The Union of Jewish Students is offering a massively subsidised educational experience including a day trip to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. Funded by the Lessons from Auschwitz University Project, the course comprises an online seminar about the Holocaust, an in-person seminar on campus focusing on Jewish life and anti-Semitism on campus, a day trip to the Auschwitz-Birkenau, and a concluding online seminar for just £59.

Until today, I had blithely assumed that diversity awareness training was an unquestionably good thing that could not possibly ever go wrong.
Then I read a seminal article from way back in 2015 and everything suddenly seemed a lot less certain.

Happy International Women’s Day2023! This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquality because everyone starts from a different starting point, and so offering the same opportunities to everyone benefits only those lucky enough to find themselves able to take advantage of them.

Most people quite naturally find themselves surrounded by people who are very much like themselves. We are attracted to people who we feel are similar to us, people who make us feel comfortable and safe. The only trouble with this is that much of life lies beyond our direct experience, which makes it difficult to empathise.

Happily, there are films, documentaries, novels, and more fun media that let us vicariously experience what might be like to be someone other than ourselves. We have put together reading lists that comprise materials that make it quick and easy to find novels, films and more by and about socially disadvantaged groups, from people of the global ethnic majority, LGBTQ+ people, members of the Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller community so it is that much easier for you to expand your horizons from the safety and comfort of your armchair.

Building on its current departmental bronze award, the Faculty of Business and Law (BaL) will be applying for an Athena Swan Silver Award in November 2023. Work on this important area supports the drive to act on gender equality matters and thus improve the experience for staff and students. The team needs to be gender-balanced but currently lacks representation from students who identify as trans and nonbinary. Dr Karen Middleton, BaL Athena SWAN Chair, would be delighted to receive expressions of interest for a vacancy that has arisen on the team for trans and nonbinary students.

Global health inequalities threaten to doom millions of people to die from AIDS. While wealthy western nations talk of one day making HIV infection history, marginalised communities at risk of infection in African countries are often unable to access healthcare. Wealth and healthcare inequalities between continents, countries, and communities in those countries threaten to sustain the spread of this preventable disease. Still, the World Health Organisation ambitiously plans to make AIDS history by 2030.

The desire for certainty is strong in most people but we should resist comfortable but false certainty.

I never thought I would be quoting the eponymous Urban Dictionary but one of the phrases recently added draws attention to how often we make unwarranted assumptions about other people: Schrödinger’s Queer. The term describes a person (usually in the public domain, a celebrity) about whose sexual orientation nothing is known, and argues that until evidence emerges like they marry someone or appear with romantic partners in public, no assumptions can safely be made about their sexuality. Like the eponymous unstable caesium atom in Schrödinger’s original thought experiment, we cannot know whether it has decayed (killing the cat) or not until we open the box and see whether the cat is alive or dead. Until the evidence presents itself, we are left with uncomfortable uncertainty.