrators have told academics to keep online correspondence to 'normal working hours', according to a new 'email protocol'. The new rules were set out in the minutes of the English faculty's joint consultative committee earlier this year, according to The Telegraph.  Faculty staff backed the new guidelines with a 'general enthusiasm', however some thought sending emails outside working hours would prove 'difficult' given the workload.

Minutes from the meeting also outlined the results of a staff survey, which found in the previous year women were 27 per cent more likely to experience bullying or harassment at work than men.  The shake up follow efforts by Cambridge University to improve email etiquette email. Language faculty staff are told to 'avoid writing anything that could be construed as rude or curt'. And capital letters are off the agenda with staff told, 'people may think you are shouting at them.' Cambridge University was the first higher education institution to reveal high numbers of reports detailing sexual misconduct after the launch of an anonymous system.

The university received around 200 complaints in a matter of months and the system of reporting incidents has been introduced in other institutions. Universities across the country announced a stop to online harassment with policies on issues ranging from sexting, upskirting and cyber stalking details in guidelines published by Universities UK. Minutes from the meeting also outlined the results of a staff survey which found 35 per cent of females reported experiencing bullying or harassment compared to 8 per cent of men in the last year.     
An Oxford University spokesman said: 'Interpersonal interaction and communication is an important part of the work that we do to encourage and support such an environment, but it is not our only focus.'The University does not tolerate any form of harassment or victimisation and expects all members of the University community, its visitors and contractors to treat each other with respect, courtesy and consideration.' 
Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th Sept. 2019.

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