religious whataboutism, coworker’s side job is causing problems, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. “But what about MY religious holiday?”

I am a student at a public institution. Earlier in April, a faculty member who heads up our department’s diversity efforts sent an email to the department regarding Ramadan. It wished those celebrating a blessed Ramadan, and encouraged observant students to seek accommodations from their professors if they needed them. It asked that professors be respectful of those requests, offered a link to more information about the holiday, and asked that those who do not observe be mindful about eating and drinking in front of observant peers.

On Good Friday, another tenured professor sent an email regarding Easter and Holy Week to the entire department. Easter and Holy Week are holidays celebrated by the majority of students and faculty at our school and in our state. In addition, Good Friday is legally recognized as a partial legal holiday in our state. This email copied the wording of the prior email about Ramadan exactly, including the part about asking those who do not observe to be mindful of observant peers. While the content of the email was inoffensive, the parroting of the exact wording of the email about Ramadan rubbed me the wrong way. The aping of the wording seemed designed to, if not outright mock, create a pointed passive aggressive subtext about the prior email regarding Ramadan. No one responded to the email.

This professor has been very vocal about his opinion that “free speech on campus is in crisis” and that white, conservative, Christian, heterosexual men like himself are disenfranchised and unwelcomed at universities. He has been known to use the department-wide listservs to publicly push back against efforts on diversity and inclusivity. For example, when a group of students circulated a piece detailing how our department, historically and currently, has had almost no Black faculty, he wrote back to the department-wide list-serv asserting that our department had no issues with diversity (which does nothing to address the fact that historically and currently we’ve had almost no Black faculty).

The department has asked for feedback from students on the department and its climate, allowing for anonymous feedback to be submitted. I am considering writing anonymously to the leadership indicating that, while individuals have the right to say what they wish, this is the type of behavior (public pushback against the most benign diversity and inclusion efforts by tenured faculty) that makes people feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. There is nothing wrong with notifying people about Easter or Ramadan; this is solely about the passive aggressive, public, whataboutism involved with the copying of the Ramadan message. (Also, no one mentioned Passover).

Am I off-base to feel so irked about this and do you think it’s worth bringing up? Or is it better to just leave this lie?

Yes, please speak up. You are not off-base. The professor’s email was trying to Make A Point, that point is designed to make less dominant groups feel less welcome, and you’re absolutely right in your take on it.

2. Should my friend tell her boss about a coworker’s side job that’s causing problems at work?

My friend Sansa and I work in a country where employees on long-term sick leave have a number of legal protections. They still get paid a large portion of their salary while they’re recovering, and their employer is required to help them reintegrate into their role when they’re ready.

My colleague Cersei got burnt out last spring. She was having a tough time and lost a great deal of self confidence. She’s worked hard to get herself better, and started to reintegrate into our company around four months ago. When she returned, she learned that her role had been made a lot more junior than it was when she’d started, and her manager wasn’t able to give her more responsibility because her team’s scope had changed.

She started looking for a new role and two months ago connected with a friend of Sansa’s who was looking for someone to work for her small nonprofit part-time. Cersei loves working with them and is doing really well.

But it’s impacting her day job in a way that’s getting harder to ignore. Sansa is on the same team, and she’s seen her miss deadlines and skip meetings. Cersei hasn’t told her manager about the side hustle (but, perplexingly, she posts about it constantly on LinkedIn and her boss likes all of her posts).

Cersei doesn’t want to quit her day job because the pay at her part-time job isn’t nearly enough for her to live on. But she can’t get her day job work done, and we’re worried this will get her fired pretty soon once her boss puts two and two together.

Sansa is wondering what she can, should, and must do in this situation? She’s not personally impacted here, but her teammates are left in the lurch and she knows what’s going on. Does she have a responsibility to tell her manager what she knows? Should she talk to Cersei about the impact her side hustle is having on the team? Saying nothing means the team keeps suffering, but saying something could put our friend’s livelihood in jeopardy.

It sounds like the boss already knows about the side job. Cersei is posting about it openly and the boss is liking those posts so … the boss knows.

If Sansa is concerned about Cersei’s work habits negatively impacting their team, she can raise that! She doesn’t need to explicitly connect it to Cersei’s side job; she can just explain the work issues she sees (missed deadlines, missed meetings, etc.) and the problems that’s causing. That’s the relevant info anyway.

You asked what she can, should, and must do. She doesn’t need to do anything at all, especially since it doesn’t sound like it’s impacting her directly (unless she has a leadership role on the team, in which case she does have an obligation to speak up about the impact on the team as a whole). “Can” is covered above.” “Should” is trickier and depends on how serious the problems are and how well positioned the people impacted are to speak up for themselves. (For example, if they’re brand new to the workforce, they’re less likely to know how to speak up for themselves and so I’d be more likely to say something.)

3. Can I tell recruiters I won’t consider job descriptions that don’t include salary info?

My question is about job postings that do not include any salary information. I know that this is a common and annoying issue with job postings, along with questions about your current or previous salary. I find this especially troubling because this must inevitably be playing a role in continuing pay inequality. I belong to an underrepresented group in my industry, a group which has historically been underpaid.

My field is in especially high demand right now, and I am regularly contacted by recruiters encouraging me to apply to positions. Of course there’s never any salary information offered in the job descriptions. I am considering drafting a response message that says something like, “Thank you so much for reaching out about X position. At this time, I am only applying to positions which include salary information in the job description. I feel that salary transparency is a necessary step to achieve pay equity…” etc.

What are your thoughts on this? Am I being overly idealistic in thinking that I can contribute in some small way to correcting this problem? Or would I just be pointlessly burning bridges? I am just so burnt out on seeing all of these companies talk about how important equity and inclusion are to them, while simultaneously acting in a way that perpetuates pay inequality.

Yeah, it’s frustrating and the more people who say “this isn’t okay” and refuse to play along, the faster this practice will end.

I’d reword your message though, to make it sound less like “this is my own idiosyncrasy” and more like “you are out of touch with what good candidates expect.” So more like this: “Thanks for contacting me about the X role. I’m surprised not to see the salary range included in the posting, given how much norms have changed on that since salary transparency is tied to race and gender equity. If you can send over an updated job description with the salary included, I’d be glad to take a look.” Or if you don’t want to offer that last bit, you could instead end with, “I’ve found a company’s transparency around pay reflects their commitment to equity so I’m going to pass, but maybe you can pass along that feedback.”

4. Student job candidate asked for a “brief of the interview agenda”

We are in the process of hiring a student intern for my department. One student responded to my invitation to interview by asking for a “brief of the interview agenda.” What … is this? Interview agenda templates I found online seemed internally focused and not something that would be shared with a candidate, so I ended up just responding with a rough outline of how we envision the 30-45 minute interview to go.

He was either asking for exactly what you sent (a general idea of what to expect at the interview) but using awkward wording, or he doesn’t realize that formal “interview briefs” aren’t a thing, particularly if they’re not offered proactively.

Now that you’ve provided it to him, though, ideally you’d provide it to your other candidates as well so that he doesn’t have an advantage (unless it was no more detailed than “we’ll ask about some of the experiences on your resume, discuss the job, and save time for your questions as well,” in which case most people are already assuming that and spelling it out likely won’t provide additional info).

5. My employee hangs around the office after his shift ends

I have just learned that one of the long-serving non-exempt staff I supervise (whose shift ends weekdays at 6 pm after I and other managers have left for the day) has been lingering past the end of his shift at his work station. (The staff in this area all work at four-person desks out in the open and visible. None have a private office.)

He was never instructed to do this, but when he stays late he is inserting himself into work-related conversations and interactions, and basically “chiming in” with his two cents, unbidden. This is not only confusing to newer staff who work later in the evening, but this clearly violates rules against employees working extra when not requested by a manager. How best to tell him to knock it off and go home?

Be direct! “I need you to leave work at the end of your shift. When you stick around, we have legal liability around overtime laws. Unless I explicitly authorize you to work overtime, please plan to leave the building when your shift ends.”

If he protests that he doesn’t expect overtime pay, you should say, “It’s too much of a legal risk for us to take, so I do need you to leave at the end of your shift.” (And then check with whoever informed you this has been happening to make sure it really does stop.)

This doesn’t sound like it’s a workload issue — like that he’s staying late because it’s the only way he can get all his work done — but in case it is, there’s advice on that here.

{ 788 comments… read them below }

  1. AnotherSarah*

    Re: Letter #1–It’s frustrating that the prof seems to see the Ramadan email as some sort of woke/leftist/whatever tactic, when in fact it’s probably (I assume because you reference Holy Week being observed by a majority of the campus) a quite-necessary reminder designed to help a much smaller group of students get the accommodations they’re legally entitled to. It’s obviously fine to point out that there are also Christian holidays that only a handful of students might observe, and remind faculty to consider that in their planning, but this is obnoxious.

    1. Well...*

      Isn’t implementing policy to ensure underrepresented groups have access to their legal rights exactly what woke tactics are meant to promote? I don’t think this professor is confused… He knows exactly what he’s doing. He wants to muddle students’ access to accomodations.

      1. quill*

        That’s more polite than my first reaction, that he’s a crotchety old coot who thinks that anyone who doesn’t do things his way is pushing him out (when it’s his own attitude pushing him out…)

        1. AnonToday*

          Seriously, in my (Jewish) experience: the Christians want every celebration to be a public display that includes everyone so they can also celebrate at work. I in the minority camp would rather just be left alone and have our religious practices kept out of the workplace altogether. Accommodation to me just means look at a damn calendar and don’t schedule a major meeting on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur and I’ll be happy. I’m a firm believer in that respecting diversity can and should also mean keeping religion out of the workplace versus trying to “include everyone.”

          1. ShanShan*

            Yeah, seriously.

            It drives me crazy when people act like they are, say, squeezing a little menorah into the corner of their Christmas party because their Jewish colleagues demanded it.

            Like, no, none of us asked for that. What we wanted was to not do religious stuff during work hours. The little menorah was YOUR idea, because you didn’t want to admit that doing Christmas stuff at work makes your workplace less welcoming to people who don’t celebrate Christmas. It wasn’t what any of us wanted or asked for. It’s purely for the benefit of your Christmas-celebrating employees, so they don’t have to feel bad about the Christmas stuff.

            It’s cool that you not only didn’t listen to us but also threw us under the bus when religious Christians got mad about it, tho. Boy did that make me feel welcomed and included!

            1. Anoni-Mouse*

              Yep, all of this. The tiny obvious-after-though menorah next to the gigantic Christmas tree doesn’t make me feel more included. The suggestion to throw in some Hanukkah songs for me (the single Jew in the group) on the Christmas playlist for the department party is just awkward. How about just scheduling the department party in January, not decorating in red and green and ornaments, and playing regular music?

              See also public elementary school worksheets/art projects covered in Christmas trees and elves all of December and eggs and bunnies throughout April, because anything less than Jesus on the cross is supposed to pass for “secular”.

              1. Boof*

                I mean, to be real tho most of the “Christian” holiday stuff has nothing to do with religion and is just coopting various pagan parties

                1. Boof*

                  … oof well i meant christan religion i know “pagan” can cover a lot of spiritual and/or religious things but i’m having a hard time picking out accurate words to mean “i think it’s just an excuse to party for a lot of people” – i don’t know when things become truly secular tho I imagine the line is different for different people and different festivities

                2. ShanShan*

                  Look, dude, I get that for you, this is just a fun historical fact.

                  For me, though, this argument is just another part of this massive, yearly bout of cultural gaslighting where everybody and their grandmother tries to convince me that they are not forcing Christian practices on me, when they very, very, very clearly are.

                  So, could we maybe not?

                3. Anoni-Mouse*

                  Culturally/traditionally Christian symbols are still very strongly tied to American Christianity, even if they are not mentioned directly in the Bible and were borrowed from pagan practice. Being a part of the majority religious culture does not automatically make them secular.

            2. Tiffany Aching*

              This so much. My work has a “holiday party” with a tree lighting, Santa, tinsel, and freaking Dickensian-style carolers. I’m almost more offended that they think putting a menorah in a window, when it’s not even Hanukkah that day, makes it a “holiday” party. Just call it a Christmas party, the three of us Jews don’t care, we’ll enjoy the free food anyway.

    2. Violet Fox*

      Especially for a university campus, but with most work places where Christians are the majority, the rest of us really do not need a reminder that Christians are in fact the majority, and their holidays are in fact treated like the default everyone does.

      #1 Please, please please complain! The only way any of this changes on campuses is if people speak up! Professors like that only get away with what they do because people do not speak up against them.

      1. Super Admin*

        Yep. I’m part of my office’s Inclusion team, and as part of a presentation at the end of March we reminded people that Ramadan was in April and to be conscious that some colleagues may be fasting, so to be accommodating with meetings etc. where possible, and to avoid team lunches during the month (with a link to Huda Fahmy’s wonderful graphic on supporting Muslim colleagues in the workplace). We got a feedback email after the meeting saying we should also have mentioned Easter, despite it being another two weeks away, getting two national holidays, and not impacting work in the slightest. We eye-rolled pretty hard at that.

        1. My dear Wormwood*

          I’m going to take a wild guess that Prof Whatabout isn’t doing a Lenten fast either…

          1. Agnes*

            I’m not sure on a university campus you can make the assumption that the majority are observing the culturally majority religion. This professor sounds like an ass, but on a lot of university campuses, there’s an unspoken assumption that no one takes their religion seriously, if it’s the dominant one. So Good Friday, Christmas, etc. are days off for historical reasons, but it’s understood that no one takes them seriously as religious observances. Our EDI office scheduled a big event on Good Friday one year, apparently on the assumption that no one would have anything to do that day. They would have been raked over the coals if they’d done that on Yom Kippur (when classes are also usually cancelled, large Jewish population on my campus).

            1. Trawna*

              “So Good Friday, Christmas, etc. are days off for historical reasons, but it’s understood that no one takes them seriously as religious observances.”

              Why, yes, some people do take them seriously as religious observances. Please speak only for yourself.

              1. Crooked Bird*

                I really don’t think this is what Agnes was trying to say. In context, I read that sentence as an expression of the university’s (faulty) point of view, not Agnes’.

                In fact I think Agnes makes a good point. I was reflecting on how inappropriate Prof. Whatabout’s wording was given that Christians aren’t fasting during Holy Week (to anywhere near the extent Muslims are during Ramadan anyway) so where’s the need for extra consideration–but then I realized that (had someone else with better motives written an email about Holy Week–he’s still an ass) it wouldn’t have been egregiously unnecessary to ask people nicely not to roll their eyes at anyone who’s actually mourning on Good Friday. Because that is not in fact common or expected on most campuses, Christian majority though there may be.

                1. Whoop There It Is*

                  I don’t disagree, but equating being a religious Christian with being Jewish or Muslim is really not ok. The “harm” of having someone roll their eyes at you for observing Good Friday is not comparable to the harms of Islamophobia or anti-Semitism. This is falling into the same problem as the professor’s email — Christians are not a minority in this country, full stop.

                2. anon lawyer*

                  Also, a lot of Christians – particularly from the more liturgical traditions – do fast on Good Friday and often on Maundy Thursday too. That may range from a modified fast (light meals only, no meat, or something similar) to a full fast (no food/drink).

                  I have generally found that in my corporate environment there very much is an expectation that you celebrate culturally Christian holidays, but not that you celebrate them in a religious way. So lots of “Happy Easter!” emails but I really got pushback about the fact that I was unavailable for calls after 5 PM Thursday and during the early afternoon Friday bc of church

                3. Crooked Bird*

                  Wow. Sorry I was so unclear that I appeared to imply Christians were a minority. Deeply religious people of ANY kind are a minority on most college campuses.

                4. Crooked Bird*

                  Argh, and now that’s unclear again. Deeply religious people are. Christians are not. Because many Christians are not deeply religious, or are not even religious at all. Like anon lawyer says–lots of “Happy Easter” greetings (or Merry Christmas.) You don’t have to be religious for that.

                5. Chinook*

                  Umm…fasting is part of Catholic practise on Good Friday. We just are told not to make a big deal of it, so asking someone to not eat in front of us would not be right. I have sat through many lunch meetings on Ash Wednesday (Good Friday I just insist on taking off) with nothing but a glass of water.

                  I should clarify that I have no problem with respecting the wishes of my Muslim co-workers when they ask – my fast is for one day, not weeks on end.

              2. Snark*

                It was fairly clear there that the person you’re responding to was characterizing the general attitude on a particular college campus.

              3. Orthodox*

                It was obvious Agnes was expressing a common view on campus, not her own view. But you knew that.

              4. quill*

                The entire tradition of spring break on college campuses is tied to easter and christianity, and many schools still schedule it for easter week. The students are DEFINITELY aware of when easter is, even if spring break is scheduled at a slightly different time.

                1. Anoni-Mouse*

                  The overwhelming amount of pastel eggs and bunny decorations at any retailer is a pretty big hint too. We don’t forget when Christmas and Easter are.

            2. Whoop There It Is*

              I do understand what you’re trying to say, but the way you’re presenting this is like claiming “reverse discrimination.” Christians and Jews *do not* have comparable or equivalent experiences in observing faith practices in America, including on liberal college campuses. Denying the privilege of belonging to the majority religion is not a good look, especially when you imply that Jews are the ones who are really privileged. Just no.

              (Also, Yom Kippur is not the only Jewish holiday! For observant Jews, we’re still missing plenty of school/work days throughout the year.)

              1. Boof*

                Not “reverse discrimination”. Maybe “reverse awareness” or “reverse inclusion”? Gotta say I wouldn’t mind a heads up if there was a christian observance /that might to impact work/ such as fasting, or someone who was unwilling to take call on sunday, etc because i basically don’t know any of the orthodox traditions.
                /but i’m not saying this applies to lw’s story only lw saw the email and knows the context and LW knows best if it sounds more reactionary than “hey good idea!”

            3. Frieda*

              YMM definitely V – I’ve worked in higher ed for 15+ years, not including graduate school, and religious practice is definitely a part of student identity, and (perhaps to a lesser degree) the activity of faculty and staff.

              The religious makeup of the student body and the surrounding community influences this, of course, but the idea that “no one” observes their religious holidays is ridiculous as a blanket statement.

            4. Anon Grad Student*

              My university has a large Jewish population and my department did schedule its EDI day on Yom Kippur. No one was raked over the coals. While scheduling an event on Good Friday limits how inclusive the event should be, Christians in America are not oppressed, historically or otherwise. This is not at all the same thing.

            5. Chinook*

              As someone who is still salty 30 years later about our team (which played out of the local Catholic college which was part of the university since its inception) having to miss the finals of a university intramural league because the game was scheduled during the one hour that our Catholic Holy Thursday service was being held (by canon law and religious practice there is one service only at that day and it is in the evening), I can tell you that our university didn’t take religious accommodations for Christians seriously. We asked the organizers to reschedule for religious reasons and they refused because it would inconvenience the other players who had plans to travel for the long weekend and the new sport was scheduled to start on the Monday. They weren’t even willing to schedule it an hour later, which was our compromise. We knew that if our argument was about Passover or Eid, then they would have figured something out. There was a point being made and we heard it loud and clear – we weren’t welcome and they would prefer we would disappear.

          2. Richard Hershberger*

            This. The talk of Holy Week is a sure tipoff, if any were necessary, that this guy is BSing. Holy Week as somehow comparable to Ramadan simply isn’t a thing. I went to church on Thursday and Friday evenings. (No, I didn’t go to Easter Vigil: a bridge too far for me.) A Good Friday service during the day is a traditional Catholic thing, hence the half-holiday in areas with a large Catholic population. This is the only aspect of Holy Week that conceivably requires an accommodation, though in practice you can go to mass in the evening.

            Comparing Holy Week to Ramadan simply doesn’t work. Lent would work better, but even observant Christians in traditional churches rarely go crazy. Meatless Fridays are still a thing with Catholics. More generally, some personal discipline is common in some churches. I gave up donuts. Um… Except for that one time I forgot… You have to go pretty far afield to find a church that does much more than this for Lent.

            It is just barely possible that this guy is a Super Catholic, of the More Catholic Than The Pope variety. These people do exist, and are every bit as insufferable as you would expect. But I doubt it. My guess is that he is a White American Evangelical Protestant who is at most barely aware that Lent exists, but has a vague sense that the week before Easter is a thing and is running with it. I would point at him and laugh, but I enjoy certain privileges as a White American (non-Evangelical) Protestant that the LW may not.

            1. Alice*

              The guy sounds like a real jerk and I hope that OP will talk about this with the department – but I don’t think we have to gatekeep who is sincerely faithful and who “is barely aware that Lent exists.” And in the context of a college, there could well be classes meetings and sections and homework assignments that assume people are available in the evening on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during Holy Week — all days when observant Christians (of any denomination) might intend to go to a church service.

              1. Richard Hershberger*

                Wednesday night Holy Week service is not a traditional thing. I suppose some church might have come up with the idea. Wednesday evening meeting is an old-school Evangelical thing. It would not astonish me if some church conflated this with Holy Week. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services are a thing, but in practice are a minor scheduling issue. I can see a Thursday evening class being an issue. Homework? “Sorry, Prof. I will be spending an hour at church, so no homework for me!” Nope. Good Friday services typically are offered more than once during the day.

                But as for this guy in particular, if he were sincerely concerned about his own church’s observances, he wouldn’t have copied and pasted an email about Ramadan. He would have used his literacy skills to address the actual situation.

                1. LifeBeforeCorona*

                  It would be hilarious if he missed a few specific references to fasting and Ramadan in his haste to use someone else’s words.

                2. NotRealAnonForThis*

                  Amusing (?) aside – my school district, public and in the US btw, did not assign anything on a Wednesday night that was due on Thursday due to “Wednesday church meeting”. Apparently at one point, enough students were a part of a denomination where this was a thing; it was written into rule. At least as of when I was in school (30ish years ago) it was still a rule.

                  That’s not to say an assignment couldn’t be due on Thursday, just that it had to be assigned on Tuesday if so. And a weekly syllabus published/handed out on Monday that showed something due on Thursday was just fine as long as students had access to the materials.

                3. Madeleine Matilda*

                  In some Christian traditions Wednesday evening service during Holy Week is indeed a thing. Most Episcopal and Catholic churches that I know of have a Wednesday evening service.

                4. ThatGirl*

                  I grew up with a pastor for a dad. Maundy Thursday services were a big thing. Guess what, they started at 6 – around or after the time most people are off work.

                5. Anhaga*

                  What Madeleine Matilda and Emi said–Wednesday of Holy Week has a Tenebrae service in some Catholic and Episcopalian/Anglican churches. Our priest did one last week (I did not go, as I was saving my energy for the Triduum–Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil–during which I had to sing and sing and sing as part of the choir. So much singing.

                6. Quinalla*

                  Wednesday night lent services are a thing though for some churches, usually extremely sparsely populated – just the pastor, choir and like 6 people in the general congregation :)

                7. Yorick*

                  Just want to mention, in universities it is not a thing to give homework on Wednesday that is due on Thursday. All assignment due dates are on the syllabus at the beginning of the semester and students can complete them early if they’ll be in church on the night before it’s due.

                8. anon lawyer*

                  Wednesday night services during Holy Week are definitely a thing for a lot of Christian traditions and communities. In my denomination of origin, you attend church every night during Holy Week.

                9. Richard Hershberger*

                  Alison, I apologize for losing my cool. I was just going to ask you to delete it.

              2. My dear Wormwood*

                True, it’s probably uncharitable of me – eyes on your own plate and all that – but when someone is doing performative piety like this dude I have trouble reining in the side-eye.

              1. eisa*

                What nationality / religion (if any) are you ?

                In my country, Good Friday is a pretty high holiday of the Catholic Church, which is the majority religion.
                Like, evening service, high mass, close on two hours length.

                It is not a national holiday though.

                For the small Protestant minority (Lutheran / Calvinist), it is considered the highest religious holiday of the year. In point of fact, Good Friday used to be a national holiday just for Protestants .. until a couple years ago, someone successfully sued against that ..
                so now, most Protestants take the day off out of their PTO budget – it is still taken very seriously.

                1. Alana Bloom*

                  Not the same poster, but I grew up in the Southeastern USA, raised United Methodist (now agnostic, but I attended church regularly for most of my childhood and adolescence). I don’t think I’ve ever attended a Good Friday service.

                2. Lenora Rose*

                  It seems to vary widely by denomination, but I don’t remember much of Good Friday services as a kid, or even whether we went (Roman Catholic).

                  This could be kid memory, which is focused on Palm Sunday which was fun – and the cats have a blast with the fronds afterwards — and Easter, which was a joyous service plus chocolate before or after, and either silly dyed eggs or whole-on pysanky depending on how my Mom felt that year. Good Friday being dead serious and sometimes longer, I can see it being something I did but blanked on or something Mom kept us kids out of. I mostly remember that on that Friday, though not other Fridays, Grandma made fish for dinner.

                  I have observed it more seriously as an adult, in the United Church of Canada (Where it is a service entirely of readings and choral music.) I get the impression my husband attended Good Friday services with his family (Mennonite) but I’d have to double check. (I didn’t attend either this year even by zoom but it’s been a struggle to attend at all.)

                  I do know that Easter and Christmas are the two services people who never go the rest of the year but still feel obliged to make some appearance will do, and Good Friday is… not.

                3. Anne*

                  No Mass on Good Friday in the Catholic Church. Still, there is a long-ish service on that day.

              2. Sloan Kittering*

                But that’s kind of the point – Christian observances generally fit with the work schedule most Americans observe, because our culture is oriented that way. Most weekday services are offered in the evenings, and the ones that are not – namely Christmas or Sunday services – most Americans *get off work.* The problem is that this is not true for other religions.

                1. Yorick*

                  Yes, this is exactly why we need to be informed of other religion’s holidays. Christian holidays usually fit in quite well, even if the schedulers don’t know about them.

            2. quill*

              Holy week is very different across different cultures. Latin America is basically shut down that week for business purposes, and back when I was a kid and catholic both palm sunday (the sunday before) and easter sunday were pretty mandatory in terms of participation. The week after, which was spring break for me usually, was pretty empty!

              We weren’t terribly observant by the standards of previous generations even then (much to my born-circa 1928 grandmother’s chagrin,) but I’m sure there are US-based catholics who do way more for easter week even now.

            3. HoHumDrum*

              Just FYI, I learned when I married into a family that has a hardcore evangelical branch that they do in fact celebrate a form of lent. They just thoroughly divorce it from the catholicism. They do various fasts based on the bible- they call it a Daniel fast or whatever, and will not eat certain foods. It was a shock to me, as I come from a catholic family and know that my in-laws don’t regard catholicism as a valid form of christianity, to find they had adopted a spiritual practice from it, but apparently it’s super common. Just so you know and don’t make the mistake of assuming your evangelical colleagues are unaware- they know what lent is and they may observe a version of it.

              1. anon lawyer*

                Your evangelical relatives didn’t adopt Lenten fasting from Catholicism. It is an ancient Christian tradition, not specifically a Catholic one, and continued in many Protestant churches after the Reformation. Not to mention the Orthodox, who fast a TON (for Lent, for Advent, for all manner of things).

                1. Clisby*

                  Yes, I was raised as an Episcopalian, and we observed Lent every year. My family didn’t do fasting as in, say, eating no meat. But each of us was expected to give up some edible for Lent (so, give up all dessert, give up all chocolate, give up all candy).

                2. HoHumDrum*

                  @anon lawyer That is interesting to hear. I guess I don’t really understand how one views protestant practices as wholly unique and unrelated to catholocism when it grew out of them? My in-laws believe that catholics are false pretenders, that catholics do not practice any form of christianity but rather an entirely different and utterly false religion, so when they explained it to me they did not have a real nuanced explanation.

                  @Clisby it’s funny you mention episcolpalism here because the family I have that’s not catholic is episcopalian because they viewed it as essentially the same religion but without the baggage. Lotta catholic women in my family got fed up with the church and then became episcopalian because the service was very similar but women were allowed to lead things. So I forget it’s not just like a more liberal wing of catholicism :D

            4. Lucy Skywalker*

              Yeah, no kidding. I am a former Catholic who now worships in a Protestant church, and I was a little surprised that my church didn’t have any services on Holy Thursday or Good Friday this year.

          3. Ally McBeal*

            And Catholic fasting is so different from Muslim fasting – Catholics can have two small meals whenever they want throughout the day, and all the water they can drink. It’s very very different to fasting from sunrise to sunset.

            1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

              That’s is a much more liberal set of rules than I grew up with, but I had an old style priest who was still doing Mass in Latin in the 1980s.

              1. Ally McBeal*

                Interesting. I attended Latin Mass regularly in the late 00s, right after B16 gave broad permission to bring it back, and the only additional guidance we received about fasting was that it’s “ideal” to not eat at all before Sunday Mass, if you can manage it (otherwise, just fasting during the hour before receiving HC was fine) – it had nothing to do with Lent.

          4. California Ltd*

            If Professor Whatabout didn’t mention it was also Passover, then he’s clearly not interested in everyone’s religious observances.

          5. GreenDoor*

            My dear Wormwood, I guarantee you Prof. Whatabout isn’t doing a Lenten fast. As a Catholic, I can tell you that Lent is about looking inward, reflecting on your OWN sins and making a conscious effort through personal prayer and fasting/abstaining to cleanse your OWN soul in preparation for Christ. It is 100% not about looking outward at the sins and “offensive” behavior of others. This professor is so fragile it’s not even funny….

        2. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

          I presume he also didn’t mention the eastern Orthodox Easter observations a week later. (The strictest Lenten fasting I’ve encountered were Orthodox friends & their families.)

          1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            I’ve fasted for Lent, and it’s still *nothing* compared to a Ramadan fast.

          2. Kotow*

            That was my first thought too! I’m in services every night this week, the short ones were last night and tonight (about an hour) and then it’s Holy Week in full force the rest of the week. I didn’t observe these days back in college, but if I had I would’ve missed multiple classes in a row of classes because I always took them in the evening (not an early riser lol). As it turns out, for me it was easy enough to just block off the entire week as being “no meetings or appointments or anything critical unless it truly can’t wait.” It’s actually surprising how challenging it can be to get to a 7pm service when nobody else is observing it!

          3. two snakes*

            Yuppp – no meat, milk, eggs, or fish and some days no oil products either (what did we eat? beans with plain bread).

            We did always get our Easter candy on sale, though.

        3. Don P.*

          As a non-Christian, I would, seriously, not mind some kind of reminder, on Mardi Gras, “Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, so if you see someone with a mark on their forehead, DO NOT say ‘hey, you got some dirt on your face.'” Uh, better phrased than that though.

          1. Dancing Otter*

            This actually happened to me once! Why no, you idiot, I’m not going to go wash my face. Duh!
            Though I will have to think, next year, whether it might not be performative piety rather than the humility it ought to be.

          2. Nephron*

            If you want a free reminder you can sign up for one of the news agencies for New Orleans. You will never miss Mardi Gras. You will also learn about some truly odd news stories.

      2. Blue*

        Yeah, I personally don’t think I would mind much about the similar language since that’s pretty common, but what rubbed me the wrong way was how he prefaced it with statements about how they’re the majority with holidays that were actually officially recognized. That is just kind of a given already and pointing it out is a bit strange in this context.

        1. STG*

          I don’t think the professor actually said those things. I think it was the OP explaining the university environment.

    3. Cat Tree*

      Ugh. This guy responded to a direct fact that they’ve had very few Black faculty by saying it’s not a problem. In his view, the lack of diversity is good. All his actions should be viewed through that lens. He no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt. His Easter email was absolutely intended to be adversarial and not some misguided attempt at equality.

      1. Antilles*

        Bingo. The context of his previous actions matters here and all you need to know about the professor’s real motivations are right here:
        This professor has been very vocal about his opinion that “free speech on campus is in crisis” and that white, conservative, Christian, heterosexual men like himself are disenfranchised and unwelcomed at universities. He has been known to use the department-wide listservs to publicly push back against efforts on diversity and inclusivity.

        1. quill*

          I feel like his ability to use the department listserv should be revoked at the bare minimum. If you insist on being a glassbowl, you don’t get to use the department listserv.

            1. quill*

              My wall, my right to powerhose the graffiti off it.
              (I was a forum mod for a while, I have a lot of these replies stashed away.)

    4. Hats Are Great*

      This professor justifiably feels like he isn’t welcome on campus. But that’s because he’s a dick, not because of his religion.

      Turns out that when you’re a dick, you’re not welcome very many places.

    5. Seriously?*

      Probably the first e-mail should have mentioned all three major religious holidays that are occurring. That would have made his follow up email obviously ridiculous.

      But given this man’s other actions, the student should report their feelings.

      1. Koli*

        Saying that the email about Ramadan should have mentioned “all three major religious holidays” is giving me #alllivesmatter vibes. The email was about Ramadan, and that’s ok.

        1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

          This is a time of year when there are lots of religious holidays (although Ramadan moves around drastically from year to year).

          When I worked for a global corporation with sites in majority Muslim countries as well as China, someone in corporate HR basically sent out an email for every holiday that would impact your coworkers – the bar was set above birthdays – but somewhere below Solstice. You couldn’t assume that people in heavily Muslim areas would be tracking Easter or even Christmas, any more than I was tracking Chinese New Year. And every year the reminder about American Thanksgiving (two days off) was needed for everyone who wasn’t in the U.S. It was functionally a heads up “your coworkers who celebrate _____ may be out of the office for the next few days” – if offices actually shut down for holidays that was mentioned, with standard text to “seek accommodation for your religious practices if you need to,” a link to locations for prayer/meditation rooms at every site, a reminder to managers to accommodate, and a brief educational explanation of the holiday (yes, even Christmas). In the interests of privacy, individual practices surrounding the holiday were not expanded on – there was no mention of needing to go to prayer, or fasting, or why your coworkers might be walking around with smudges on their foreheads – because no one needs to be judged for not being observant and quite frankly, there is enough variation from sect to sect in a lot of faiths that what is observant in one sect can just be strange to a sister sect.

          To me, it seems rather provincial to assume that everyone is tracking Easter. I grew up Catholic but haven’t considered myself Christian in decades and would completely miss Easter every year if it weren’t for the chocolate bunnies at Target – even then I thought it was a week earlier than it turned out to be. It moves, it has never tracked with my kids Spring Break except by chance, and in my current life, its another Sunday. (Christmas is hard to miss).

          1. Yorick*

            The point is that, in the US, we don’t really need to know that it’s Easter. While many people here will have big Easter plans, it’s on a Sunday and our work/school schedules already don’t interfere. SOME Christians (but maybe just Catholics?) will also do something on Good Friday or the Thursday before, but that is often in the evening. And there’s really nothing going on for Easter/Holy Week during the work day that we need to know on the same level as “your Muslim coworkers won’t be eating so don’t have a lunch meeting.”

            1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

              Again, I wouldn’t assume your experience is universal. I’ve worked for plenty of companies that shut down at least some locations early on Good Friday – and if you work for them or with them, yes, you want to know that you won’t reach anyone in the office after noon. They aren’t shutting down for religious purposes, but because people travel to visit family so Good Friday is half a day and a lot of people take the next Monday off for travel.

              I worked for a company where “Deer Monday” was a company holiday – that’s the Monday of the weekend that deer season opens. And yes, if you aren’t a hunter, it helps to know that you won’t reach anyone in the office on “Deer Monday” if you are one of the firms clients or vendors.

              1. Yorick*

                That’s what I’m getting at. “The office is closed on Friday afternoon” is vastly different from “a handful of students will be rudely left out if you hold class in a coffee shop at this point in the semester.” You may be able to handle the former with an out of office automatic reply.

          2. Snuck*


            And I love the “Your coworkers who celebrate ____” idea, because while Thanksgiving is a US holiday there’s plenty of American expats who celebrate outside of America too.

        2. Seriously?*

          I disagree. If there are people of different backgrounds receiving the email, how is it wrong to say these three big observances are all occurring right now. Point out that people that observe will be doing so in these ways. When they don’t occur at the same time, separate emails make sense.

          1. New Jack Karyn*

            Because the email was about how to support and accommodate people observing Ramadan, which is a huge deal. People already get Good Friday and Easter Sunday off in this location, so there’s no need to make note of it. Passover is a little bit more of a deal than Easter, in terms of dietary restrictions, but still not close to Ramadan and how it affects people for a whole month.

            1. Raikas*

              I’m in Toronto and work for a city school board, and in my office we get a monthly calendar that has major holidays for various religions and cultures, and this month it did include both Good Fridays/Easters (Western Good Friday is a stat holiday here, but Orthodox is not, so teachers need that reminder) and Ramadan, and Gudhi Padwa, Puthandu, Passover, – there were a lot of holidays this month!

              The person in OP’s letter is obviously a dick who isn’t trying to be inclusive, but an email reminder about accommodating all the holidays (in a month with a lot of them!) isn’t a terrible idea on its own (although the “all three” implies that only Western Christian, Jewish, and Muslim holidays are even being considered which is obviously a problem in itself too).

        3. Governmint Condition*

          Once a year, we receive a list of the dates of religious holidays, with information about how they are observed and what reasonable accommodations may be needed for each. Everything you can think of is included. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen a document that included and explanation of what special accommodations a majority group could need. But something tells me this would not satisfy Professor Make A. Point, PhD (Piled High and Deep).

        4. A Jew*

          It does actually matter that Pesach (“Passover”) is occurring. Jews are routinely marginalized in the workplace and in schools and holidays are one of the primary loci around which this marginalization occurs. Particularly since Easter is historically a time of great fear for Jews – not so much today, but in years past, it was a yearly tradition for Christians to massacre Jews on/for Easter, as retribution for killing their god.

          Acknowledging this is not #alllivesmatter; it’s acknowledging that Jews exist and deserve respect as much as Muslims do. We notice when we are derided or pointedly omitted from these kinds of equity messaging.

          1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

            It always seems to me that Jews get the short end of the stick in these conversations. People seem to think “the religion is mainstream and the people are white, we can ignore it.” But racism is not just for brown people – and the historical oppression of Jews runs deep through European History – and wasn’t left behind by immigrants to the New World.

            (see also Romani)

            1. A Jew*

              Correct – and, many Jews aren’t white/don’t pass as white and don’t have roots in Europe.

      2. Generic Name*

        That’s like saying an email that gives directions to a hidden handicap-accessible entrance on the side of a building should also note there is an enormous set of stairs with heavy doors at the front of the building too.

    6. RandomLawyer*

      So…..I’d let this one go past if I was OP. The thing about people who do this is that they don;t want the recognition, they don’t want their holidays treated equally, they want the fight. I get why you could be annoyed at this, but your annoyance is what they want and they want to be able to scream persecution and state with all sincerity “If all religions are equal what could POSSIBLY be wrong with my e-mail. ALL religions matter, don’t they?” And sadly, depending on where OP is from they might win that fight and make this worse. IS that great? Is that a good thing? No. Is that reality in a world where the guy who refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding won at the Supreme Court? Yes (assuming OP is American). The best thing you can do here is roll your eyes for the time being. It may suck to do so, but its what I would reccomend

      1. mlem*

        They want the fight, sure, but they’re perfectly happy to accept a win-by-forfeit. That’s the pernicious benefit of being in a place of default privilege. There’s an important middle ground of picking the right battles and effective techniques for pushback.

      2. Sloan Kittering*

        Also they’re trying to use an “all religions matter” banner but specifically excluding the very significant Jewish holidays!

      3. Jora Malli*

        I don’t think OP should let it go past. I don’t think they should say anything to the professor himself about it, but if they want to report it to the anonymous DEI information line they mentioned, that’s an excellent way to handle it. This is a professor who is outspoken about not following the university’s DEI protocols and who wants to limit the participation of non-white, non-Christian, non-conservative people, and complaints should be filed against him every single time he pulls something like this. He needs to go, and students reporting discriminatory behavior might help that process along.

        1. Flowering Banjo*

          They can go ahead and report it, but it’s unlikely to result in anything happening to the professor. The prof will simply say that the message was consistent with other messages about religious holidays that the school had itself sent out. If anything were to happen, the prof would use it as an example of how he is being persecuted. Assuming that the school is being careful, they won’t want to pick a fight that they will have trouble winning.

          1. ShanShan*

            What will happen to the professor is that he will get a pretty clear message that his colleagues are not on board with his antics. That’s the goal. What happens after that is irrelevant.

            I know people like this, and I absolutely guarantee you that he believes, very confidently, that he is part of the silent majority. He is SURE that most of the nice white people he works with agree with him, and are just too afraid of the woke police to say so. He thinks he’s speaking for them, and that that makes him a hero.

            So, any sign of disapproval at all is important, whether anything official comes from it or not. He needs lots of them, constantly.

            Because I promise you that he is taking every single noncommital “uh-huh” and awkward silence as agreement. Guys like him do.

      4. pancakes*

        People like this prof are going to say they’re persecuted either way. They’ve been at it for decades. I don’t know how you haven’t noticed this yet if you’re in the US. People raised in evangelical communities very often acknowledge they were brought up knowing their religious tradition is strategic in depicting itself as persecuted, silenced, etc. The idea that there’s nothing to be gained by students complaining about professors like this is strange to me. They’re often paying an enormous amount of money to be there, but even if they aren’t, wanting more diverse faculty and less spurious white conservative grievance culture among faculty are legitimate complaints for people pursuing an education to make.

      5. fhqwhgads*

        If the question were whether to bring it up with the prof who sent the obnoxious email, I’d say let it go. There’s no point. But if an option is to bring it up with a DEIA committee or office or someone else with authority, then there is a point.

      6. anon for this today*

        One way of turning this bad energy on itself is the following: “I so appreciated the reminder about Ramadan, and the reminder about Easter as well (though it had a few inaccuracies regarding the observance). I would love it if Passover would have been included as well.”

        But I’ve been practicing my passive-aggressive voice lately.

      7. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        Yes, this exactly. Sounds like this person is trying to get a big response so they can point to how unreasonable people are and complain that he’s being “cancelled”. It’s a big political issue right now in the US. It doesn’t mean he’s not in the wrong, but making a stink about it, however justified it may be, just gives him what he wants.

        1. Hiding in the Break Room*

          Not saying anything also gives him what he wants. These same types like to chip away at norms and civility by testing boundaries. If they succeed by getting away with penetrating one boundary, they will just chip away at others — all at the expense of marginalized groups.

          So while someone like this will always find a way to leverage their persecution complex, saying something can create a better environment for those who suffer the most from this behavior and deter others from doing it.

          1. ShanShan*

            I mean, let’s be real, this guy decided he was being persecuted from the moment someone set out an email about Ramadan, which literally did not mention him. That ship has sailed so far that it’s pretty much invisible beyond the horizon.

      8. Sparkles McFadden*

        Yes, the goal in the prof’s emails is to start a fight and get responses he can weaponize. I can just imagine this guy refreshing his email, waiting to pounce on any response. That’s what folks like this do.

        That said, pointing to this email in a request for feedback regarding the department seems entirely appropriate.

      9. Petty Betty*

        Silence is agreement. Agreement is enabling/encouragement. OP is neither in agreement nor wanting to signal agreement towards prof. Whataboutism’s views or communiques.

        Anonymous pushback to the higher-up/DEI/HR is an appropriate way of voicing displeasure without having his wrath focused on OP directly.

        1. tinybutfierce*

          Strongly seconding this, especially as someone who isn’t in their country’s religious majority. The OP’s department has explicitly asked for feedback from students and this is absolutely important feedback they should have.

          1. ShanShan*

            Also, why do you care more about what he wants than about what the many non-Christian students, staff, and faculty subjected to his crap want?

            Like, we’re all here, listening to this, too. Forget the message you are sending to him. What message do you want to send to us?

        2. Hiding in the Break Room*

          This. We can worry away about these types of people “getting what they want” when we attempt to pushback, but newsflash — they will always find reason to complain and position themselves as victims. Does that mean we don’t say anything? Because if we don’t, their words and actions continue to hurt marginalized groups.

      10. Unaccountably*

        The idea that people like this will somehow be disappointed and go away if you don’t pay attention to them is pernicious. And in fact it’s how they wind up winning: when there are no objections to their persecution claims, they’re empowered to believe that everyone agrees with them. Worse, people with no real opinions one way or the other also assume that their claims are unobjectionable, since no one objects to them.

        Ignoring people like this is how you get more people like this.

        1. pancakes*

          Exactly — not only do you get more people like this, they become even more delusional about how many people agree with them. Data for Progress has been collecting data on this for years at this point, though it was a clear pattern long before they started doing so. Going back to Nixon’s “silent majority” speech, if not earlier.

      11. New Jack Karyn*

        The question isn’t whether OP should write directly to the professor, or take it up in a public forum such as the university newspaper. It’s whether OP should mention it in a survey about DEI on campus. So yes, I think they should. Also–as others have said–do not concede the ground. Do not let them think their view is correct and unchallenged. Let them be mocked openly.

        Doing nothing about bullies doesn’t make them go away. They just escalate their behaviors.

    7. Moi*

      Quite frankly, if I was sending out emails about different religions Holy Days, I likely would use similar wording. Do you think the email would have been frustrating coming from a different professor?

      1. Critical Rolls*

        That’s a fully moot point, because it did not come from another professor, it came from one with a history of embracing oppression. Sure, totally decontextualizing an action can change it, but that’s a pointless, derailing thought exercise.

      2. Yorick*

        Ok but the email wasn’t really about different religions. It was about this guy’s dislike of Muslims and annoyance at being asked to know about and understand Muslim practices.

        If somebody had wanted people to know about Jewish practices for Passover and they worded it kinda similarly to the Ramadan email, OP wouldn’t have needed to write in about that.

      3. Unaccountably*

        This wasn’t an issue of “similar wording.” The professor copied and pasted the Ramadan email and substituted a Christian holiday for Ramadan. I would like to think that ANY professor who did the same would get the side-eye, and I would certainly side-eye you if you co-opted a colleague’s email to prove that you are as oppressed as they are.

        1. Formerly Ella Vader*

          Yes, this is exactly like using a conversation about Black Lives Matter to start talking about how All Lives Matter. Which is intentionally hostile.

        2. Layla*

          Good Friday is a fast day in many Christian denominations. If I were looking for a neutral, acceptable way to let professors/staff know of an upcoming religious observance with fasting that might require accommodations and general awareness, I probably would look at messages sent about other holidays with similar requirements!

          1. Moi*

            I have to be honest, if I was a manager I would use similar wording for all emails. But I likely would send out zero emails for fear of missing out on someone’s holy day. A previous Jewish comment pointed out for rarely their holy days are mentioned, and Judaism is a fairly prominent religion. I’m far from an expert on world religions and I would miss some.

      4. Snuck*

        I had similar thoughts. “The wording is non confrontational, it’s the act by this specific Professor that’s made it problematic”. It could be entirely appropriate to use the same wording, so there’s no confusion about message or sense of impropriety.

        If it had been done by a warm, inviting professor would it matter differently?
        Is it possible this professor didn’t know how to word his own well/borrowed those already well scripted words for expediency?

    8. Anhaga*

      Honestly, if I were OP, I’d skate right by the obnoxious point this professor was trying to make–don’t give him the airtime or the reaction he’s looking for–and focus on his academic sin: plagiarism. If his email really was word-for-word almost exactly like the previous email, or even so close in terms of the structure of ideas that it’s a paraphrase, OP, as a student, could give feedback expressing confusion about their school’s rules about cheating and plagiarism: “I’ve always understood it was wrong to use someone else’s words without attribution, so why did Professor Aggrieved copy the email about Ramandan? Are we allowed to do that with wording from sources in our papers if we just change some key terms?”

      It’s the academic version of “focus on the actual work problems this otherwise personal issue is causing.”

      1. Butterfly Counter*

        Unfortunately, this wouldn’t work either. I’m in academia and EVERYONE knows what the awful professor was getting at. His colleagues know (and dislike him), the students obviously know: he’s the worst. But aside from his chair pulling him aside and telling him that it’s a bad look, there’s nothing much that can be done to change his actions. The closest way a student could make a point is by doing it in his own class and then challenging it with this email if he tries to report them to the university. That would get enough serious consideration that the university would tell him to stop, but it endangers students’ grades and reputations if the university doesn’t buy it as and excuse for plagiarism.

        As someone with a coworker would would do EXACTLY this, trust that I am doing everything when it comes to hiring, deciding who is on committees, and who is teaching what classes to our students to give this guy as little power in our university as possible and increasing very needed diversity in our department.

        1. quill*

          A department admin / IT is best suited to deal with this specific incident by cutting off his ability to post to the Listserv, TBH. They would probably need approval to do so, though.

              1. Flowering Banjo*

                There’s some ugliness already, to be sure. But it’s probably not as ugly as getting it covered on Fox or Breitbart or a similar news outlet. Probably not as ugly when donors or provosts or alumni get involved. Probably not as ugly as having the IT team doxxed or the listserv hacked. Probably not as ugly as a lawsuit filed by the Christian Legal Society.

                1. pancakes*

                  It was ugliness on Fox that I was referring to. I think you think I meant on campus? Either way, I don’t agree that students should be so intimidated by the media outlets and spurious lawsuits you mention as to be afraid to give campus administration honest feedback when it asks for it, or afraid to do anything besides endure professors like this in silence.

                2. Flowering Banjo*

                  But beyond the ugliness, the school would likely lose. He would claim religious discrimination, and a lawsuit would likely go against the school. There are better ways to challenge the prof.

                3. pancakes*

                  I don’t at all agree that you can credibly comment on who is going to win fictional litigation you’ve just made up, no. You seem to be taking it for granted that student complaints would 1) result in his dismissal (rather than, say, disciplinary measures) and 2) that the facts of his dismissal definitely wouldn’t meet the standard of firing for cause, or whatever the terms of his tenure are. Just for a start. And neither of those assumptions are supported by facts. It’s not helpful to catastrophize about this when a well-spoken, level-headed student wrote in thinking about simply providing feedback on this dude.

            1. quill*

              Email =/= listserv. The listserv is automatically emailing to the department: staff, faculty, students.
              If he’s behaving like this he needs to not be one of the people who can email to the listserv whenever they want until he can behave professionally, and in the meantime if he legitimately has department business to cover… he can email the specific people involved, call a meeting, or say hey department head I really have to post this class schedule update to the department.

              It’s no more “cutting off his email” than making sure he can’t reply all to whole department. He could make the case, but it would be hogwash, and anyway you can’t continue to appease the unappeasable forever. In terms of bad publicity, he’s a time bomb: either he manufactures something to get attention or he’s so offensive to a donor that they stop donating, or he gets the university in legal trouble, etc.

              1. Flowering Banjo*

                Of course they are different. But if the listserv is a communication channel that everyone else is able to use, then there’s a good amount of overlap. The issue is that the prof is going to scream religious discrimination if he is denied access that everyone else has because they sent an email about a Christian holiday. The university will back down, or if it makes its way to court, lose a lawsuit.

          1. Snuck*

            I’ve worked in a number of places where the only people who have access to all staff email lists were responsible (trusted!) admin. Not a bad solution. If the CEO wanted to send something out they can… but if the Senior Manager of Teapot Cuddling wants to they send it to the admin who will send it out for them (either under the admin address, or generic one, or the SMTC email address – I’ve seen all three be possible). This way there’s a chance to catch them before they hit go.

        2. pancakes*

          I don’t think it’s unfortunate for people in educational settings to be able to see through obvious nonsense! At all.

          On your “nothing can be done” point, please have a look at how students at Penn Law have pushed back on Amy Wax.

        3. Metadata minion*

          And if it were being doing in good faith, this type of copying is generally not an ethics violation anyway. Communications templates are a thing.

          1. Calliope*

            Yeah this is not what plagiarism is. If anything it would be satire which is explicitly protected. Note: I am not saying it is GOOD satire. The guy clearly is terrible. But it’s not plagiarism.

      2. pancakes*

        Students can’t deny him “airtime” if the school allows him to continue to send mass emails about his grievances. The school itself has provided him with that airtime and opted not to discipline him for his use of it. Overlooking the substantive issues that his campus-wide grievance emails are about in favor of pretending the trouble is plagiarism rather than white christian xenophobia would be weak and ineffectual, and “are we allowed to do that” would be weak and ineffectual framing coming from people who can see perfectly well what’s going on. The school has allowed him to make people who want more diversity and more respect for minorities uncomfortable, and it’s perfectly fair and legitimate for students to say they’ve noticed that, and don’t like it at all, and want it to stop.

      3. 11:11*

        …Pretty sure this isn’t how plagiarism works even in academia (worked in academia).

        Also, the faux confusion in all these scripts is way more likely to backfire than anything else. It’s passive-aggressive as heck and no one likes passive-aggressiveness, especially at work.

      4. Yorick*

        No, this is silly. This is not an academic work and plagiarism is not an issue. If you want to complain about the message, complain about the reason it’s actually questionable.

    9. Stinky Socks*

      I wouldn’t mind if more people in my locale knew not to schedule lunch meetings on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday, or steakhouse dinners on Fridays in Lent.

      But not like this. Sheesh.

      I hope this isn’t too religious-y to say here, but a while ago I heard a Catholic speaker challenge his compadres to look carefully at whether they were first Culture Warriors or Ambassadors for Christ. This prof definitely falls into the former camp. Pope Francis would not approve.

        1. quill*

          Or catered parties where there is exactly enough vegetarian option for the people who said they were vegetarians, not for the “I actually prefer mushroom pizza to pepperoni,” “I’ll try some of that” and the Surprise! This Dish Has Pork! crowds.

        2. TheRain'sSmallHands*

          I will bring this up again – working for a Fortune 100 in the 1980s diversity efforts had realized that we should no longer call the Christmas party (everyone in a big room at the convention center, show us a yea-rah-rah corporate slide show, have a band, feed us lunch, give us the afternoon off to finish Christmas shopping) a Christmas party and called it a Holiday Party – and then served chicken cordon bleu.

          We have come a long way – but that Holiday Party quickly disappeared completely due to not being able to make everyone happy – it was cheaper and easier to do the yea-rah-rah corporate thing through a brochure (it was the 80s, we used print media back then) and some VP lead meetings and not have anyone complain about the food, the band, or that it was still a little diversity blind to send everyone off to Christmas shop.

          1. Bryce*

            My friend’s wedding caterers pulled that. They specifically went for a chicken dish so I and other folks avoiding pork could eat it, then there was a slice of ham under everything for some reason that wasn’t noticed when picking the menu.

            1. pancakes*

              “Wasn’t noticed” by who? If your friend saw prosciutto or guanciale or whatever used in a chicken dish on the menu and didn’t know what that is and didn’t bother to ask or look it up, that’s on your friend, not the caterer. If the caterer was instructed to not use pork and did anyhow, that’s a rather different problem. Neither scenario is relevant to advising this student.

      1. Yorick*

        I’m sure somebody wrote an email this year letting people know how to accommodate several religions’ practices around this time (Ramadan, Passover, and Lent/Easter) that was appropriate and helpful! This was not it.

    10. Some dude*

      So obnoxious.
      I see the ramadan email as being like, hey, since most of us celebrate easter and don’t celebrate ramadan, here is a reminder that some people in our community celebrate this other holiday and to be mindful of that. There’s no need to remind people about easter because the vast majority celebrate it. It’s already a partial state holiday.

      This reminds me when I worked for an organization that held an important fundraising event on passover, because the folks in charge were clueless christians….

    11. Snuck*

      I wonder what kind of solutions an inclusion office could offer?

      Some kind of calendar that lists all the major events and expectations for most of the major religions? So that people can add them to their own calendars if they wish to, and get reminders thusly of fasts or similar? Not just Jewish, Muslim and Christian (so much discussion of those, what about Hindi, Buddhist and other lessor ones). Make it possible for staff to literally click a button in an email and have their calendar update with all those observances (make it by religion, and ‘all religions’ so they can just select the ones they want, or update for everything). Turn reminders off, don’t block out time but make it still available etc – so it’s truly a reminder function in their calendars. Include on the calendar major event days, and a few ‘fun’ cultural ones (4th May – Star Wars day) if you want (this isn’t to downplay religion, but to keep the whole thing a little more accessible for people who are a bit closed minded – it’s a way of increasing participation in a non-compulsory activity). If your state or country has a ‘disability rights’ or any other marginalised group observance day add that to the calendar too. I’m torn on “International Women’s day” and it’s (personally a bit off centre) sibling “International Men’s Day” – they both have been corrupted where I am but maybe not where you are. Change Secretary’s day to “Admin Support Day” at a minimum.

      Produce a ?monthly/quarterly? Diversity email update, with a list of important dates at the end that include major religious and cultural events, and a couple of good news stories from the workplace, and a small reminder of an initiative or similar. Time them for just before morning tea so there’s a chance they’ll be read. Sure some people will just delete them, but they could also foster some interest in local diversity issues – keep it light hearted if your workplace is a touch ‘precious’ about things, avoiding high conflict topics, and keep it related to work. Even just things like “New Health and Safety headscarves are available for staff who wish to wear them, please contact your Safety Rep for them” or “A second accessibility toilet has been added to the workshop – this toilet is for staff who need to access a different bathroom to the general ones for any reason”.

      Invite members of different cultures and religions to host an event each year (voluntary! If they wish!) – let them choose a date, and the event type, and let them lead the decision making. Ensure each group is equally represented (so no, the predominant religion doesn’t get to hoover up all the good dates and events and the pickings left to the minorities, although observance of strong local traditions can still happen as well, but should be staff driven not office driven), and consider moving from a “Christmas Party” to a New Years or other secular date party. What about a ‘Foundation of the Business Birthday Party” instead? (Too much going on at Christmas time anyway!)

      Have an online survey for ALL staff/customers/students/whomever your ‘client base’ includes to access that allows them to free form answer a few simple questions about their diversity, and free form ask for the accommodations they feel they need, AND elect whether they need to meet with a diversity representative for help. They can resubmit this form whenever they please, and it spits out to the HR rep responsible for diversity who can then ascertain the privacy etc provisions and actions required. This then allows people who change during the course of their employment/studies/etc to update/change their answers. Make it part of onboarding, and then periodically re-do. I’m not sure whether to mix it with medical… that would need a ponder, I am in Australia and the rules are probably different here. Adding in family and flexible working arrangement accommodations might work too though?

      Work on policies that develop an inclusive workplace. This includes things like when repeat/regular meetings are scheduled and training – can they be moved to various times to allow people to attend some if they can’t attend all, or ensuring that staff who identify as diverse (in religion, gender, sexuality, race, politics?, ability etc) have a one on one meeting with a qualified diversity representative (qualification includes some training, but also authority to ACT in a reasonable way to support, including negotiating reasonable accommodations).

      Have well trained, reasonable HR representatives who can advocate for diverse staff and give them the authority to enact agreements and the policies that support those authorities to ensure reasonable accommodations are met. This includes things like new staff coming in are able to negotiate extra days for religious (or cultural) observances (the HR rep can alter their hourly rate and allocate them more leave time), or agreed hours of work (to reduce conflict with religious rules). These things can be negotiated as part of the job offer with the HR representative, and a manager has to justify why such accomodations cannot be ordinarily offered for any vacancy they are filling. (For example I had a role at one point with a 5am start, I couldn’t be later no matter what due to the nature of the work involved. It would have been inappropriate in that role for an accommodation obviously of a different start time.) The diversity team should set a minimum bar for confirmation of the diversity, and only where it incurs extra business cost. Many accommodations do not incur cost so there’s no need to ‘prove’ it.

      Letting a staff member go home two hours early on a Friday to avoid sundown (I’m a bit hazy on this, my lack of Jewish traditions/rules is clear!) is not unreasonable. They can either make the time up (come in 25mins earlier each day? Work an extra hour another couple of days? Depends on local labour laws I presume), or take a 2.5% pay cut (be paid for 38hrs, not 40, record 38, get paid the usual rate, and call them a ‘38hr week’ full time). There’s more than one way to ‘help’ with the issue.

  2. Mid*

    Ugh, I’ve met more than a few professors who I could envision sending the same emails. Part of me would be very tempted to send a snarky email back, or send emails for every single holiday to the offending professor, asking why he didn’t send out a reminder email for that holiday since he cares so much about making sure all holidays are remembered, but I’m sure that neither would bode well for my career.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      I doubt OP will get anywhere actually even though Alison is no doubt right about the motive. There’s enough plausible deniability that the prof can just say something like “I realised that email was a good idea so decided to send a similar one for Easter, the first Prof said it all so I nicked his wording”…

        1. Metadata minion*

          That type of copying, especially if you’re even crediting the person who wrote the original document, is so normal as to be expected in this type of communication in academia. Plagiarism is about published works.

      1. Gatomon*

        It’s not impossible. One nasty piece of work at my alma mater was eventually fired after his blog of racist and misogynistic writing was brought to light by students, IIRC. There are more accused of racist and discriminatory actions who the students are still fighting to have fired (reason #2158902 why I don’t donate), but I’m hopeful. These types may not be dumb enough to put it in an all-department email, but it’s probably all over their Facebook or personal blog or whatever.

        1. Well...*

          He would have to have extensive, explicit, and extreme racist online content for this to work, AND the stars would have to align. Students would need to put in a ton of work to generate enough momentum and exposure through protest to get this prof fired.

          This professor’s actions are super common in academia. Most tenured profs know how to play the game well enough not to have such an explicit online presence that could potentially hurt the university’s reputation.

          1. pancakes*

            The idea that students shouldn’t pursue something unless they can be reasonably sure they will in fact achieve everything they want to is a pretty lousy lesson. It is unlikely he’ll be fired, yes — look at what’s going on with Amy Wax at Penn Law, for example — but I don’t see that as a good argument in itself to remain silent about the problem. Students there did succeed in getting her removed from teaching mandatory classes. That’s a win in itself and a big step in the right direction.

            1. Well...*

              I’m not saying do nothing. I’m saying that it’s a huge leap to think this prof has an egregious enough online presence to be forced to resign, and it minimizes just how prevalent and insidious the discrimination OP actually described is.

              1. pancakes*

                The student who wrote in is a better position to know more about that than any of us, but I’m not clear on why you’re focused on his online behavior only. His behavior on campus — including sending this email, which he doesn’t seem to have posted publicly — is just as relevant. I’m not sure what exactly you mean by “it” in “it minimizes just how prevalent and insidious” academic discrimination is, but the letter writer here seems quite thoughtful and well-spoken about what they’re seeing at school. If they give feedback to the administration similar to what they wrote here I don’t see how that minimizes anything.

    2. Well...*

      Yea, OP should speak up but literally nothing will happen to this guy. Call me a pessimist, but I doubt any good in general will come of this. At least the anonymous reporting means it’s low risk.

      1. CoveredinBees*

        If anything comes of it, regardless of how minor, it will only add to his persecution complex.

        1. quill*

          I’m pretty sure his persecution complex is self-fueling by this point, regardless of what comes out of a complaint.

      2. Pippa K*

        Maybe nothing will happen, but please object anyway, because it might provide useful support for the people who are trying to do the DEI work in this department/college. I’m a professor on my department’s DEI committee and we’ve had a couple of colleagues like this. Student or external complaints will be taken more seriously than anything else. When we were trying to convince our department chair that he really did need to take action over Senior Prof’s racist emails, it would have been really helpful to be able to point to student concerns – because SP certainly wasn’t going to be ‘silent’ (i.e., considerate) just to please the ‘PC brigade’ (he’s too old to use the word ‘woke.’)

      3. ShanShan*

        It’s not about him. It’s about the non-Christians he’s harassing. Standing up to him will make THEM feel like the university is on their side and supports them instead of standing idly by and ignoring the issue.

        What happens to him in the long run is irrelevant. Making the university’s stance clear is what’s important.

    3. High Score!*

      The professor sounds awful. I’m sorry you have to deal with that.
      About the note, is it possible that he just filled in an insert holiday here letter? It sounds like good wording for all holidays. And definitely point out the exclusion of your holidays.
      I work for multinational company, diversity is a must. Within our groups we always learn a little about each other’s holidays, not only so we know people’s schedules but so that we can wish them a happy whatever in the correct way. That email kind of sounds like our onboarding diversity training.

      1. pancakes*

        If your company’s diversity training emails are as spurious and as pointedly targeted at minorities and their allies as this guy’s campus-wide emails that is a real problem. That’s not ok.

    4. Rock Prof*

      I work with a few of these professors, too.
      I had one colleague (staff, not faculty though) write a rant to the entire campus email list after an announcement that a set of bathrooms had been made gender neutral. It was super gross, and so many people complained. The person ended up on our university’s equivalent of a pip. Had they been faculty, I don’t know if they would have done as much, though.

    5. SnappinTerrapin*

      More to the point: Why didn’t the first faculty member, who is supposed to be dedicated to diversity, inclusion and “tolerance,” send similar emails for holidays of other faith traditions, including the one deemed to be “predominant”?

      The second professor may be an ass with an axe to grind, but he has a point, which LW and many commentors are proving true: There are a lot of people who have double standards about tolerance and inclusion. If the original phrasing of the email about Ramadan was appropriate (it was!), then repeating that phrasing with regard to Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, or any other faith is appropriate, and even moreso in an institution that is supposed to founded on mutual respect for differing perspectives.

      I don’t make a display of my faith, and privately I look askance at those who do, even if they claim the same faith I adhere to. But both privately and publicly, I respect others’ right to believe and practice whatever faith they choose, in the way they choose. Even if, in the privacy of my own head, I wonder about their sincerity. It’s not my place to judge their motivation. Even asses have the right to exercise their freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of publication, regardless of my opinion about them or their motives or the ideas they express.

      1. Nameless in Customer Service*

        If the original phrasing of the email about Ramadan was appropriate (it was!), then repeating that phrasing with regard to Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, or any other faith is appropriate, and even moreso in an institution that is supposed to founded on mutual respect for differing perspectives.

        But the holidays are not the same. The notice about Ramadan wasn’t “hey, Ramadan is being celebrated” but “hey, as part of Ramadan, some students may be fasting, and may need accommodations because they are fasting.” That doesn’t map precisely to other religious observances (the closest might be Passover but the dietary rules and duration are both different), so how could the same notice cover both holidays, let alone before we introduce the majority holiday of Easter?

        As for “I don’t make a display of my faith, and privately I look askance at those who do, even if they claim the same faith I adhere to. ”

        Muslims aren’t fasting at you, you know.

        1. SnappinTerrapin*

          Yes, I know.

          That’s part of my point. I was referring to people who claim to be Christians, but who fail to follow His teachings. Most of my Muslim friends avoid making a show of fasting. It is a personal spiritual experience for them. I’m trying to resist the temptation to judge second professor’s adherence to the faith he asserts.

          I apologize if that phrasing misled you.

          My main point, though, is that no matter what I think about that professor’s faith or his politics, it is embarrassing to see how eager so many people are to prove his point: Diversity, tolerance and inclusion are principles more honored in the breach than the observance. People are climbing on soapboxes to proclaim it a “good” thing to silence someone for calling out their hypocrisy. After they pull the log out of their own eyes, maybe they can see clearly enough to help the professor get the mote of sawdust out of his. Assuming they really want to be helpful, that is.

          1. pancakes*

            How exactly is he being silenced? The guy “has been known to use the department-wide listservs to publicly push back against efforts on diversity and inclusivity” on other occasions besides this latest one, which the letter writer provided an example of. There is nothing in the advice Alison gave or, as far I’ve seen, among the commenters who support the student giving feedback, about trying to silence the professor. Do you think that if the school were to tell him to stop using department-wide listserv posts and emails to repeatedly try to undermine minorities and diversity initiatives that would be a form of silencing him? I don’t know how else to make sense of what you’re saying, but that doesn’t make any sense. Having a tenured position doesn’t entitle him to treat the entire campus as an endlessly captive audience for whatever he wants to say whenever he wants to say it.

            1. SnappinTerrapin*

              Another case of my apparent lack of precision. He has not been silenced.

              But more than a few commenters have suggested he ought to be, by saying he should be fired. And I do criticize the hypocrisy of those who say that would be a good thing.

              If the college doesn’t want anyone to use the campus-wide listserv, without discriminating on the basis of favoring or disfavoring the viewpoint being expressed, that’s fine. And it doesn’t matter whether I sympathize with the viewpoint or not.

              As Nameless correctly pointed out, there are some who call themselves Christian who claim to be persecuted when they are treated the same as everyone else. They aren’t the only people guilty of feeling persecuted when they endure the agony of hearing an opinion they dislike.

              Tolerance is a lot easier for humans to preach than to practice. We are adept at rationalizing excuses for not tolerating someone we disagree with, as well as rationalizing excuses to practice other principles we claim to believe in. That flaw is deeply ingrained in the human race. It takes a lot of conscious effort on the part of any individual, including myself, to overcome this tendency.

              1. ceiswyn*

                So what consequences do you think there should be to someone harming others with their intolerance?

              2. pancakes*

                If that’s your standard, everyone who has ever lost or been threatened with the loss of their teaching position for conflict-seeking behavior, misuse of school communications channels, or hostility to minorities has been “silenced.” I simply do not agree. People who behave that way are not entitled to keep their jobs, particularly people who work directly with students. Those are not things anyone should expect to endure at work or school in the name of “tolerance,” either. This professor has done all three and any one on its own is worthy of both student feedback and disclipinary measures.

  3. Bazza7*

    #4 Interview agenda, does he actually mean the interview questions?, that’s the way I’m reading it. If I’m right, nice try!
    But if he just means how many questions and timeframe for the I interview, I’ll give him a pass. He may have never been to an interview for work. Does he almost thinks it’s an extension of his course where you do a practical placement and would be told what to expect.

    1. Bazza7*

      Forgot to mention, I have previously worked in the public government sector and been given the interview questions 5 minutes before, which allows to to write words below the questions which you expand upon during the interview.

      1. Lexi Lynn*

        If you are hiring students and have the yime, it would be a kindness to share some information on how interviews typically go. As someone who grew up very lower middle class, how to conduct yourself during an interview was not discussed at home or school. On the other hand, I did learn a bit about how hair dressers are educated because that was assumed to be the career trajectory for most girls.

        1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

          This. Interviews favor the privileged and I don’t scoff at anything that would level the playing field a bit.

        2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          I have always liked giving the questions, a brief outline of the interview, and the names and titles of the interviewers (If I have all of them) a day in advance when the interview reminder is sent. It seems to lead to people being much more relaxed.

        3. Smithy*

          In a flip of that, to my ear this sounds like someone who has parents/older family members in a more corporate space and is more used to hearing jargon like “preparing a briefing for a my boss/the board/etc” – but hasn’t completely integrated that jargon into their own vocabulary. And if anything, being in school is still a time where trying to integrate new vocabulary – can still be emphasized over speaking plainly.

          All that to say, this strikes me as someone asking for insight into how the interview would go, but instead of feeling comfortable asking that felt like asking for the “brief of the interview agenda” sounded fancier or more professional.

        4. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

          Especially for an intern, “we’ll ask about some of the experiences on your resume, discuss the job, and save time for your questions as well” actually *would* be helpful for many candidates.

      2. Akili*

        I also work for (non-US) government and have gotten questions anywhere from 10 minutes before to 24 hours before. Obviously I’ve greatly appreciated the 24 hours before ones and wish all interviews were like that because it allows me time to truly gather my thoughts.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          The agency that I work for gives the questions 30 minutes prior to the start of the interview, which I think is a pretty good balance between time look the questions over and not enough time to worry yourself into a tizzy.

          1. pancakes*

            For someone with a 5 or 10 minute commute to the interview location and/or the ability to read their emails while they’re on the way, perhaps. Other people are likely going to be on their way at that point, and unable to read emails if they’re driving. In any case, the point of providing questions in advance is to level the playing field a bit, not to try to manage candidates’ anxiety, so I don’t think trying to discouraging worriers should factor into the time frame.

    2. AnotherLibrarian*

      Yeah, I’ve been asked similar things by students, so when I send an invite to interview I include the same info for everyone- “I’ll be asking you 7 questions during the interview, including one about availability. After that you’ll have time to ask me any questions you have. The hours per week are flexible, but can’t be less than X. The pay per hour is Y. Let me know if you have any questions for me before the interview.”

      Personally, I try to limit student contact prior to interviews, because I want to give all of them the same info and I expect them all to be new to the workplace and have no idea what an interview is like. By keeping it a little formal, I figure I’m giving them some expectation of what they’ll get outside school.

    3. Rey*

      Asking for the interview questions prior to the interview is a legitimate accommodation to request from potential employers. If this person did actually mean that, it doesn’t mean that he was “trying” anything.

      1. Artemesia*

        I don’t get that. Why is it something interviewees should expect? I agree that it is a kindness to give a general overview because some candidates will not be from backgrounds where they have had good advice about all this. So something generic to all of them about the general types of questions is a leveler. But to get the list of questions? Why?

        I remember a phone screen where I asked someone who I was considering to teach courses in leadership what some of the key people people and theories in the field he would want students to be familiar with. He literally answered ‘I didn’t realize this would be a test, so I didn’t prepare for this.’ If he had had the question ahead he would have been able to respond intelligently. Then I would not have realized that he was not much of an expert in the field and pretty much bereft of ideas. In this role, we needed someone who could easily discuss these matters and construct strong courses. Anyone doing this for a living should have been able to talk endless about this. And even someone not expert should have been able to tap dance. This told me he was not suitable to advance to an invitation to interview in person.

        1. Harper the Other One*

          For people who are neurodivergent, it can be difficult to process a question on the fly, even if you are a subject matter expert. My 11-year-old daughter is a good example of this; she is slow to process verbal information so when you ask her a question, the first thing she’s likely to say is “what?” because her brain processes that you said something before it processes the content. But once she’s done so, she’s extremely smart and has a pretty astounding wealth of knowledge for her age! If you’re looking for a position where thinking on the fly is necessary, it can make sense to test that at the interview, but many roles don’t actually require that, and people get screened out unnecessarily.

          The best interviews I’ve ever participated in included a combination of pre-provided questions and improvised questions that naturally flowed from my answers. I think that setup would also work well for my daughter as an adult, because once she’s into the flow of discussing a particular topic, her brain is prepped for the kinds of questions that might pop up and she answers more quickly and with more fluency.

        2. BeckyinDuluth*

          Alison has talked about why people should consider providing interview questions (or at least topics) in advance. I have done some more looking into this, and it’s a recommendation to support equity and diversity in hiring, not just for folks from backgrounds that might not know what to expect, but also from a disability lens.

          I would suggest that the questions could be harder, and go more in depth, if you provide them in advance. It shouldn’t be an answer you can Google for a technical interview question. Behavioral interview techniques or demonstrations of actual work still are better options.

          This is the same conversation I have had in my department, and what I told the hiring manager there is that it’s like when we talk to faculty (I’m in higher ed); your assessment should be such that cheating isn’t an easy or good option.

        3. Dr. Rebecca*

          Oh, honestly, I’ve interviewed with *Harvard* and they gave me the questions in advance, can we not act like this is a huge “gotcha”??

        4. Mockingjay*

          I think it depends on the role. For student or entry-level jobs, a brief overview such as suggested by @Another Librarian is perfectly suitable. Depending on skills required maybe add one question or topic.

          For mid and senior roles, I’d love an indication of the interview process itself, since it’s usually several steps: phone screen, interview with Hiring Mgr, interview with team, etc.; timeline (decision will be made only after all candidate interviews are completed, or you should hear from us within 30 days). If there are discriminating factors – specialized skill or industry knowledge – then I recommend giving applicants one or two questions about those things to prepare a detailed response.

          Interviews these days seem to have a combative perception. While the process will never be stress-free, there’s no reason to not allow candidates to prepare in some fashion. Those that don’t – that tells you something right there. Those that do – you’ll likely have a much more insightful conversation about their qualifications and how those match your company need.

          1. Jaid*

            BBC Business Daily podcast from 04/18/2022 talked about eliminating interviews altogether…

            “We’re looking at the future of the job interview in a world forever changed by the pandemic. Elizabeth Hotson asks whether video conferencing software will hasten the demise of the traditional face to face grilling. And we also find out how virtual reality and artificial intelligence can help level the playing field for candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds. Over a long and distinguished career in business, Heather McGregor, Executive Dean of Edinburgh Business School, has been on both sides of the desk – as interviewer and interviewee and she gives her take on how we’ll get jobs in the future. RADA alumna and confidence coach and trainer, Imogen Butler-Cole tells us how to put our best foot forward – over video conferencing. Christophe Mallet, founder and CEO of immersive soft skills simulator, Body Swaps, explains how technology can provide invaluable interview training to inexperienced candidates. Plus, Michael Platt, a marketing professor and neuroscientist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania explains why the interview could soon be redundant in some industries.”

        5. As per Elaine*

          If you’re conversant in the field you’re hiring for, generally a few follow-up questions are sufficient to be able to determine whether someone really knows what they’re talking about or has memorized a paragraph of talking points.

          Personally, I would argue that if the candidate can learn the relevant material with a day or two’s notice well enough that a knowledgeable interviewer can’t tell the difference, on the range of topics that a good interview covers, for many jobs that’s the skill that’s actually needed on the job. A teacher does indeed need to be knowledgeable on a range of topics, but that’s what preparing one’s lectures is for. I don’t necessarily expect that someone can talk off-the-cuff on material that would be covered in week 15, even if they’re familiar with the field.

          And certainly in my job, while a certain baseline of knowledge is required, the ability to become an expert in something on short notice is at least as useful as already being an expert in a handful of relevant areas.

          (Which is not to say that you should’ve hired this guy; I would probably have bristled at his attitude, too. But if he had performed well with advance notice, I would not necessarily have considered that “faking.”)

        6. Nanani*

          Because job interviews are not, in fact, tests.
          If a list of questions exists (which varies by field and even employer) there is no harm in having them be known in advance.Provided they are available to everyone and not just the gumptioneers who asked, obviously.

          Also “I didn’t realize this would be test” sounds like a joke to dispell nerves to me?

          1. Mrs. Pommeroy*

            Yes to all of this!

            An interviewee can come from a social/cultural background that doesn’t teach them what to reasonably expect in an interview, oe they might be neurodivergent, or maybe both or something else. And by not providing (at least) the (types) questions beforehand, all you are doing is test their social/cultural background, neurotypicality (is this a word? ), etc. but usually Not how well they would fit the job

        1. Allegra*

          People don’t need to preemptively out their medical conditions when they ask for something. Especially in an interview, when you don’t want the interviewer’s assumptions about accommodations or disabilities to color the whole process. It’s reasonable to ask “could I have an overview of the topics beforehand,” and if you get pushback, to THEN decide if you want to go on with, “actually I need this as an accommodation” and everything that then ensues–which unfortunately for a lot of people I know has been the employer trying to probe exactly what your issue is and can they legally discriminate against it or not.

          1. ecnaseener*

            He doesn’t need to specify the condition, but when asking for something that would be an advantage for anybody, you kinda do need to clarify why you’re asking if you don’t want it to look exactly like it looks here.

            1. Umpire*

              What does it “look like”? It’s a fair question, coming from anyone. You’re not hosting an exam. This is a two way interview. Consider giving all applicants the questions without them having to ask since you see that it would be helpful.

              1. pancakes*

                Surely it would look more like “Would it be possible to obtain the interview questions in advance” than “Would it be possible to obtain a brief of the interview agenda.” The employer didn’t know what the latter meant, because as Alison explained, that’s not really a thing.

                1. Allegra*

                  Maybe it’s just me but I don’t find the request that incomprehensible? I would briefly describe how I expect we’d use the time, like the LW did. The wording isn’t totally clear, sure, but it could be a language fluency issue. English syntax and adjective vs. noun rules aren’t always intuitive. They could be an international student, or it could be their first job interview and they don’t know what to expect at all… I’m surprised there’s such an uncharitable interpretation of this request in the comments section.

                2. pancakes*

                  The letter writer didn’t quite know what to make of it and Alison wasn’t sure precisely what he meant either. If the student did indeed want the questions in advance rather than the agenda he asked for, this wasn’t a good way to ask for them. That’s true whether he’s fluent in English or not. It wouldn’t be charitable to pretend that asking for an agenda and asking for interview questions in advance are synonymous and interchangeable phrases.

    4. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      What would actually be wrong with knowing the interview questions in advance? I’d love to normalize not making people think on their feet unless thinking on their feet is part of the job. Interviews should be designed as much as possible to get the best candidate, not the most glib. I mean, all the “tell me a time when…” type questions would get better answers if people knew them in advance.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        Because if you really know what you’re doing, thinking on your feet shouldn’t be that difficult. It’s a job interview–if the interviewer is at all competent it won’t be an open-ended question, it will be about something related to the job.

        I’m inherently not very good at thinking on my feet but if I were interviewing for another job similar to the one I have now, I could definitely ad lib an answer simply because I know what I’m doing and can extrapolate it to how it might work if the potential new job was a little different. I shouldn’t need to know in advance than they’re going to ask me what I would do if somebody asks for information on [wallpaper designers in the 1920s or whatever] and I can’t think of any sources off the top of my head, because getting asked stuff like that and figuring out which collections [archives] might have information in them is a routine and inherent part of the job, and if I can’t come up with an answer I’m not a great candidate.

        1. Smithy*

          This may be very sector based….but as someone who’s been in a relatively narrow field for over 10 years, interview questions I’ve had from job to job are not all that cohesive. And that’s just interview questions for private institutional fundraising jobs from humanitarian nonprofits. Questions can weigh more on the proposal development side, the relationship management side, the database side, the programmatic side, the new business development, etc etc.

          And questions around overcoming challenges, greatest achievements, trends I’m seeing, – if I don’t know what combo of those questions are going to be asked, having a diverse range of those answers isn’t always a given. Having a bit more time to reflect means that instead of most answers being clustered around one donor or one time period, a more diverse range of my work experience can be covered.

          That being said – I do not need more than 24/48 hours to do this. This isn’t studying for a test, but it is giving myself more than thirty seconds to remember something cool I did three years ago and linking that to work I I did six and eighteen months ago.

        2. Just Your Everyday Crone*

          Well, I’ve been doing what I do for 22 years and I’m good at it, but I’m also ND. I can speak to the contents of what I do, but if asked “tell me a time when…”, that doesn’t have to do with what the subsection c iii test is, I can’t always remember stuff like that on the spot. I think it should be pretty easy to tell the people who have memorized or are faking. Some people are slow processors and it has nothing to do with their knowledge of the area.

        3. Lydia*

          Most interviews are a combination of both, so why not provide an overview? Most good interviewers will use a set of pre-selected questions and fill in gaps with follow up questions that require more spontaneous answers.

        4. JB (not in Houston)*

          Eh, I know what I’m doing in my job, and if I were interviewing for a similar job, I’d still struggle with thinking on my feet. When I’m asked questions, my mind tends to go blank. But I am good at my job, and I’d be good at a similar job elsewhere.

          I’m not saying that interviewers must provide questions ahead of time. I’m just saying that there’s no black and white rule that someone is “not a great candidate” because they can’t quickly come up with an answer to something.

          1. Amber T*

            I’m getting slightly off tangent here, but I remember someone posting a comedy video of someone (might have been Billy Eichner?) running up to people on the street and saying he’d give them a dollar if they could name the last book they read, all while shoving a microphone and camera in their faces. I’m sure part of this was editing magic, but no one could name a single book. A lot of the comments were “oh, Americans/youth/insert group here don’t read anymore!” I’m an avid reader, I love reading, and if we were having a regular conversation, I could talk at length about the books I’ve read, am currently reading, and want to read. But you know what? If you were to run up to me unexpectedly and shove a microphone and camera in my face and ask me what I’m reading, I don’t think I’d remember a single book I’ve ever read.

            Interviews are weird, right? Yeah, an employer and a candidate agreed on a time and place to interview for a job, but there’s still a lot of unexpected stuff. Of course a good candidate will be prepared, but assuming the job isn’t like an emergency room or literally putting out fires, getting tripped up on a question or asking for clarification or being unable to think of an example of something isn’t indicative of potentially being bad a job.

        5. Nina*

          Because if you really know what you’re doing, thinking on your feet shouldn’t be that difficult.

          I work in an industry where screwing up kills people extremely dead extremely fast. Thinking on your feet is fine. Knowing when to say ‘I’ll get back to you in five minutes so you’re not getting my kneejerk response’ is better. 90% of my work interactions are in writing anyway.

          If I was interviewing an assistant, I would be deliberately giving them, say, 80% of the questions a day in advance, 10% of the questions two hours in advance, and the final 10% of the questions with no preparation, because that’s a decent reflection of real life in this job. If I worked in an emergency room, sure, give them all the questions on the spot. If I worked at a university in a teaching position, give them all the questions multiple days in advance.

    5. Amber T*

      I forget the language the candidate used (it wasn’t “interview agenda”), but before coming in, they asked to know who they would be meeting with (names and roles). To be clear, this was a 3-4 hour process where the candidate met had 5-6 meetings with different people at the org and not an entry level position with a 45 min interview, but I don’t think the overall request is weird or unwarranted.

      Honestly, if it’s someone who is new to the work force, it sounds like they’re just parroting what a parent or another adult with more experience told them to say (“gumption!”). I really wish people would stop assuming interviewees (especially new to the work force interviewees) were trying to take advantage of something (especially where the process is heavily in favor of the employer anyway).

    6. Loz*

      Why not? If you’re truly interested in the candidate’s answers then you’ll get a better, more considered answer if you’ve asked in advance. Hell, even get them to email the answers so you can use the interview time to properly discuss and go on deep dives where it’s important.
      Anything else is just either going for the “gotcha” which achieves nothing, or just “this is how it’s always been done”.
      If you need to evaluate thinking on their feet then fine, but don’t use it to get valuable yet mundane information.
      It’s not conventional but it makes a ton more sense than playing stupid cat & mouse power play games.

    7. Springtime*

      I’m not familiar with the term “interview agenda,” but I’ve definitely been on interviews that were multi-parters, including lunch, meet-and-greets, a presentation given by me, etc., in addition to a more traditional interview meeting. One of these was for an entry-level position, and one for my next position up from entry-level. I think it isn’t that uncommon in academia and academia-adjacent institutions. So I’m wondering whether the student has just gotten some advice that they’re just not sure how or where to apply.

    8. JollyAnne*

      Maybe he meant whether there would be any skills tests or anything like that? One time, back when I had zero work experience, I turned up for an interview in my Best Interview Clothes and found out we had to do trust exercises. I was a chubby girl and kind of clumsy, if I had a head up about the trust falls I would have worn trousers and flats.

    9. Nanani*

      This was my thought too.
      He was asking what will be on the test, not realizing that a job interview is a two way conversation and not a pass-fail test to study for.
      That’s okay! First interview for a student applying for intern job is a normal place to have weird misconceptions dispelled!

    10. Ana Gram*

      I don’t think it’s unreasonable in an internship setting. After all, internships are typically introductions to the workforce and interns should be taught/mentored about job skills, office norms, etc. How to interview is a pretty basic job skill so it would be useful to be able to practice. My employer doesn’t give out questions ahead of time but it’s not a totally insane request given the context.

    11. Junior Assistant Peon*

      As someone who’s job-hunted while employed, I really wish companies would give me a clearer idea of how much time to expect the interview to take. Should I expect to be back at work in a little over an hour, or should I plan for the interview to take the rest of the day? I’ve learned to never have any meetings or appointments planned after an interview.

    12. Umpire*

      What do you mean, “nice try”? Interviewers should be providing questions beforehand. Alison has even said so. This isn’t an exam. You aren’t an invigilator. If that’s how someone in hiring approaches an interview, then they’re possibly already getting in their own way in how they favour interviewees.

    13. Blonde Spiders*

      I think there may be another reason. I’m a recent business school graduate (2019,) and one thing I remember learning in class was not to send meeting requests without an agenda, and conversely, to not accept meetings unless an agenda is provided. Why this advice was given to *students* I’ll never know, but that could be playing a part.

  4. No name for this post*

    So I’m an observant Muslim and neither myself nor any of my observant family/friends would ever expect people to stop eating or drinking in front of us. Really we don’t. We prefer if people just act normal and go about their business. I would side-eye someone who asked or expected this. It makes us look weird and has the opposite affect that is intended because it kind of isolates us or makes us stand out. I’m not talking about people trying to get us to eat or rubbing it in. Just about those not fasting to change their own routine for us. If I worked somewhere that sent out an email like this, presumably written by someone not of my faith I would be perturbed. My colleagues of other faiths who fast sometimes are the same. I’m not being facetious when I say I don’t know a single person in my community who would write an email like this. We don’t want to be treated differently or othered and that part of the email made me feel uncomfortable.

    1. Shakti*

      Agreed! When I fast I really would prefer to have everyone do their own thing they’d normally do and not call a ton of attention to it! It makes it really uncomfortable when people make a big deal out of it. The most helpful thing people can do to include people is behave normally around me when I’m fasting

    2. Another Muslim Reader*


      Please don’t ask people to change their meal routine to “accommodate” us. Most of us (the reasonable ones, that is, there are unreasonable people in every group) have no problem with others eating and drinking around us.

    3. Ridiculous Penguin*

      At the university where I work, Muslim students are given access to a special space during lunch hours where they can relax without being around people who are eating and drinking. The information about this — and other ways to accommodate students — was sent to faculty and staff.

      I usually bring treats for my students on the last day of class, but that’s on 4/28, which is still during Ramadan. I informed my class that there would be no eating during class to be respectful of classmates who were observing Ramadan (I would have all treats individually packaged to take home), and my Muslim students were quite appreciative.

      All of which is to say that different people have different takes on these sort of things.

      1. Think Again*

        Even those of other religions? Jewish students? Atheists? And what about other religions, or are you selective in this? No meat eaten during class on Fridays? No animal products at all eaten during class? Their religion, their observances – no one else should ever be required to follow them. That’s incredibly offensive to… well everyone.

        1. Raboot*

          As a Jew and an atheistz I find it incredibly not offensive to be given a cupcake to take home instead of eating it in class.

        2. Well...*

          Ah, the slippery slope argument. Creating an environment friendly to people participating in a custom practice by a huge portion of the world’s population and who are locally discriminated against is not the same as forcing everyone to observe every religious practice.

          Also not bringing snacks in on the last day isn’t offensive to me, so… It’s not offensive to everyone. Quite the reach.

          1. Asenath*

            From my own experiences with Muslim friends and co-workers, and from comments from observant Muslims in this column, I think it’s far from fair to claim that the suggested procedures are necessary to be friendly to Muslims. They’re probably well-meaning, which is a different thing.

        3. BRR*

          This is the same “argument” the professor in lw#1 is using. It’s not offensive to have to wait an hour to eat a cupcake.

        4. Curious*

          I guess that I see accommodating people’s needs as the polite thing to do. So, I would avoid scheduling a quarterly lunch event during Ramadan if there was an observant Muslim in the group. Good Friday would be a day to avoid if it is inconvenient for Christians. Yes, there may be a situation where the array of observances yields no reasonable solution set, but that possibility does not justify failing to try.

          1. JamminOnMyPlanner*

            I’m a bit torn on this one because I always allowed students to eat in class when I was teaching. The university where I worked had a lot of students who were working full-time in addition taking classes full-time. They often didn’t have time for regular meals, so if they were able to eat without being disruptive or whatever, I let them. I wouldn’t feel right telling them they’re no longer allowed to eat during Ramadan.

            On the other hand, that’s different from providing treats and asking the students to wait until after class to eat them.

            1. Anoni-Mouse*

              Allowing a few students to eat food they themselves brought in near some fasting classmates is different from brining in and distributing food to all students as part of a celebration when you know the fasting students will be excluded.

        5. Littorally*

          Any moment you are not eating today, you are being forced to practice Ramadan. Get chomping!

        6. Just Your Everyday Crone*

          Eating in front of people who aren’t eating is widely considered rude, so I don’t know why it becomes not-rude because the people not eating are part of a religious minority.

          1. Dinwar*

            Depends on culture. It’s extremely common in my office, since our schedules are so varied. Quite frankly we probably wouldn’t notice someone fasting–we’d all assume they ate earlier or later, like they did last week and the week before.

            That said, certain religious practices do place a burden on the believer, even if that burden is just being seen as a believer. It is reasonable to expect them to bear the lion’s share of this burden. This means Muslims have to expect to see people eating around them during Ramadan, those observing Lent need to expect to see folks eating meat on Fridays, and the like. I mean, yeah, if you can adjust a meeting to not be at a lunchtime when there’s a Muslim member of the team and it’s Ramadan, sure, that’s reasonable! But it’s not reasonable to expect folks in the office to not eat their routine lunches because the Muslim population is engaging in a religious observance.

            1. Phony Genius*

              This is where religious practices can collide. Many Jewish people follow the teachings of Hillel the Elder who said “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow” (a variant of the Golden Rule). This means that if you think eating in front of someone who is fasting is rude, then you shouldn’t do it. How the other person actually feels is not part of this equation. It makes for an interesting culture clash.

            2. doreen*

              Muslims need to expect to see people eating during Ramadan, people who abstain from meat on Fridays need to expect to see others eating meet on Fridays , etc and no one should be expected to know of every religious practice that anyone one might follow. But I do think that people should probably be aware enough of common practices so that they don’t schedule a lunch meeting serving meat-filled sandwiches on a Friday that falls during Lent and Ramadan and Passover

              1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

                If you are fasting – whether its for religious reasons or because you are doing a fasting diet or fasting for medical reasons – you are going to have to put up with the days when someone brings treats into the office. Heck, diabetics and those with celiac are putting up with Janet who brings in Krispy Kreme every Thursday with “oh, just one won’t hurt.” Unless you are going to ban food from the office – or work from home by yourself – there is always going to be someone eating something that someone else can’t eat. Its nice when offering food to offer options, but it isn’t required to source an extra set egg free cupcakes because Ben has an egg allergy – and if its official food there should always be options (and having the company picnic over Ramadan would be rude).

                1. Mockingdragon*

                  Two things can be true at the same time. People who are fasting should be prepared to enter a world where others are not, AND people who know that others will be fasting can be kind about not scheduling lunch meetings and otherwise making it more awkward than it needs to be.

                2. pancakes*

                  I haven’t seen a single person suggest that that’s required or necessary, or that people who are fasting should never have to see people who aren’t eat in their presence. There are nonetheless a number of commenters who seem to think it’s important to speak as if someone influential did say precisely that. It’s a little weird!

            3. UKDancer*

              Same. We all have lunch at different times in my office depending on the meetings we’re attending and the plans. Sometimes a couple of people eat together but by and large having lunch in the office isn’t a social meal. It’s a thing people do on their own.

              We try in my company not to have lunchtime events with catered lunch during Ramadan as a consideration but that’s different from having your own lunch in the office setting.

        7. Dinwar*

          I’m the contrarian here: I think you bring up a good point. Religious accommodations are important, that’s a given, but how do you do it? On the one hand, reasonable accommodations are both morally proper and legally required; on the other hand, no religion has the right to dictate the actions of anyone outside that religion. This creates a certain tension, and opportunities for conflict in any organization.

          Acknowledging that a group of students/staff is going through a difficult observance is reasonable. Not putting them in a situation where they stand out–especially in an environment that’s already somewhat hostile–is reasonable. I would say that expecting students not in that religion to alter their eating habits is not. A brief email recognizing the holy day is reasonable, but how many do you need to acknowledge? There are a fair number of religions, after all.

          There’s also a question of what it’s reasonable to expect people to know. To be blunt we’ve been at war with Muslim countries for decades (I’m not saying they represent Islam, I’m just saying they claim to); it’s reasonable to expect folks to have some basic understanding of the religion. Similarly it’s reasonable to expect folks to know a little about Judaism. It’s not, however, reasonable to expect my very Christian boss in the Deep South to have much understanding of modern Paganism, including holy days and common observances. I doubt it has ever come up in their lives. This should affect how we interpret the actions of our bosses: Don’t attribute to malice what can be explained by ignorance. It also places a greater burden on those in minority religions–they either need to step up and ask for accommodations (which can be difficult and even dangerous), or they need to acknowledge that they don’t get accommodations for their religion.

          I’ve always found it somewhat annoying that diversity efforts seem dominated by the same three religions–Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. I get why. It’s better than the active hostility towards other religions that used to dominate our culture, and it’s easier to sell inclusion when you can point to large numbers of people being included. On the other hand, those who practice religions not included in such efforts can reasonably feel slighted. I’m not saying this university is doing that; I’ve seen it happen with a few companies, including the one I work for. The message I got was “We’re incredibly inclusive and welcome everyone who worships the God of Abraham.” It doesn’t exactly encourage folks to step forward.

        8. socks*

          It’s not about making everyone “observe” Ramadan, it’s about not waving food around in front of people who are hungry and can’t eat. I’m not saying that that’s the right thing to do (and as we can see in this thread, Muslims differ in their opinions on that), but it’s a very mild concession meant to make fasting students’ lives a little easier.

          1. Dinwar*

            That’s the thing–is it mild? When I was a student I often only had 30 minutes to eat lunch, and that was all I got to eat before 6 pm (breakfast was a luxury). Telling me that eating my lunch was rude because others couldn’t is itself rude, since I was already doing the absolute minimum in terms of eating. Then you have medical considerations to take into account, and other cultures/religious practices. This isn’t an easy question, and there are a lot of potential conflicts that could arise that need to be taken into account.

            Again, I’m in favor of reasonable accommodations–moving meetings around, not offering snacks or making sure the snacks are acceptable, that sort of thing–but expecting other people to not eat because your religion forbids it isn’t reasonable. Describing people going about their lives in a normal way as “waving food around in front of people who are hungry” isn’t reasonable either. Part–an admittedly small part–of the religious observance of fasting is seeing others not doing it; it builds in-group bonds and re-enforces one’s dedication to one’s religion, among other things. To be clear, we’re talking about a normal lunch routine here, not people deliberately trying to annoy the person fasting. That’s obviously a whole separate issue.

            As I said above, I think it’s reasonable to expect the person performing the religious observance to bear most of the burden of it. They can reasonably expect non-believers to not observe their religious ceremonies (otherwise they’d be believers), and thus can reasonably expect to encounter things that make their observances harder. That’s just part of it.

            1. socks*

              OK, but this particular subthread is about one (1) free snack in one (1) class period. Like I said, I don’t necessarily agree this is the right choice, but no one is banning students from eating all day.

              1. This Old House*

                I think what most people (myself included) objected to is the part where “I informed my class that there would be *no eating* during class to be respectful of classmates who were observing Ramadan. . . ” If they just meant “no eating of these particular treats I provided,” that’s one thing, but I don’t think that’s the most obvious reading.

                1. JamminOnMyPlanner*

                  Yes, when I was teaching at the university, I always allowed students to eat during class. They were often working full-time and going to school full-time and didn’t always have time for regular meals.

                  I’d never say they weren’t allowed to eat because it’s Ramadan. But I do understand her saying not to eat *those specific treats* in class. But forbidding eating altogether rubs me the wrong way!

                2. Irish Teacher.*

                  I may be reading this in light of my own situation but as a secondary school teacher, normally eating in class is not allowed. Exceptions tend to be made for snacks provided by teachers in situations like the one mentioned, so I assumed it was a case of “I informed students that I wouldn’t give an exception to the school rules in this situation,” which makes sense. Eating in class is different from eating at lunch, I think. My students have a break at 10:15 and lunch at 1:05. If I give treats in class, and I do, it is additional to this. Asking them not to eat them in class would simply be asking them to keep them to 10:15 (if I gave them in the morning), 1:05 (if I gave them between break and lunch) or 3:45 (if I gave them after lunch).

                  I realise universities are different as adults can be expected to make their own decisions about when they eat (and should have enough maturity not to leave wrappers around the classroom or disrupt class by passing sweets around and so on) and the timetable isn’t always as clear so they might not have a specific lunchtime, but still if all the lecturer is asking them to do is to wait until the lecture is over before eating, that doesn’t seem like that much to ask. Even if it does mean no eating, I think most people can go through one lecture, which I assume is about an hour long? without eating anything. And as it is a university and they are adults, they can probably leave the room if they genuinely need to eat during that hour or however long it is.

                3. New Jack Karyn*

                  I think they did mean ‘of the treats provided’, because of the following line about said treats being individually wrapped to take home.

              2. Dinwar*

                I’m thinking more broadly about the question of how to reconcile the inevitable conflicts that arise in a society that values tolerance and inclusion, of which this is one example. Ultimately it’s up to the professor; they can refuse to allow eating for whatever reason they want, and for my part I think “No eating in class” is a good default. Even Ramadan is only one example of the potential conflicts that could arise–as others have pointed out, there’s Lent, Passover, and other religious observances that can make practitioners of a religion uncomfortable in a workplace. I pointed out another earlier: The holy days of my religion are completely ignored, which serves as further evidence for many that the religion isn’t welcome. But since we’re a pretty small minority, and few are open about it, you can’t really blame anyone. You can’t expect folks to accommodate you if you don’t speak up, but if you do speak up you could be putting yourself at risk.

                Conflicts between benevolent intentions are inevitable, and it behooves those of us in managerial or executive positions to think through how we’ll handle these sorts of things before they arise. That way we’re not scrambling and making up rules as we go. The solution in this case is easy–“I’m the professor, I get to set the rules in my class.” Arbitrary, perhaps, but ultimately it’s the professor’s choice. As an example of a broader issue, though, the question is far more powerful.

            2. pancakes*

              “Telling me that eating my lunch was rude because others couldn’t is itself rude” — hang on, before reading any further I want to ask whether that actually happened? I haven’t seen a single person here suggest that it should, either. Providing a space for students who are fasting to congregate isn’t at all the same as telling students who aren’t that they’re being rude.

              1. JamminOnMyPlanner*

                Above, Just Your Everyday Crone says, “Eating in front of people who aren’t eating is widely considered rude, so I don’t know why it becomes not-rude because the people not eating are part of a religious minority.”

                I personally disagree. I have blood sugar issues and I need to eat at the same time every day. I don’t think it’s rude to eat lunch at lunch time in front of someone observing Ramadan.

                1. pancakes*

                  That’s something someone here said today, not something a prof told Dinwar in school. It isn’t clear that Just Your Everyday Crone is a prof at all, let alone one who has a rule against eating in class. What everyone seems to be reacting to is Ridiculous Penguin, who is a prof, asking students not to eat the special end-of-term treats they brought from home during class during Ramadan. There is no indication whatsoever that anyone was or is being told to not eat lunch during Ramadan, in Ridiculous Penguin’s classroom or anyone else’s. This has become like a game of telephone.

                2. Dinwar*

                  I was providing a practical example of what the rules presented by Just Your Everyday Crone and socks would mean in reality–putting them into a situation that is, while somewhat outside the norm, not egregiously so. It’s a common enough way to test a moral principle, and demonstrates that it’s going to cause friction–which, if you’d read my posts, you’d see is the entire thesis of my arguments in this thread (how to deal with conflict arising from religious accommodations). I don’t need to provide biographical information; I merely need to present a highly likely scenario (busy college kid–who can imagine it! MUST be made up nonsense!!!) and demonstrate that the moral precept presented (and manners fall under that heading) creates a clear problem.

                3. pancakes*

                  Respectfully, I don’t think it is a practical example because it doesn’t seem to have actually happened to anyone, nor is anyone in power contemplating imposing it, nor is the letter asking about it. I don’t think it’s a big deal to have asked about, either, to be clear! But it is a bit derailing. And broadly speaking, if you’re busy you don’t have to comment right away of course, you can just hold off and come back later, or not, or whatnot.

              2. Dinwar*

                JamminOnMyPlanner beat me to it–someone literally did that, in this thread. Just Your Everyday Crone did, and socks later referred to eating a normal meal as “waving food around in front of people who are hungry and can’t eat”, a characterization that’s more or less the same.

                I also note that your post jumps from what I said to something far more vicious, a stance I never said and in fact argued against, in such a way that it implies I said the more vicious thing. It’s a neat rhetorical trick if you can pull it off, but poorly done in this instance. The difference is too extreme. It’s a fine line to be sure, and not crossing it is an art form. There are some Roman orators who could tap dance on it, making for really interesting analysis.

          2. This Old House*

            I mean, it kind of is. Especially this year! Imagine a class (or meeting, whatever) that was held last Friday and during which sunset fell. Are you holding Muslim, Jewish, and Catholic students (not sure if other Christian denominations fast on Good Friday?) to the rules of each others’ religions? At sunset, the Muslims could stop and eat – but they’d be eating in front of the Catholics, who would still be fasting, and the Jews, who then couldn’t have anything with leavened grains. Is it more respectful to expect the Muslims to “not wave food around in front of people who are hungry and can’t eat” and extend their fast by however much longer than they need to, or to let them break their fast (maybe even with meat! and leavened grains) while the Catholics watch? (Considering it would be the first moments of Passover, I can’t imagine Jewish students being all that tortured by seeing someone eat a sandwich, at least not just yet – though I think you could just as easily argue for not waving sandwich bread around in front of people as a very mild concession to make students keeping Kosher of Passover’s lives easier, using your reasoning.)

            Everyone gets to follow the rules of their own religion. Schools and companies do their best to accommodate (flexibility with deadlines and schedules, not throwing the company picnic that’s intended to reward all employees during Ramadan, or on Good Friday, or Yom Kippur (heck, not scheduling anything avoidable on Good Friday, Yom Kippur, Eid, etc.)). No one has to refrain from eating unless their own religion (/personal philosophy/diet/whatever) requires it.

            1. socks*

              I mean, observant Jews wouldn’t be in class at sunset on a Friday anyway, but given that the rule was “no eating in class today”…they probably just wouldn’t let anyone eat in class that day? It’s not even that uncommon for professors to ban eating in class altogether, so I find it odd that it’s being framed as a big, undue hardship to have to step outside the classroom if you want a snack for one session.

              1. socks*

                But also Ramadan lasts a month, and they only stated they didn’t let people eat the snacks on that one day, so presumably they aren’t banning all snacks specifically for Ramadan

              2. This Old House*

                Interestingly, the “accommodating students observing Ramadan” email that my public college sent out specifically recommended letting students eat as soon as they’re allowed to break their fast, which is what seems reasonable to me – let everyone eat when they need to/are able to, and don’t restrict anyone else’s behavior based on other people’s observance.

                (And there is a wide range of observance among Jews, obviously, and I know plenty of people who keep Kosher for Passover but would probably still sign up for a Fri evening class if necessary. Whether they would in fact attend on the first night of Passover is another question, but I thought the confluence of holidays this years really highlighted the potential for limiting people’s behavior based on other peoples’ religious requirements to go badly.)

        9. Ana Gram*

          Yes, as a lapsed Catholic, my belief system requires me to eat a lemon bar during classes, so a ban on eating in class would be a problem for me.

        10. anon for this today*

          In what class does your teacher serve you meat to eat on Fridays!?!?!?! I mean in what college class were you ever served meat by the prof, in a class that wasn’t in the hospitality or ag department?

          How offensive I didn’t throw beef kibble to my students on Fridays in calculus class…????

          This is not about student eating lunch or snacks, this is about something provided by the prof!

          1. anon for this today*

            Facilities asked that we not bring food or non-water beverages into any of our classrooms anyway….

      2. AnotherLibrarian*

        I realize you are trying to be helpful to your Muslim students, but I would be really careful about not allowing food or drink during class. I take meds on a pretty precise schedule and they need to be taken with food or I get pretty nauseated. Back when I was a college age student, I am not sure I would have had the confidence to speak up to tell a professor that I needed to eat and drink as a medical accommodation.

        1. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

          This concern highlights a very real thing – I dated a hypoglycemic individual, for whom a prohibition on eating would have been very difficult/dangerous to accept.

          I think the distinction that needs to be made is this: It is acceptable to tell your students you would prefer they not eat in class, whether it is to respect the beliefs of other students, or simply because it is disruptive. It is not acceptable to tell your students they cannot eat in class because you are not qualified to know or judge whether that is a safe and healthy option for them.

          1. Sam Bee*

            I think Ridiculous Penguin is saying that the treats she made and brought for the last day were not to be eaten during class. Since she’s not obligated to provide treats at all I really don’t think this is comparable to banning someone from eating food they brought themselves to take with medication. Also, there are classes where it’s legitimately unsafe to eat in the classroom (e.g. science labs). Presumably in those circumstances students managing health conditions find a solution like stepping out of the classroom for a minute, so even if the ban were broader than what I’m inferring, it’s not as though her students are without options.

            1. quill*

              Yeah, if you had to take meds with food during lab, the accommodation would be that you wash up, step out for a few minutes to consume your meds + snack in the hall, and then return.

            2. si*

              Yeah, I just got from Ridiculous Penguin’s post that the treats were for everyone but she didn’t want it to turn into a there-and-then shared feast, because that would have excluded the observant Muslims in the group, or made them stand out and have to answer questions etc. She wanted everyone to experience the treat in a similar way. Eating together to celebrate something is more significant than just snacking as needed. I can completely understand saying that since not everyone could eat at that time, the treats were for eating later.

        2. Cricket*

          I think she was saying she was handing out the treats to be taken home, not to be eaten during class, in that instance, on that day. I don’t think she was trying to imply that she forbids any eating or drinking in the classroom ever.

          I too have taken medications with which I needed to eat a small meal or snack. I was almost always able to make it work between classes as a full time college student, but if not, no professor ever said anything about me (or anyone else; it’s rather common) sitting in the back of the classroom or lecture hall quietly peeling a banana or drinking a juice. I don’t think it’s unreasonable, however, for a teacher to say they don’t want the distraction of students eating a full spread of food during a one hour lecture.

          1. Blueberry Girl*

            I don’t know where you went to college, but at many schools classes are much longer than an hour.

            1. Cricket*

              I definitely had plenty of classes that were 90 minutes and a couple that were an hour with a small break and then another hour. My point still stands. None of those longer time periods required me to do more than shovel a granola bar or piece of fruit in my mouth. If someone truly has a medical accommodation that requires them to eat an extensive, obtrusive meal in the middle of a college lecture, I imagine they have worked that out in some way with the professor or whatever.

            2. whingedrinking*

              I’m not sure about “much longer”. When I was at university (in the 2000s at a Canadian West Coast uni, if that matters), classes were either an hour, an hour and a half, or three hours – but the latter were rare. The only three-hour classes I had were either once-weekly writing workshops or film studies labs where we were actually watching feature films. And we always took at least one break during long classes.

        3. Dasein9*

          My rule was always to allow eating but nothing fragrant enough to distract a hungry classmate. So, a cupcake was fine, but fries are not. Any classmate can be hungry, so this isn’t even a fasting issue.

      3. Turtle Duck*

        Hmm, I think in this situation I would say people would be allowed to eat treats in class or take them home. That way people get treats and the ones who can’t eat them immediately are accommodated. I don’t see why you wouldn’t let people eat in class.
        I am irreligious but grew up in a majority Muslim environment, and I thought the whole point is that you make the choice to fast and go about your life as normal while other people also do what they would normally do.

        1. Crooked Bird*

          That does seem like it would work. As a reactive hypoglycemic, I often get handed things I can’t eat on an empty stomach (sweet treats which will lower my blood sugar in short order through insulin overproduction), and this solution is always perfect for me. (I can eat something sweet after a full meal, so I do take them home.) My situation isn’t religious, but given what the Muslims upthread were saying, they seem to have similar feelings to mine. I’m doing things a different way and as long as my way is accommodated, I don’t mind watching others eat.

      4. LifeBeforeCorona*

        We accommodated Muslim students by having a stocked mini fridge available for them so that when they broke their fast they didn’t have to search for food and water. At the same time the space was also available for anyone who had special dietary requirements.

        1. Crooked Bird*

          Ooh, now that sounds useful! Good thinking, and I love that it was for all special dietary requirements. If I’d been at your school I might have kept my emergency cheese there…

      5. What a way to make a living*

        I’m sorry, I really really don’t understand why you would tell everyone not to eat in class because some people are fasting? If the Muslim students asked for this, that’s one thing. Still not sure I understand their logic either. But if they didn’t, this just seems weird and likely to create hostility.

        Whatever way you slice it, you’re effectively telling *everyone* they have to change their actions because of some people’s religion.

        1. Cricket*

          The preference for students to take the treat that this teacher is freely and kindly giving out home to eat should not create hostility to any reasonable human. It shouldn’t involve a huge announcement about Ramadan or fasting, however. It shouldn’t single out anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to eat the treat at that moment. But there’s nothing wrong with saying, “I brought you all some treats, please take one with you on your way out.” That way no one who for ANY reason (fasting for Ramadan, allergies, a strict eating schedule, food preferences, etc.) doesn’t want to eat the treat or even take one, can do so without having an audience. It’s actually MORE hostile in my opinion to hand out food in class and watch people eat it or not.

          1. Calliope*

            It’s not clear whether the OP has banned all eating in class though. The wording suggests it’s broader than the treat.

            1. Aitch Arr*

              She wrote: “I usually bring treats for my students on the last day of class, but that’s on 4/28, which is still during Ramadan. I informed my class that there would be no eating during class to be respectful of classmates who were observing Ramadan (I would have all treats individually packaged to take home), and my Muslim students were quite appreciative.”

              My suspicion is that she forbade “eating [of the treats] during class”.

              1. Calliope*

                I mean, I don’t know whether the line a about informing students that there would be no eating in class is about that or not. I think it’s legitimately ambiguous and as a result folks here are having two separate conversations. If OP can clarify, then we would know.

      6. Kotow*

        See, I actually think that if it were just “here are snacks, eat them here or take them with you for later,” nobody would think anything of it. But when it’s turned into “you aren’t allowed to eat these in class because some people observing a particular religious practice can’t eat right now,” it’s likely to cause resentment. I typically would default to not eating during class and would still be irritated if it were presented as “you’re not allowed to eat this right now because some people .” Not saying that’s rational, but judging from the comments I don’t think it’s atypical. I fear this is something completely well-intentioned but also more likely to lead to resentment of the few students (who may not have even asked for or wanted this accommodation!) who you’re trying to be respectful toward.

        1. Kotow*

          Ack, hit post too soon and can’t edit! I mean to say I would be irritated if I were told I’m not allowed to eat right now because some people in class are fasting.

          1. pancakes*

            No worries, it’s pretty clear that those of you talking about “causing resentment” and “creating hostility” are saying precisely that. The fact that this mindset isn’t “atypical” in some communities doesn’t mean it must continue to be normalized, or that it’s unfair to challenge it.

        2. New Jack Karyn*

          I get the impression that Penguin usually sets out the cupcakes (or whatever) for everyone during class. This year, because Ramadan, the cupcakes are individually wrapped and handed out at the end of class to take away.

        3. Nameless in Customer Service*

          If you were asked to take your cupcake home instead of eating it in class you’d decide to resent Islam, the whole religion and all its adherents, and you find that decision to be logical?

          1. Me IDK*

            Considering they said “not saying that’s rational” I don’t think they think it’s logical, but it is a perspective that people might have.

    4. London Calling*

      I asked an observant colleague if he minded people eating and drinking in front of him when he was fasting. He said he had no objection at all, it helped to strengthen his faith in the face of temptation.

    5. Yellow*

      LW1 absolutely you should provide feedback you have been asked for. That’s why they ask.

      But copy/pasting someone else’s announcement for a similar scenario is unlikely to be viewed as passive aggressive or anti-diversity. I would be surprised if a lot of copy/paste doesn’t occur across the place.

      I think you need to honestly ask yourself whether your dislike of the sender is the issue you had with the email, and whether bias you have against Easter/Christianity is playing some part here. If the email has been sent by that first person would you be ok with it? There’s multiple reasons why people who annoy us are so annoying – and part of it is that we are less tolerant in our interactions with them.

      1. Esmeralda*

        Nah, it’s not that copy-paste is common. Of course it is. In this case, from this professor — who has a history of being pugnacious about the “harm” to the dominant racial/gender/religious/etc group posed by requests to acknowledge non-dominant race/gender/religion/etc — it’s a very obvious F-you to those non-dominant folks and their allies. It’s obnoxious and *everybody* knows just what he meant by doing it.

        OP, you should definitely respond truthfully to the DEI survey/climate study. The point you are making is that this sort of behavior by senior tenured faculty, sent around to everyone and not responded to by any other faculty, makes for an unwelcoming climate.

        The survey is not gathering evidence for legal claims. It’s asking about climate. Share what you know and feel.

      2. Mona-Lisa Saperstein*

        “There’s multiple reasons why people who annoy us are so annoying – and part of it is that we are less tolerant in our interactions with them.”

        Or it’s that the guy is a bigot, and OP is rightly intolerant of bigotry.

      3. quill*

        TBH it’s perfectly reasonable to be at BEC levels with a professor who makes everything in the department about them. His actions overall are unprofessional, and the greater context of all of his public statements need to be included when considering the email. It’s never a single action that makes a department unwelcoming, this email is just a recent example of this guy being passive-aggressive about diversity that multiple people can point to on the survey.

        LW1: If you know other people sick of this guy, maybe mention to them that his latest exploit is worthy of mentioning on the survey if they need examples.

        1. si*

          Yeah – copy-pasting might not automatically read as passive-aggressive from some people, but it absolutely does from this guy. If someone continually skates this close to the line of outright offensiveness, you don’t have to keep giving them the benefit of the doubt as if every act of glassbowlery was their first.

        1. Nameless in Customer Service*

          Whereas the “White men are the true oppressed minority” professor also has not a few supporters here, all willing to discard context.

    6. Just chiming in*

      So useful to see shared the perspectives of people for whom the statement is meant to be accommodating. I see the phrase “be mindful” as fairly anodyne. It’s not instructing people NOT to eat around folks who are fasting, but to remember that some people are, so don’t be a jerk. For me, that would be “don’t schedule a graded, food-centered event that everyone is expected to complete” (like the course on cultural foodways that has a “let’s cook things!” final during Ramadan-NOPE). Also, “don’t overreact if someone tells you they’re fasting” (like the students on a who decided to interrogate someone they previously ignored about “OMG how could you FAST ALL DAY!!???” and then redesigned their semester project to focus on the problem of food insecurity because that’s all the same as fasting as a religious observance-NOPE).

      “Be mindful” to my ear means “make a space for people who know what they’re doing to take care of their needs.” But now I realize I may need to be more clear. UGH.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Perhaps it is more relevant for you to take the perspective of actual Muslims, rather than insisting that it is anodyne to your own ear.

        Be mindful = pay special attention to. No matter how you slice it, that’s literally what the words mean.

        The folks who observe specifically do not want to be singled out for special attention.

        1. Chief Petty Officer Tabby*

          That. Most Muslims (and Baha’is! They have a month long fast similar to Ramadan) do not want people to go out of their way in every day life. I was visiting a Muslim friend who, knowing that I am diabetic, made sure to have water and fruit around for me during the day, even though I can actually fast as a Muslim would without harm to myself; I don’t actually NEED to eat 3 meals a day, and often don’t, simply because I’m not hungry more than 2x a day. I don’t know why it works out for me that way, yet here we are.

          Anyway, we all need to be aware of Ramadan so that we know not to offer food or drink during the day to a devout Muslim, or to understand why, and not push it, if we offer and they refuse.

          That’s it!

          1. anonymath*

            We’re talking though about college teaching. When I was teaching I was mindful of: religious holidays, large sports events, snowstorms, spring break, important professional exams common for students in the courses I was teaching (from actuarial exams to CFA exams). So, RagingADHD, I did pay special attention to the hockey schedule if we were going to the championships even though I don’t like hockey, not because I was trying to give hockey-lovers special attention, but because I am lazy and want to avoid annoyances like students asking for extensions. A little planning ahead on my part = fewer things to think about, happier students, happier prof. Same reason I always allowed students to drop two quizzes in a semester: then if they have a hangover or grandma died or they took a last minute car trip to Vegas or they had an asthma attack I do not need to parse out their “deservingness” of dropping a quiz. I am not paid enough to be a moral arbiter.

            I don’t think being mindful of the construction of your high-stress assignments/timing of pre-exam cram sessions is “singling out students for special attention” or “going out of your way in everyday life”. Great, I remember Ramadan’s happening, I’ll make sure the pre-exam study session traditionally held in the evening includes a before-sunset slot. Great I will remember not to put it on the first two nights of Passover. Like who cares, it’s just a bit of planning ahead; the holidays are automagically in my calendar. If I can do it for hockey, I can do it for a religion. It’s not an endorsement and it’s not personal to any particular students.

        2. Raboot*

          I’ve seen very similar “be mindful” language sent out by Muslim coworkers before Ramadan so I don’t think you can use “listen to Muslims” as an argument that be mindful isn’t something any Muslim wants to hear.

      2. Crooked Bird*

        Yeah, I actually read it as “don’t berate students for not being at their best while fasting,” initially. Perhaps that’s because, as a Christian, I used to do periodic voluntary fasts, and my goodness, you’re really not at your best at those times. In college I did a partial fast (beans & rice twice a day) as part of an organized fundraiser in support of refugees–what we were eating was the rations they got in the refugee camps–and my brainpower tanked so hard I found myself unable to complete an assigned paper. I asked the prof for an extension and he kindly gave it. (If he hadn’t, I think I’d have had to break the fast.)

        1. FORMERHigherEdPerson*

          YES, THIS.
          It’s not about eating around or in front of someone, it’s about being aware that people may be fasting and tired/dehydrated/less interactive than usual.

          It’s about being mindful when planning your calendar. It’s about being aware that a holiday you might not know much about it taking place and impacts your students/colleagues.

        2. Nameless in Customer Service*

          Well said. It is amazing and horrifying how many people find it so offensive to be reminded that students may be affected by fasting.

    7. Kesnit*

      I used to work for an observant Muslim couple. It always felt awkward fixing and eating lunch in the office during Ramadan. That didn’t stop me from doing it, but I tried not to be overt about it. (Microwaving my lunch when no one else was around. Eating with my office door closed. That kind of thing.)

    8. Old Admin*

      My relative is a Muslim who lives and works in a European country with no accommodations for his religious practices. His work is pretty physical, so basically he could get out of the Ramadan fasting (very hard work, illness, age, emergencies are excused).
      He does a light version instead without asking for attention (keeps daytime food&drink on the skimpy side, giving up various enjoyable things for the fast duration – Turkish Muslims frequently drink beer, so he cuts that completely etc.).
      Just adding that point of view.

    9. CB212*

      We can’t know whether this was well-intended but wildly off base, or a response to student feedback on that specific campus. My first semester of Arabic (continuing-ed, evening class), the professor had someone phone him every day at official-sundown and he’d take a minute to drink and have a bite to eat, so we were pretty aware that it was hard on him. He didn’t ask us not to eat or drink, and of course being in charge of the room he could have, but I can see a world where someone might appreciate not having to ask.

      1. pancakes*

        No, we can get reasonably close to knowing what the professor’s intent was from the abundant other context students have about his views. The letter writer was informative and concise on those points.

        1. CB212*

          I was referring to the professor who wrote the original letter, “a faculty member who heads up our department’s diversity efforts”. The commenter I’m responding to is an observant Muslim who says they’d rather nobody make a big deal over their fasting – suggesting, as I read it, that this whole situation began with an inappropriate caution. Indeed it may be that the diversity faculty member got this entirely wrong, but it could also be specific to something about the department’s food/snack culture that we don’t know about. [E.g. at my city college a lot of classes are in the evenings for people coming after work, and a lot of them don’t have a dinner break.]

          Obviously the both-sides professor is being an ass. That’s not who I meant.

          1. pancakes*

            Got it, sorry! I don’t think the student wants to or necessarily needs to give feedback on the first letter as well as the both-sides prof’s letter, but it wouldn’t be inappropriate to say something along those lines if they wanted to – something about maybe consulting with student communities before circulating messaging around religious holidays, to ensure their needs are described accurately and treated respectfully.

    10. Delphine*

      I’m also an observant Muslim. I agree that I would prefer if people were comfortable eating around me. I wouldn’t “side-eye” anyone, since I’m certain the message comes from a place of kindness, but I would let them know it’s not necessary for them to burden themselves in that way. Eat, be free!

      However, I dislike the notion here that asking for accommodations or being reminded that accommodations are available is also off the table. I get that we’re conditioned to want to practice behind closed doors as much as possible because of the bigotry surrounding Muslims, but if a Muslim student would like accommodations, it’s great to let them know that such accommodations are available–for them and for any other religious person.

      1. Aitch Arr*

        “I dislike the notion here that asking for accommodations or being reminded that accommodations are available is also off the table”


        I costs nothing to try to be kind.

    11. JamminOnMyPlanner*

      Yeah, that would rub me the wrong way if I were asked to make sure I’m not eating in front of someone observing Ramadan. I can certainly be respectful and do it discreetly, but I have PCOS which causes blood sugar issues, and I’m not able to move around my meal times based on whether or not someone is fasting.

      Additionally, as a Christian, we don’t fast much despite it being biblical, but the point of it is that it’s hard! You don’t ask other people to make it easier for you!

      It’s one of those things that sounds well-meaning, but wasn’t thought through. It might make, say, a diabetic student feel ashamed of having to eat a snack in class for blood sugar purposes.

      1. pancakes*

        The messaging isn’t necessarily poorly thought through because there’s the possibility that someone who is, say, diabetic, would be both unaware of the accommodations they have a right to and confused about who and what the messaging is for (i.e., to shame anyone and everyone thinking of eating something rather than, say, provide context for and set expectations for events on campus that week).

    12. Pam Poovey*

      I had wondered about that (based in what I’ve heard the observing Muslims I know say). The intentions of the school’s email are good, but they probably should have consulted an actual Muslim or two.

  5. i need a name*

    #3: “Thanks for contacting me about the X role. I’m surprised not to see the salary range included in the posting, given how much norms have changed on that since salary transparency is tied to race and gender equity. If you can send over an updated job description with the salary included, I’d be glad to take a look.”

    The note written for responding to recruiters would burn bridges imo since it’s really passive aggressive and a bit out of touch with how recruiting typically works. A lot of recruiters don’t have control over the job listings. They don’t write them, they don’t post them, they’re linking to them based on what HR posts, so reacting like this is being aggressive to someone who can’t update a posting and is probably already frustrated that their hands are tied.

    Honestly, all someone needs to do when they’re reached out to be a recruiter is say, “Thanks for the message. Can you let me know what the salary range is for the position?”. In my experience, most will tell you and some will ask to tell you on a call instead of a message. I’m not sure why people want to go for the sassy response when they can simply ask for the information they want.

    1. Ginger Pet Lady*

      It’s not sassy, it’s working to change cultural norms. I would do it, just to make it clear WHY they are getting pushback. It’s not passive aggressive. It’s assertive, and it’s advocacy.
      If you’d rather not be an advocate, that’s fine. But drop the accusations about others who DO care about changing cultural norms over taking the path of least resistance.

      1. i need a name*

        Sure, but OP is going to miss out on more opportunities by demanding something someone in that position may not have power to change. If they can’t update the job description based on company policy, they miss out on the opportunity. If they ask for the salary outright, they don’t miss out.

        My issue is more with the awkward wording of the script than the intent behind it – but I guess that’s par for the course with these scripts that sound clunky if anyone ever said them in person.

        1. Cambridge Comma*

          I think the OP knows that — I would guess her mention of her skills being in high demand means that she thinks she has a bit of capital she could spend here. If she’s got a lot of bridges, she could burn a few, though hopefully a polite email wouldn’t do that.

        2. Alpacas are better than llamas*

          You appear to have misunderstood the OP’s intention as well as Alison’s response. I suggest rereading the letter and answer while making fewer assumptions. You’ve completely missed the point.

          1. librarianmom*

            I think i need a name got it. They just don’t think that you need to be so heavy-handed. Just by asking for salary ranges before considering the job IS changing the norm.

            1. Nanani*

              It’s not the norm they’re trying to change. LW is getting approached by recruiters and is trying to get them to post salary ranges -before anyone needs to ask-

              The norm isn’t just “tell me the salary” it’s “post the salary so people not in a position to ask will know it”

        3. Dust Bunny*

          OP is already asking to not be sent job postings that don’t include this, so she’s already self-selected out of these jobs.

        4. Jora Malli*

          Okay, but what if one of my priorities for my next job is to work for an organization that highly values salary transparency and includes salary ranges in all job postings? In that case, I’d consider any bridge I burned with a company that doesn’t do that to be insignificant, because I didn’t want to work for them anyway.

    2. charlotte lucas*

      Because the LW is trying to make a point to contribute to social change. She decided not to interview for jobs that do this and wants to say why.

      1. Threeve*

        She can do that without essentially saying “I’m surprised that you’re doing your job wrong.”

        1. JayNay*

          But both the LW and Alison that not listing salary DOES indeed contribute to pay equity, so in that sense, a company that doesn’t list that info is indeed doing their job wrong if they want to attract candidates from a broad range of backgrounds.
          You can be confident in stating that.
          It seems commenters here are worried about offending a recruiter. I don’t think that’s a concern you need to have. You’re offering factual feedback they can pass along to their client. I’m glad LW is doing that, more people should challenge norms like this that hurt underrepresented groups.

    3. Chaordic One*

      I think that the OP is aware and willing to accept that she may burn some bridges with her response (which really isn’t sassy). Sometimes things that need to be said, come across as clunky, but they still need to be said.

    4. me*

      the more information a company provides at the outset, the easier the recruiters job will be. if people push back on job ads with no salary, the recruiter will have data/anecdotes to take back to the company to say “candidates care about this and it needs to be listed.” this is extra true in a hot job market.

      1. MusicWithRocksIn*

        So true. With the market the way it is, lots of people are having meetings right now trying to figure out how they can get more job applicants. If the recruiter says “Here is some feedback I’ve gotten lately, about a totally free way to attract more people” there is a good chance someone will listen. Lots of places are pretty desperate for people, enough to put pressure to overcome old bad ways. The smart places will adapt.

      2. Insert Clever Name Here*

        Agree so much with this. Also, it’s just more efficient!

        I was on an interview panel several weeks ago and we made an offer to a candidate; they weren’t able to agree on a salary. My company (annoyingly) doesn’t post salary ranges, and the salary she requested was high though within the range but — gasp — following the interview, she changed her salary expectations and the new one was out of the range. It took a month before we could have another set of interviews.

    5. Katie Impact*

      It sounds like what OP3 wants isn’t simply to have the information for their own sake, but for the information to be posted publicly for the benefit of everyone (including those who don’t know to ask or are worried that doing so may hurt their chances), in which case simply asking doesn’t actually get them what they want.

      1. quill*

        Yeah, I’ve had plenty of luck having recruiters track down the pay for jobs they have emailed me, but we could both save a heck of a lot of time if I didn’t have to play email / phone tag for the whole interaction. The recruiter might not be able to tell their boss that “we should save time by actually telling people what a position pays” without customer feedback.

    6. Sleepy cat*

      You’re really missing the point! OP doesn’t want to apply if there’s no salary range on the advert and wants to give feedback on why.

      1. mreasy*

        Exactly – because this is an indication of the company’s commitment to equity and a diverse work force, or its lack thereof.

    7. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

      I think you are vastly underestimating the amount of pull a good recruiter has with the firms that employ their services. Just like how companies are often more willing to listen to outside consultants because they value the feedback they are paying for, they’re likely to pay attention when a recruiter tells them “I’ve had # highly qualified candidates refuse to consider this position because of Y concerns”

      1. OP*

        OP here! This is good to know! I was hoping this might be the case. I see a lot of comments here that make it seem like I want to give the recruiter a hard time–that’s not my intention at all. I am hoping that this feedback would be passed along to whomever is in the position to include the salary information.

        1. Nanani*

          A lot of people in the comments seem to have fallen into the crab bucket mentality, sadly.

          You’re doing a good thing by pushing back! Get those recruiter norms changed!

        2. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Disregard those comments. You’re not ‘sassing’ the recruiter, you’re giving them feedback on a piece of work they did not themselves produce and asking that feedback to be returned to the company. That is a perfectly reasonable conversation to have with a professional intermediary.

          You may, in fact, burn bridges. There are unreasonable recruiters, hiring managers, et al and you never know who you’re dealing with. However you don’t seem terribly concerned about that and if you’re willing to leverage the privilege of being in demand to push back on inequitable hiring practices, I think that’s terrific.

        3. SyFyGeek*

          I’m in Higher Ed and there are a couple of job boards we regularly post Staff and Faculty openings and they will not post our paid ad unless we include either the salary or a salary range. It gives the job hunters the salary upfront so nobody is wasting anyone’s time. Unfortunately, if they find the listing on the University website, there is no salary listed and we’ve had candidates bow out when they find out what the salary is.
          I am all for transparency- if you take the job, you will be paid XX and be expected to do this. And then we can discuss perks of working here and how it adds to the salary.

        4. Lydia*

          OP, the state of Washington just passed a law requiring companies to include pay and benefits in every job listing, so you’re on the right track. Oregon and Washington tend to stick together in these things, especially since our largest city sits on the border between the two states, so I’m hopeful this will become a thing here, too.

    8. 11:11*

      “ I’m not sure why people want to go for the sassy response when they can simply ask for the information they want.”

      Because in people’s minds, they think an audience track going “Ooooooooh!” is accompanying their every interaction with the outside world :-/

      1. Workerbee*

        Maybe in your mind…?

        It has already been more than adequately re-explained in comments prior to yours how the response was neither “sassy” nor unwarranted.

      2. ceiswyn*

        That is a disappointingly ungenerous way of interpreting the motives of people who want to improve a situation generally, rather than just for themselves.

      3. Just Your Everyday Crone*

        “Sassy” is an interesting choice of words here, seeing as how it’s only applied to children and women, and not men. It’s “sassy” for women and POC to want equal pay.

        1. Nanani*

          Someone is definitely more interested in tone policing and performing niceness than anything as gauche as equality and fairness.

      4. Critical Rolls*

        I’m not confident this complies with commenting rules, which ask for us to be constructive and not insult people.

    9. Keller*

      I agree with you. As much as I agree with OP that we need to change our expectation around salary transparency, I just don’t think this is the right approach for creating that type of change. If I were a recruiter and I received that note, I would interpreted as a little passive aggressive. I think OP would be either wasting their time or hurting their own chances with that note.

    10. RagingADHD*

      ” I’m not sure why people want to go for the sassy response when they can simply ask for the information they want.”

      Because they already know that the person they are dealing with has no control over the listing. And what they really want to say is, “I demand to speak to your manager!”

      But they don’t want to admit it.

      Mouthing off to people who aren’t actually in charge is a deep rooted impulse. Some folks think that if they’re mouthing off for a “good” reason, it’s heroic instead of obnoxious.

      Nobody on the receiving end thinks so.

      1. Whoop There It Is*

        “Mouthing off” is an…interesting way to frame the LW giving a clear and firm response to a recruiter. She’s not a disobedient child. Both LW and the recruiter are adult professionals, and if anything, LW has the power in the situation. She owes the recruiter nothing beyond basic politeness; certainly not deference, and she’s giving the recruiter information they can take back to their “manager” (the company) to tell them they’re missing out on good candidates by not sharing salary information.

      2. Critical Rolls*

        “Mouthing off” is a loaded and unfortunate word choice, especially when it’s used to describe someone pointing out a practice that creates and perpetuates pay inequity.

      3. OP*

        OP here. For background, I’ve worked several customer service positions in the past, it is not my intention at all to be rude and misdirect my frustration to the wrong person (the recruiter in this case). I’ve been the receiving end of that type of behavior enough times myself. I realize the recruiter didn’t write the listing, but I’m hoping they may be in a position to give feedback to the person who did. I’m looking for a polite way to give them this feedback in the hopes that they will pass it along to the employer.

      4. Eldritch Office Worker*

        “mouthing off”, seriously? “speak to the manager”?

        This whole comment comes off super gendered and demeaning, please take a minute to reflect on that.

        This is professional feedback between professionals, particularly if these are cold emails and the recruiter was not asked to engage in the interaction.

        1. OP*

          Agreed–I worded my letter very carefully to not disclose my gender, and it has certainly been very interesting to see the assumption made and corresponding gendered responses like “sassy”

          1. Nanani*

            It seems pretty clear that -because- women and PoC would benefit from this norm change, people are assuming you are at least one of those, and policing you accordingly.
            That is a them problem. You are doing a good thing.

        2. OP*

          I feel like it’s almost proving my point about why I feel such a strong need to fight my in my own small personal way for pay equity.

          1. quill*

            Yeah, the comments section is weird this morning. Dress up the request in any way that feels natural in your industry! And thank you in advance, because dealing with recruiters would get a lot easier for everyone if the pay for a job was posted.

      5. Ginger Pet Lady*

        It’s real obvious here who thinks they are in a position of power and thinks that job seekers have no power and should be properly kowtowing to them.
        Real obvious.
        People speaking up for themselves and for others are never “mouthing off” but the fact that you view it that way shows how distorted your world view is towards maintaining unhealthy power structures.

        1. RagingADHD*

          I dunno what you think is obvious, but I’ve never been a recruiter or a hiring manager. I am also a woman, and neurodivergent. So how much power do you think I “obviously” have?

          The reason I roll my eyes at people being snippy and passive aggressive with folks who aren’t in charge (about anything), is because I’ve spent most of my working life being the one who has to listen to that kind of thing (not about hiring, about other stuff). There’s always somebody who wants to Make A Point!!!!! when I’m just trying to get my job done.

          After a while, it doesn’t even matter what point they’re trying to make, because they are invariably out of touch with the way the system works and what the people in charge actually care about. It’s just noise.

          BTW, I’ve never had much trouble getting jobs at the rate I want. Maybe that’s because I focus my job searches on having normal conversations with human beings, instead of using them to “send a message” or spout talking points.

          As the OP of this sub thread pointed out, it ain’t that hard to just ask the rate, there’s no reason to make disingenuous statements about being fake-surprised, etc. Just talk *with* people, not *at* them.

          1. Critical Rolls*

            For someone who wants to be conversed with as a human being, you are being remarkably dismissive and reductive of others. Others are being performative, out of touch, “just noise.” Trying to give feedback to pass along is “snippy and passive aggressive.” Talking about inequitable practices is “mouthing off.” You personally would like strictly transactional interactions, which is is understandable. But please recognize the vitriol you’re showing here.

          2. CCC*

            It’s the opposite of passive aggressive to tell someone that this practice contributes to pay inequity. It’s straightforward and truthful. Maybe you could consider the “surprised” bit to be passive aggressive if it wasn’t true, but it seems like the LW is actually a little surprised, given that she wrote in to begin with, so again, not passive, and not aggressive. Providing feedback that other people don’t like isn’t passive aggressive. Passive aggressive would be implying that other people are having abnormal conversations or aren’t able to get the pay they want by describing your own conversations as normal and saying you don’t have problems getting the pay you want.

      6. JustaTech*

        If you know that the person you are communicating with does not have the power to address something that you have identified as a problem, then why is it wrong to want either that person to pass the message along to their manager or to ask to speak to the manager directly?

        Why is it wrong or bad to acknowledge that some actions are above the recruiter’s pay grade and ask that the message be passed along to those who have the power to address the issue?

    11. CH*

      I was recently in the same situation, but wrote back to the recruiter saying “Thank you for reaching out with this opportunity. ABC is a fantastic organization. Before we chat, would you be able to share the budgeted salary for this position?”
      My aim was just to get the salary information, though – not to make a broader point about pay transparency and equity.

    12. Sloan Kittering*

      I wonder if there’s a middle ground. If the wording is too much for you, maybe: “I’m sorry, I’m not interested in jobs that don’t list a salary range. I realize it’s not your fault, but I find those companies are not committed to equity. If you have posts with salaries included I’d love to take a look.” And then later you can use the “please feel free to pass this feedback on to the employer” part.

      1. Willis*

        I like this and the OP’s original wording a lot better than feigning surprise that a salary isn’t listed. It’s more direct and genuine and less script-y. Because let’s be honest, it’s not surprising that a job ad wouldn’t list a salary. I still see ads with no salary listed in places where it’s legally required to be, let alone where it’s not.

      2. OhNoYouDidn't*

        I think this is much more palatable. It clearly gets the point across but isn’t so preachy or holier than thou sounding. I feel like the earlier suggestions were a bit rude (and yes, I’m a woman in case that matters to anyone). This strikes the right balance for me. The other responses would put me off. This one wouldn’t.

    13. Meridian*

      Yeah and I think the “if you update the job description with pay range I’ll take a look” part sounds like it could give missed messages. A lot of people just ask for the range up front when the salary’s aren’t listed. I could see a recruiter reading that script back and wondering why the OP didn’t just ask for the range. I think OP’s original script works well for what they’re looking to accomplish, but IMO I’d consider making it clear she’s self-
      Selecting out and not asking for more info about the job.

    14. BuildMeUp*

      How is this passive aggressive? I’m so confused. It’s very straightforward and clearly worded.

      I also don’t see this wording as aggressive at all! These comments are a bit odd to me; I feel like people are not fully reading the letter or understanding the OP’s situation.

      1. OP*

        OP Here. I have been genuinely surprised by how much my letter seemed to rub people the wrong way.

        1. nana*

          It’s only 2 people. Some people will always think you shouldn’t advocate for yourself or others.

    15. Glomarization, Esq.*

      Alison suggests removing the second sentence as an option, but IMO the second sentence is the only statement that the LW should actually send. There’s no reason to scold the recruiter about this.

      In fact, telling the recruiter in a matter-of-fact way that you can’t decide whether to respond to a job listing without the salary information might be an effective way for the employer to start including the salary info to the recruiter. The more recruiters come back to employers with “I didn’t get any bites because you didn’t give me salary info to pass along,” the more employers will move to give the info.

      1. MsM*

        I think the slight modification that some other commenters have suggested about adding a “I recognize this probably wasn’t your decision” is fine, but I’m really having trouble grasping why someone who’s just sharing what they’ve been told to share and isn’t particularly invested in not disclosing for some reason would take serious offense at the current phrasing, let alone someone who already agrees that it’s a problem. And I think it’s important that the observation include that the lack of transparency is sending out some warning signals about the company’s commitment to DEI. It doesn’t sound like OP’s desperate for a job, so why not be crystal clear about what factors would prompt them to take the leap beyond salary so the recruiter can either send them listings that are genuinely a good fit, or cross them off the list and move on?

        1. Glomarization, Esq.*

          Honestly? Because I don’t have time in my day to say more to a recruiter than “Sorry, I can’t really evaluate this opportunity without salary range info, will be happy to look at it if you can get back to me with that, thanks.” Personally, I’m not going to shoulder the work of wording something to the recruiter in the hopes that they or the employer get on the ball about DEI.

          1. Joielle*

            You’re not willing “shoulder the work” of copy and pasting one sentence from this thread into a LinkedIn message? You probably spent longer than that writing this comment.

            The problem is not just that the OP doesn’t have the salary range, it’s that the posting doesn’t include the salary range, which is a DEI issue. The recruiter sending the salary info directly to the OP wouldn’t fix that. But if the OP takes 10 seconds to point out the overall problem, it may help others down the line. Feels worth it to me.

            1. Glomarization, Esq.*

              You probably spent longer than that writing this comment.

              What can I say, everybody spends their lunch hour differently.

              But in any event, no, Alison’s suggestion to the LW here comes across to me as the LW telling the recruiter to tell the company how to properly implement their DEI policy. I don’t think that’s the best way to go — though others will have their own opinions — so I won’t use her wording or try to find my own wording for it.

          2. MsM*

            But OP is willing to take the extra time and thinks it’s important, so…again, where does the scolding come in?

    16. Pikachu*

      If they are third party recruiters, then their company should be pushing back on their clients if they want to find good talent. We have to stop putting it on the candidates to play nice. That’s how we got here.

      Honestly one of the biggest benefits of working for myself now is turning recruiters down who do not offer salary ranges when they reach out to me, and telling them exactly why.

      If they catch me on a bad day, they get a “Good luck with your search!” closing line.

      I’m lucky to be in a place where I don’t need to find a new employer, so I will burn every bridge out there in favor of worker solidarity. We all deserve better.

    17. Blarg*

      The point is not that OP wants the salary info personally, OP wants EVERYONE to have the salary info. I’m the same boat as OP — I don’t need to apply for anything, and won’t if salary info isn’t included, but I like the idea of being proactive and explaining why. It isn’t about me, it’s about the values of the org/company.

      Plus, I work in the non profit/gov sectors, so the salary pay range is BROAD. I’ve seen job posts for things wanting my basic years of experience and skills but pay half what I’m getting (I’ve been in the field 15+ years). So I’m also not going to waste my time with those places — and if I don’t know if you’re one of those places I’ll assume you are since you didn’t tell me otherwise.

      1. CoveredinBees*

        When I left the nonprofit sector, I tried desperately to get my employer to post the salary in the job description. I knew (because I was involved with their finances) that they really had a very specific budget available to pay this person, so why waste everyone’s time? Not only did they not include the pay but made the description more senior when I was already getting paid on the low end of things. They hoped that they could attract someone more senior who would stay for less money because they cared about the org’s mission. Hiring went poorly.

    18. pancakes*

      “A lot of recruiters don’t have control over the job listings.” Of course not, but they do have control over which listings they present to which candidates as good opportunities, no? As well as control of their own messaging, of course. They also have full control over whether to pass along any feedback of this nature to employers.

  6. Dog Fan*

    I don’t see anything offensive or passive aggressive about the Easter email in LW1. I would actually argue that there’s no need to send out an announcement about any religious observances. But, if you are going to do it, seems the safest, most non-offensive way would be to have a standard announcement with a place to insert the name of whatever religious holiday is being observed. Of course, even then, you likely couldn’t cover every possible religious observance in a large student body.

    1. bratschegirl*

      But this wasn’t any kind of a standard official announcement, it was an individual’s deliberate word-for-word copycatting, and according to LW said individual has a long and well-known history of objecting to and ridiculing efforts to advance diversity and inclusion. It strains credulity to see this as a neutral act.

      1. Dog Fan*

        I don’t disagree that this professor was trying to prove a point. I was just saying that if announcements such as these are going to be made, it would seem best to have a standard format so that all announcements would be as similar as possible.

        1. Katie Impact*

          I’m not sure all announcements *should* be as similar as possible, though: different observances may need different kinds of accommodation from staff.

          (I’m the poster formerly known as Eliza; I noticed there was something of a glut of Elizas and Elizabeths among the commenters, so I am now a palaeontologist’s roller derby name.)

          1. Kayem*

            I’m not sure if I’m delighted at your roller derby name or angry at myself for not thinking of it first, especially given that I worked in the paleo field before switching to archives and that my family gave me that particular nickname when I was a kid.

        2. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

          I don’t disagree that this professor was trying to prove a point.

          Then you do see what’s passive-aggressive about it.

      2. Wendy2*

        Yes, I think this professor’s history comes into play here. I saw a similar thing on Twitter written from a Jewish perspective, describing Easter in terms of Jewish holiday observance, and I found it both humorous and educational – but that was written and posted by a Jewish scholar, for a primarily liberal audience, and this scholar often uses this type of role reversal to educate Christians about how Judaism isn’t just Christianity Lite. It was clearly tongue-in-cheek and was poking gentle fun at people who want to be open-minded but go about it the wrong way. I think if I’d read the same thing in the context the OP encountered, I’d have had issues with it too.

            1. Phoenix*

              I’m not sure if this is who Wendy2 is referring to, but @JewWhoHasItAll on Twitter does exactly that kind of parody – acting as if Jewish culture was hegemonic in the way that Christian culture is in the West. Both the tweets and the replies are hilarious. (There’s also @JWhoKnowsItAll for the explanations.)

                1. Blarg*

                  You guys, in all seriousness… thank you for sharing this.

                  Had a really disheartening friend-breakup last year when one friend in a group chat got “offended” when I said I didn’t observe St Patrick’s Day b/c it is not my holiday, and another friend stayed silent. She then went on to say that she could eat Hamentashen and still be frustrated with Israel which was not the point on a million levels and I was just … done. But still, more than a year later, really sad.

                  While I still would have ended the friendships over it, would have been nice to have the backup. the St Patrick’s Day tweets are hilarious and exactly what I was trying to express to them.

        1. CoveredinBees*

          I’ve long said that Judaism’s tag line could be “Not just Christianity without the Jesus bits!”

      3. quill*

        Yeah, the usual script is to take any effort at non (white, straight, male, christian) inclusion and insert your less marginalized demographic of choice in. Because it has to be about them.

        It could have been neutral without the other context. The context matters!

    2. Ridiculous Penguin*

      The unique thing about Ramadan is that people are often tired and hungry (and therefore sluggish / less productive) as a result. It’s helpful to raise cultural awareness about Ramadan for reasons that don’t really apply to other religious holidays (as far as I know, very few people fast on Fridays during Lent, and Yom Kippur is only one day vs. an entire month).

      1. Well...*

        I think a lot of people do fast on Good Friday, but the cultural awareness around the holiday in Western countries is so high that no intervention is needed. Where I live it’s a day off work.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

          I mentioned a little bit earlier that Orthodox Easter is a week later and some members are pretty strict about observing Lenten fasts. I’ll add here that by orthodox I include Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Albanian, Romanian, and probably more that I’m not thinking of before finishing my coffee.

      2. Sleepy cat*

        The other difference with Jewish fasts being that people who observe them are less likely to attend school or work on those days, so you’re less likely to be in class with them (though I don’t know about people in the liberal or reform traditions so may be wrong about those)

          1. Jessica Ganschen*

            I just went and double checked, and technically none of our fast days are Yom Tov (having certain obligations/restrictions such as not working) except for Yom Kippur. Tisha B’Av is the most likely one that people will take off for if they can, as it’s a 25-hour fast like Yom Kippur, but yeah, it’s totally possible for observant Jews to be fasting on these days and still be in work/school.

      3. Bagpuss*

        OP mentions that it is a partial public holiday in her state which I presume means that people are not expected to be in work for the full day, so even if there are individuals who are fasting or wish to attend services then it sounds as though it’s far less likely that any accommodation might be needed and

      4. Orthodox Jew*

        Fasting is not the only religious observance that could impact a student. For religious Jews, most don’t write for all eight days of Passover (and most other Jewish holidays), and won’t use technology or do school/work-related activities for four or five (depending on the year) days of the holiday. I recall having assignments due on or directly after holiday days that I couldn’t just “email it in if you can’t show up” and being told to turn in all my work early, effectively being given less time to do major assignments because of my religious observance. Everyone here seems hung up on fasting – which, while uncomfortable (orthodox Jews fast, though not for a month straight, so I know of what I speak), does not actually preclude doing the coursework.
        I think it’s lovely to be aware that fasting students may be more tired or have migraines or whatever. But I’m your eagerness to accommodate one population, don’t write off all the others. Frankly, I’m finding the entire comment chain, which is trying so hard to be respectful of Muslim culture and angry at the “mainstream” Christian professor, to be offensively unequal to another minority group.

        1. Anone*

          I think you mean “religious Orthodox Jews.” As a religious Reform Jew, I certainly don’t do that. Orthodox aren’t the only “religious Jews” around.

          1. TheLinguistManager*

            And I was confused because many Jews – orthodox, conservative, reform, or otherwise – fast. Not just on Yom Kippur, but on other days too.

        2. Emby*

          As an observant Jew, I find your what-about-ism kinda absurd. Yes, I wish that my school and work were more accommodating and understanding, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want people to be accommodating and understanding to Muslims and other groups. The whole point of the letter was that attempts at being respectful towards Muslims were being treated contemptuously.
          But also, in what world do Jews not write on chol hamoed? No writing on chag, clearly. And many will go away for the entirety of the holiday. But writing on chol hamoed is not chametz, which is the thing we are actually forbidden from. And it isn’t assur.
          Also, fasting for one day is very, very different than fasting for a month. You’ll note that people aren’t saying you can’t do any work while fasting, just that it is more difficult.

          1. Ali + Nino*

            Many Orthodox Jews don’t write on chol hamoed, which is meant to have an elevated status – it’s not just a regular weekday. There are certain activities to avoid, unless necessary to avoid significant financial loss or to help enhance holiday celebrations. It may seem counterintuitive but in this realm typing on a computer is not considered work the same way writing is, hence my comment :)

          2. Whoop There It Is*

            Chol Hamoed is a quasi-yom tov so l’chatchila you don’t write or do other melachot. It’s not assur if you need to do it for work, but many people choose to be strict on this and take the week off work. (Also, their kids are on school break and they have to visit the zoo! LOL) Laundry and other types of “work” are also discouraged unless you need it for the upcoming yom tov.

        3. Just Your Everyday Crone*

          How is it being unequal to Orthodox Jews without discussing Orthodox Jews? Nobody has said “don’t accommodate Passover” as far as I’ve read. It’s kind of dismissive to say that Muslims should be expected to keep doing coursework because fasting (for one day) doesn’t affect you and “migraines or whatever” tells me you’ve never had a migraine.

    3. Alex*

      I’m hoping you just missed some of what the OP said. If the same office that had sent the first letter sent this one I’d have thought ‘sure, whatever,’ assumed it was part of some kind of religion-reminder initiative they’d started, and then promptly forgotten about it. Which is probably the same thing I’d have thought about the first one, too, since the couple coworkers I have who celebrate Ramadan don’t make a big deal about it, and all it meant at work (back when we saw each other in person) was that if we wanted to do a team lunch to celebrate something we put it on the calendar for a later week. But the fact that this is coming from a professor who’s already openly advocating against diversity and broadcasting how hard it is for conservative white Christian men like him…it’s hard to see that as anything other than a person using their platform to be an ass and definitely worth flagging if the school is actually interested in diversity.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, I had to read the letter twice to realize that the emails were sent by two different people. The person who sent the email about Ramadan may have meant well, but the conservative Christian who sent the second email definitely didn’t.

        1. LifeBeforeCorona*

          You are right. It’s the intention behind the email. The first one was to educate and inform. The second one was “what about me” even though the default has always been the celebration and acknowledgement of major Christian observances. Merry Christmas everyone!

    4. Sleepy cat*

      Oh, come on. You can’t see anything passive aggressive about sending this after an email about Ramadan? Really?

      I’m a Christian. I think this dude’s email is not ok. The original email was sent because of an actual need to support people from a particular group who need that support. His follow-up email was not sent with kindness or grace.

      I’m not sure why you think a standard announcement would help. It’s not the wording that’s the problem. It’s not that ‘everyone’ might be offended by an announcement, it’s a specific type of person with an axe to grind. Do you really think he would have been pacified by standard wording? Or that his email would have somehow been better with it? He used almost identical wording as a way of taking a shot at Muslims, I think you missed this from the letter.

    5. Artemesia*

      We all can see exactly what this professor was doing. It is like the same guy imitating/mocking a notice for an event for women in leadership or the challenges black people face in the workplace — and doing a replica announcement for the challenges white men face in the workplace. No one is fooled about what this guy is doing — he is making clear that people unlike him are not legitimate or welcome.

      1. Really?*

        See recent discussion on “Men’s Forum, for men and their allies”, where some commenters thought that was legit also, when it was clearly mocking women-only workplace groups.

    6. Allonge*

      And if the professor approached whoever sent out the announcement about Ramadan and said: hey, I’ve found this really useful, would you consider reminders about the following holidays [example x, y, z], maybe you have more ideas, thank you; then most likely we would not find what he did irritating / suspect.

      But in light of his history and his approach, well…

    7. Irish Teacher.*

      It sounds like the Ramadan one was specifically about making allowances for students who were fasting. Easter does not have the same expectations for people to fast (as others have said, you could POSSIBLY make an argument for Lent, though the rules are a lot less stringent, but Easter, no). To replace say “please feel free to ask your professors for accommodations if you are fasting for Ramadan” with “please feel free to ask your professors for accommodations in Easter week” would strike me as sort of…mocking?

      I agree that simply using a similar format wouldn’t necessarily be offensive or passive-aggressive, but given the context, it really sounds like the professor wrote an e-mail about Easter as a sort of “response” to the one about Ramadan and had no intention of writing an e-mail about Easter until he saw the original rather than it being a case of his planning to write about Easter anyway and thinking “hey, this one is phrased well. I’ll use a similar format.” Obviously, I haven’t seen both e-mails so can’t know for sure, but as the LW has, I’m inclined to accept his or her interpretation of hte situation.

      1. quill*

        Passive aggression only exists in context anyway. Because it’s all about subtext!
        “Please put the dishes away,” is a neutral statement on it’s own but it can be passive aggressive depending on the context of your relationship to the speaker and your relationship to the chore of putting dishes away.

    8. Acronyms Are Life (AAL)*

      Kinda the whole thing that professor is going for. Copying word for word allows him to utilize the ‘oh, but i’s fine when we do it for x and not fine for me? Discrimination!’ argument. He’s doing this because he wants someone to complain so he can claim that he is a victim. I would be torn if I’d want to say something or not because he just wants the attention and it sounds like everyone already knows he’s a jerk. It might be better served just to go ‘yep, it’s the Easter holidays, anyway, moving on…’

      1. Littorally*

        Honestly, this is where I fall. We all know what his intentions are, but IMO the best response is to treat his announcement 100% at face value and move on instead of pushing back. “Thank you Dr. X for sharing about your traditions! ” And just move on.

        1. anonymath*

          Agree, because these guys get energy from the fight. They are so visibly deflated when you don’t take the bait; I love doing that.

          One must be careful about letting it go in other directions, and a verbal indication that you’re not cool with them is useful. But it my experience it’s been most effective to take an unexpected tack on disagreement, usually pointing out their factual mistake on some item of discussion.

        2. STG*

          That’s pretty much where I fall to. His intention sucks but it only gives him fuel if you don’t take it at face value.

    9. Nanani*

      That’s nice for you . Must be fun to live in a fluffy clueless cloud like that.

      Here in the real world, as pointed out by LW1, some religions have their observances baked into the calendar and others don’t. Sending out an email reminding the majority that the minority exists helps the minority. The reverse does not, because the minority is constantly aware of the majority.

      Power dynamics: They’re Real.

    10. Allegra*

      There’s this idea in predominantly culturally Christian places that religion is like a module you can swap in and out of lives interchangeably. For a very long time converting people to Christianity has involved some version of “you can be Christian AND still be your current culture, you just swap out whatever your previous belief system was for Christianity.” So a lot of people raised in cultural Christianity as a result assume that for everyone, religious observance is similarly separable, the way Christianity has tried to pitch itself as.

      But this isn’t how a lot of other faiths operate in the lives of people who follow them. It’s cultural, it’s worked into everyday things, and it’s not always observed on a weekend. And it’s disingenuous, I think, in a US and/or UK context, to say you don’t understand why it’s needed to have reminders that students or employees celebrate non-Christian holidays. How many letters have we seen where people needed to be reminded to offer non-pork, non-alcohol, non-caffeinated food and beverage options at parties? It’s part of respecting the cultural diversity of a place and making sure people with less institutional power, who are already in minority cultures that are often scorned or misunderstood, aren’t put in the position of having to explain to their professor or boss that yes, high holidays often fall on weekdays so they will need both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur off (vs. Easter always being on a Sunday and businesses already being closed on Christmas).

      Which is all to say–a boilerplate “standard announcement” where you just swap out the name of the religion or holiday is treating religion in a really Christian way. Different religious observances require different accommodations and/or awareness thereof, both in the workplace or at a university. A reminder not to schedule the annual company pancake breakfast during Passover is different from a reminder to not schedule exams on Eid–and a reminder that people may be observing Christmas is wholly unnecessary since the culture operates on a culturally Christian schedule already, even if people aren’t doing what some may consider “religiously Christian” things. There is a huge power differential involved in trying to raise awareness and enable accommodations for non-Christian religious observance vs. Christian observance in culturally Christian countries. You’re not gonna get “what’s Easter?” from 99.99% of professors.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        I’m reminded very much of a situation in Ireland when the Minister of Defence who was Jewish turned down an invitation to meet with the police and everybody was like “oooh, he’s afraid to meet with them,” as he had recently made some decision that was unpopular. Until he pointed out the day in question was a major Jewish holiday (might have been Hannukkah; I can’t remember). Whereupon everybody just kind of went “oh, right.” But nobody would have needed to be told that a Christian Minister could not attend a function on Christmas day. No functions would even be held then. So yeah, it’s definitely a very different situation.

      2. Nameless in Customer Service*

        This is very well said. If everyone could read only one comment I would nominate this one.

    11. DataSci*

      Dog Fan:

      “But, if you are going to do it, seems the safest, most non-offensive way would be to have a standard announcement with a place to insert the name of whatever religious holiday is being observed. ”

      Really? Treat Christmas and Diwali exactly the same, as observances followed by a minority of people in the student body and which some people may be entirely unfamiliar with, for which no standard accommodations in the academic calendar are offered and therefore need to be pointed out? That is not an approach that reflects the reality of the modern US.

      (I’m tired of the Abrahamic-only holidays discussed in the thread so far. And Diwali is one that comes up in my current job since we have contractors based in India.)

  7. EchoGirl*

    Re: #1, in addition to the general issues of passive-aggression and “we’re so oppressed”, the “asking those who do not observe to be mindful of observant peers” part just seems weird because… what exactly is it that non-observant people might do that they need to be mindful of? There are some Christian holidays where I could see this wording being relevant (e.g., some Christian denominations practice fasting on Ash Wednesday, so sending out a similar message about that would be more or less comparable), but Good Friday and Easter certainly wouldn’t be at the top of that list as I understand them.

    1. allathian*

      Pushing chocolate on someone who’s given that up for Lent, which ends on Easter Saturday? But yeah, it’s really pushing it. And in any case, it’s not OK to push food or drink on anyone who declines an invitation to partake, regardless of the reason.

    2. Greenery*

      There are Christian denominations that also observe Good Friday as a day of fasting and have specific services at 3pm. So it would ostensibly be being mindful of maybe not scheduling an all day meeting so people could attend 3pm services?

      1. Wendy2*

        Context matters, though. I live in the Bible Belt (southeastern US), and anyone who’s lived here more than a year or two knows that many private businesses shut down on Good Friday and sometimes on Easter Monday. Whether you’re Christian or not, you see the ads for Easter services and are inundated with egg hunt opportunities. I could see a boss maybe sending out a reminder that employees are free to take Friday afternoon off for religious services and not to schedule meetings then, but not a “here’s what Easter is!” explainer.

      2. ecnaseener*

        And if the prof had included that type of detail, it wouldn’t come off as mocking the Ramadan announcement. But just a generic “be mindful” without saying what about (I’m assuming any Ramadan-specific details were removed) is so weird.

      3. MsM*

        Seems like anything major would’ve been scheduled by that point, though, which means any internal meeting discussions could be handled…well, internally.

    3. Middle Aged Lady*

      Some Christians stay up for part or sll of the night on Maundy Thursday, and fast on Good Friday as well. Then go to church on Holy Saturday and keep Easter Vigil Saturday night through Easter morning. Not many, but some. I belonged to a parish years ago that kept this schedule. I was also an academic. It was tough and it was only four days! But this prof is just being a jerk.

      1. Erin*

        I could see benefitting, in the days before Ash Wednesday, from a reminder that that’s coming up, and that passing a wet wipe to someone who has a random smudge on their forehead is a sub-optimal behaviour on this particular day.

        And going briefly into what that random smudge represents to believers would open the door to me having interesting (and respectful) conversations with colleagues.

        Just as I had conversations recently with a colleague who is fasting about the various international debates about fasting times in different countries – obviously fasting from sunrise to sunset doesn’t really work if you live somewhere that has months of no sunsets at all! So folks living in certain extreme latitudes may find local Imams recommend that Mecca timing should be used, etc.

    4. Anon for This*

      Catholics observe Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as days of fast and abstinence, so one meal and no meat. Even this is not comparable to the Ramadan fast, but may also be worth a reminder, as I have been to more than one work event on those days that included meat-based meals. (During Lent I’ve learned to request vegetarian meals for any Friday events.) That said, I agree the professor who sent the Easter reminder was being a jerk.

    5. Madeleine Matilda*

      As an observant Christian I take Good Friday off from work, I attend services at noon, and do not do anything “secular” on that day. This is just one part of my Holy Week and Easter observances. This year someone rescheduled an appointment with me for Good Friday and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t available despite my explanation.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        I feel like the best explanation is simply “I’m booked off that day”.

        1. Madeleine Matilda*

          It wasn’t a work meeting, but an appointment I had made specifically to avoid having the appointment on Good Friday. For complex reasons I couldn’t miss the appointment last week and wound up having to go on Good Friday when it was rescheduled without my consent.

    6. What even*

      Then you don’t understand Good Friday. Good Friday, in the past called Black Friday, is the day the Jesus was crucified. It is a day of fasting, and there are long church services (like 3-6 hours, depending) for some Christian denominations.

      Easter is the happy day, when Jesus rises from the dead. Good Friday is not a happy day.

    7. Nanani*

      Read literally any letter on this site about food and you’ll see that a lot of people are really really REALLY weird about other people’s choice to eat or not eat.

      “Heads up, some people aren’t eating because of THING” is a good reminder to stop pushing food on people.

      1. EchoGirl*

        I get where you’re coming from, but I think part of the problem is that the email isn’t that specific. “Be aware that this is a fast day for some people and respect their choice not to eat” would be a reasonable ask, but just using boilerplate language of “asking those who do not observe to be mindful of observant peers” isn’t really helpful because it doesn’t actually tell people what they’re being asked to do.

    8. EchoGirl*

      Self-replying to reply to multiple comments: Admittedly I wasn’t aware that Good Friday is a fast day for some, but I think that also highlights part of the problem — if you’re going to ask people to be mindful and actually mean it, it’s generally a good idea to tell them what specifically that means. The directive in the original, though it may, as some have pointed out, be misguided, is at least specific on what it is they’re suggesting; generally saying “be mindful of those who observe” is just too vague to be actionable, which makes me further think it wasn’t made in good faith (no pun intended).

  8. Rey Palpatine*

    “and asked that those who do not observe be mindful about eating and drinking in front of observant peers.”

    Does whoever sent this email observe Ramadan? I understand they meant well but good grief this is actually the opposite of what I and my observant peers want. We would never ask anyone to do this. As long as we are left in peace. My parents taught me to make an ask like this to be the height of rudeness. If anyone has co-workers who are observing Ramadan please don’t do this or treat us like fragile ones who can’t deal with seeing food because we’re fasting.

    1. Wendy2*

      Yeah, this sounds a lot like a well-meaning person passing on some internet “facts” about a holiday they haven’t researched and don’t know anyone personally who observes it. Which can be a catch-22, especially in a smaller company: you don’t want the handful of minority employees to have to educate everyone about their culture all the time (whatever culture that is), but you also don’t want someone making assumptions without, you know, ASKING someone :-\

    2. allathian*

      No, he doesn’t observe Ramadan. He’s apparently a conservative Christian who seems to be upset that other people observe other faiths in his vicinity and feels threatened by it. Very passive aggressive.

      1. allathian*

        Oops, we don’t actually know. I had to read the letter twice to realize that the emails were sent by different people.

        1. Clisby*

          I did, too. At first I thought they were sent by the same professor, so I was wondering why anyone thought it was odd that they pretty much used the same template.

    3. AnotherLibrarian*

      I don’t think this sort of email is a bad idea, because it might make students more willing to ask for accommodation if they need it. It would be good to consult with someone in the future about how to give students the support they need, as you and several others have pointed out that you’d not want people to not eat around you during Ramadan. (And I do get that, I might not be having leavened things at the moment, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want my coworkers to enjoy the donuts someone brought in.) Sadly, I’m not surprised someone passive aggressively used the same language in some strange attempt to prove a point, so I hope LW #1 says something, because this kind of BS rarely stops unless someone speaks up and can be harmful to students.

      1. Juniper*

        I agree that the email was passive aggressive and unecessary, but how could it harm students?

        1. Bagpuss*

          I think where faculty are behaving in ways which clearly demonstrate that they are lacking in tolerance and actively behave in intolerant or prejudiced ways that’s inherently harmful, particularly to students who are members of any minority

      2. Clisby*

        LW#1 in case you’re reading … one thing I was curious about is whether this public college/university has a policy on accommodating students’ religious observances.

        The medium-sized public college where I audit courses has a long statement about this in the faculty manual – it is not optional. Faculty have to make reasonable accommodations for students’ religious observances. Every class I have audited has included this statement in the syllabus (presumably to let students know they have the right to accommodations.) The policy includes a list (obviously, dates change every year) of the religious observances the college knows about – Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Orthodox Christian, Hindu, Ba’hai). The policy is not limited to those, but I guess they’re trying to highlight the ones most likely to come up.

        This seems like something that should be routine in public schools/universities.

    4. Looby_Lou*

      Reinventing the wheel is not efficient!

      The original letter sounds well written so why not use it as a template for another religion?

      I would actually take issue with these letters being circulated at all. Professional behaviour in the workplace wouldn’t result in any offence to anyone. For context a few years ago we had a cleaner who prayed to Mecca regularly in a stairwell lobby away from the main thoroughfare. Everybody just walked past without comment.

      1. ceiswyn*

        Why would you take an email that talks about accommodations specifically for people who are fasting, and use it for people who aren’t?

          1. anonymath*

            There is no Christian denomination in which all-day fasting for all of Lent is prescribed.

            1. Evan Þ*

              Eastern Orthodox do partially fast (i.e. avoid a whole lot of foods) for all of Lent except Sundays.

          2. kendall^2*

            My understanding is that those “fasting” during Lent refrain from certain foods.
            Muslims fasting during Ramadan do not ingest food or liquid during daylight hours. It’s a very different kind of fasting, with greater possibility of challenges resulting therefrom.

      2. New Jack Karyn*

        “The original letter sounds well written so why not use it as a template for another religion?”

        Because religious observances are not form letters.

    5. Alexis Rosay*

      Yeah, I’ve had many Muslim coworkers in the US and the vast majority did not want others to change their behavior. But I think a general rule about these kinds of PSAs is that even if just a few people might have asked for something, they’ll include it as a blanket rule as a kind of CYA.

      After all, in a private workplace forum I’m in, someone was asking how to respect Muslim coworkers during Ramadan and one Muslim coworker actually did ask that others not eat in front of them. And people who are eager to be respectful and well intentioned then took that as a blanket rule about how to treat all our Muslim coworkers.

  9. Chris too*

    The worker who isn’t going home may be like my husband and I were for years- half of a couple sharing one vehicle, with poor transit options.

    Whichever one of us had to be at work first would be dropped off by the other one, and would have to wait for a couple of hours after the shift ended until the later working person was able to come back with the car. If one or the other of us was unable to stay in the building after our shift ended it would be a massive problem. We tended to work afternoon shifts in industrial type area and sometimes I would have to walk an hour through empty streets to find someplace I could wait inside.

    The letter writer needs to talk to the employee first and figure out why he’s doing this.

    1. AcademiaNut*

      It’s probably best to tell them that it’s not acceptable and why, first, and then ask if there are extenuating circumstances. As an hourly employee, having him hang around his work station after clocking out is a pretty big liability for for the employer. If the answer is “I’m waiting for my ride” it’s not going to make it okay for him to keep doing it, but they might be able to shift his hours to something more convenient.

        1. practical*

          This would be a way to handle it. If he just sat at his workstation reading a book and minding his own no one would care.

        2. Jora Malli*

          Exactly. If there’s a staff break room, that’s where he should be when he’s not on the clock.

      1. Artemesia*

        This. If he must wait for a ride — he must wait somewhere else — if that is the issue he and the boss may be able to identify a comfortable spot to wait that is not in the work area.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          This. I worked somewhere that this was common. Hourly staff was expected to wait for rides outside, in the cafeteria, or in the lobby. Not “on the floor” where you couldn’t tell if they were on the clock.

      2. BRR*

        I like this approach. Trying to figure out the why is too close to prying into someone’s personal life. The LW has to fix the issue of the employee staying in the building and participating in work activities, not figure out why the employee is doing it.

    2. Bagpuss*

      That may be a reason but it doesn’t necessarily change the advice or the fact that his doing what he is currently doing isn’t something that can continue.

      Ideally, if that’s the case, he can find somewhere else such as a break room or reception area where he can wait, if there aren’t any local options such as coffee shops / libraries etc

    3. S*

      Or just let the employee know that waiting in the lobby is okay but he can’t be on the work floor, or something similar–but I agree that the LW needs to be conscious that this is very likely a transportation-related issue.

      1. Chris too*

        I agree the employee should be waiting in the break room or someplace away from the work floor, and I’d definitely talk to them about it. I just feel that Alison’s usually excellent advice in this case was a bit too geared to an urban, transit rich environment, or to the income level of a typical knowledge worker, and “you must leave when your shift is over,” comes across a bit like “let them eat cake.”

    4. anonymous73*

      There’s a difference between hanging around for a bit until you can leave and using that time to butt into other employee’s work conversations and offer unsolicited advice on how to solve a problem or do the work.

    5. All the words*

      I’ve been in that position. Luckily the building had a lobby so I’d just read a book while I waited.

      On the other hand, my former co-worker routinely came to work at 5 a.m. though we were regularly reminded that the building wasn’t open to staff before 6 a.m.. Why? Because he was awake and got bored at home. No matter how often he was told to stop he just couldn’t figure out how to occupy himself until 6 a.m. so kept coming in. He was a long time employee and near retirement so management just gave up on trying to get him to comply.

      Sometimes people just don’t want to be home, but that shouldn’t be made an employers’ problem.

    6. AndersonDarling*

      I used to linger at work while I waited for my second job start time. I would go to a nearby park in the summer, but in the winter the only option was going to a restaurant/coffee house which costs money. So I would hang out at my workstation doing schoolwork. But I definitely kept out of sight. I had the lights turned off on me a few times.

  10. Beth*

    LW1: This is definitely worth speaking up about; you’re not reading too much into this, I’m seeing the same thing you are. But assuming you’re at a US university, I really hate to say it, but I wouldn’t expect anything to come of it right now. My experience in academia is that even when a professor is behaving egregiously badly (think title 9 violations, sexual harassment accusations, evidence of race-, sex-, or disability-based discrimination, and other behavior that is widely condemned), it takes a long time and a LOT of credible accusations and pressure before schools will take action or investigate. Often, the ‘accuser’ ends up leaving the school (whether by their own choice, or due to retaliation/pressure/a negative environment, or simply because they graduated) long before any official action is taken.

    That’s not to say there’s no value in reporting. Having a pile of complaints about a professor does eventually add up, and having evidence of past bad behavior can make a difference in how a future investigation might be handled. I would encourage you to speak up about this IF you can do so without worrying about retaliation from the professor in question. If you need to take classes with him, though, or if you need to rely on him in some other way, then take that into account in thinking about this.

    1. Well...*

      Yes, I’d be surprised if this led to anything. An anonymous complaint is less risky, but also less effective since you can’t exactly follow up on it. It could be this professor or a like-minded colleague who reads the anonymous complaints.

    2. Junior Assistant Peon*

      If this guy is a tenured professor, he could pretty much run around campus naked and get away with it. He’s invincible and he knows it. This is why universities are pretty much the same as 1950’s offices when it comes to sexual harassment, in spite of all the woke posing.

      1. Well...*

        Actually wasn’t a tenured prof fired from Columbia for taking his shirt off while lecturing? There is a line somewhere between “racist” and “naked” but sadly it’s still far too forgiving for tenured profs.

        Obligatory note that the lack of job options in academia make job security a necessity for a viable career. Racism should be one reason to lose your job though.

    3. Ama*

      Yes but OP said the university was actually asking for feedback — in that case I *would* say something (even if I did it anonymously, which I might have done back in my old life as a junior university admin), because it will at least put it on record that someone at the university had a problem with the professor’s email. It may not lead to the kind of response OP would prefer, but I can say from past experience that if no one indicates an issue on a survey or formal request for input, the department heads will just shrug and say “well no one said they had a problem so we don’t need to do anything.” The university I used to work at used to lean on survey responses as their cover for basically *everything.*

      1. Beth*

        This is definitely true, but with OP being a student, I would still caution them to balance the need for the department to get accurate feedback (which def exists!) with their own personal need to continue their academic progress. If they can report anonymously and truly trust it’ll be anonymous, then they should do so. If they don’t need this professor’s support or even neutrality for anything, then they should report.

        If they do need this professor, though, and–let’s say–they’re in a small enough department that the professor might feel able to guess who might’ve complained about them…I’ve seen situations like this go badly for students before, even when feedback was supposedly ‘anonymous’. Addressing a problem professor is important, for sure, but students shouldn’t be the ones to do so at the cost of their own progress.

  11. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP2 (side hustle) – not sure why OP thinks the manager doesn’t know (or at least that Cersei hasn’t told her) as it seems clear to me that she does… probably she tacitly encourages Cersei’s side hustle precisely because she’s been treated a bit poorly by coming back to a more junior (and paid less?) role. Although I think the subtlety here is that the manager knows, but “the company” (HR or whoever) doesn’t. Of course how much that matters depends on individual company policies and so on.

    As far as what Sansa can do, the other option is to encourage the rest of the team to speak up to the manager about the impact on their own workload. Actually I wonder why Sanda isn’t impacted – does she do a different type of work or is it that the manager is also giving her an easier time?

    1. Op2*

      So Cersei has told us that she hasn’t told her manager about the side hustle. That being said, I do agree it’s most likely that he’s figured it out, given all the posts of hers that he’s liked.

      But Sansa and I just aren’t sure! Their manager is one of those types who like every social media post from every one of their employees, and it’s not completely outside the realm of possibility that he just scrolls through his LinkedIn post liking everything he sees. He once told Sansa that he believes it’s his responsibility to engage with his employees’ social media posts because of his high-ranking position. It’s led to some unusual posts. One of his employees posted a link to a pump-and-dump type crypto scheme, and he (the manager) responded with a “congratulations, looks great!” type response.

      I really like your perspective that maybe he’s trying to go a bit easy on Cersei! It would be a kindness on his part, and I do think he tries to be a kind person.

      1. Juniper*

        Thanks for chiming in Op2. I responded further down, but do you know if her demotion was carried out according to protocol? I can only speak for Norway, where I am, but the company may have opened themselves up to legal trouble if they didn’t follow a strict process for changing her position so dramatically.

        1. Op2*

          So I actually went and checked our handbook, and from what I, in my definitely-not-a-lawyer wisdom, can tell, it looks like it was all done legally? The team’s scope changed as part of an early 2022 restructuring. There’s a legit flowchart in there for cases like this, and it looks like manager’s/HR’s responsibility was to find a position for her that is, quoting from our handbook, “the same career level or one career level below”. And that would fit given the role Cersei now has.

      2. anonymous73*

        That’s all irrelevant though. If Cersei missing deadlines is directly impacting anyone’s work, then that person should speak to manager and only about the affect on their work. The reason behind the missing deadlines is nobody’s business and should not be the thing you’re focused on.

  12. Anallamadingdong*

    When I was interviewed for my current job, I was given a list of the interview questions, upon arrival, and asked to read over it for a short time before the actual interview. I now know it is standard practice for our company for management and administrative level interviews. The HR director who conducts these interviews feels that providing these questions ahead of time helps to relieve some anxiety in potential candidates and allows them to get better answers to their questions and to have a more in depth conversation about the role and how they might fit.
    I think it is a great practice that could benefit both the interviewee and the companies looking to fill position.

    1. Just my 4 cents*

      I love this for everyone, but especially for individuals who have anxiety, those who are processors vs being able to spout out answers right away, etc!

    2. Lily*

      I 100% agree with this. I’ve known so many people who were great interviewees and crap workers, and so many people who struggle with interviews but excel at their jobs (like me).

  13. Sophia*

    I totally get why the #1 E-mail written was taken as being aggressive, etc.

    That being said, I always find it funny that people assume everyone is the US knows about good Friday, etc.

    I grew up in the US and am generally well educated. But other than knowing there are bunnies and eggs on Easter, I can’t tell you a thing about Good Friday, Easter, etc. Is it polite not to schedule meetings on Friday?? Monday?? What do people do to celebrate this stuff? Is it a celebration or a recognition? Will my coworkers be tired? Is good Friday the day that people have black spots on their foreheads so I shouldn’t politely tell them their face has a spot? Or is that another day? Was there something in all that about clam chowder?

    Honestly, I would appreciate an e-mail explaining how to be mindful of every somewhat common religious holiday.

    1. Cricket*

      I work for a large healthcare system, and I work closely with many people who celebrate Ramadan, Easter, or Passover at this time of year. Everyone is different in the degrees to which they observe their religious holidays. Some people celebrate Orthodox Easter, which is a week after the Easter most denominations celebrate. It’s a truly diverse workplace. The most common thread is that none of this is a huge deal at work! On Ash Wednesday, some people came in with ashes on their foreheads. On Palm Sunday and Easter, some of my coworkers aligned their break times to attend mass at the hospital’s chapel. Lots of people are still currently fasting for Ramadan. And it comes up occasionally, as many things do in casual conversation. But otherwise? People are just people. In a functional, normal workplace, provided you work in a secular field, your religious observances are just not going to come up that much. Most observant adults have been practicing their religion for their entire life and know how to go to school or work as normal.

      I totally see what you’re saying about the assumption that people just “know” about all this stuff, though. Until I started this job, I had very little awareness of the diversity among different religious observances and celebrations. It’s so interesting.

      1. Cricket*

        I think I misspoke about Orthodox Easter. THIS YEAR it is a week later, but I believe that changes as Orthodox Easter is in a different calendar altogether. But someone please correct me if I’m wrong in my correction. :)

        1. Emi*

          It’s a week later about half the time, but they’re both based on astronomical cycles so it varies.

        2. Kotow*

          It *is* on a different calendar though in most years they tend to fall a week or two apart. But that’s not universal; last year it was about a month and in 2025 they’ll be on the same day. There was one year where they were almost as far out as possible; March 22nd in most Churches versus May 4th or 5th in the Orthodox Churches. Our Lent was beginning as theirs was close to ending!

        3. Clisby*

          Yes, sometimes Orthodox Easter falls on the same day as “regular” Easter, but not always.
          Orthodox Christmas is later than “regular” Christmas as well.

        4. Aitch Arr*

          “The Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council in 325 AD […] decreed that [Orthodox] Easter was to be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox but always after Passover”, using the Julian calendar.

          Long story short, we usually get our Reese’s Eggs at 50% off. ;)

      2. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        FYI Ramadan is not always in the spring. The Islamic lunar calendar is about 355 days long, so this holiday moves around the (western) calendar and can happen at any time of year. (It’s predictable, not random; but it’s definitely not always in the spring.)

    2. JK78*

      Yeah, Op #1 please say something! I’m just shocked that Passover was NOT mentioned. While I appreciate the concept of informing people about a holiday they may not know a lot about, I think would have been better to do a sort of “Special Days in this month” email. I’d even so far to mention April Fools! Give a little background on THAT, take religion as much as possible OUT of the equation. Have religion be more of a side note than a focal point. Mention Earth Day and Arbor Day as well, either be inclusive or don’t do it!

      As for being “mindful,” I’d drop that entire concept because honestly come Mother’s Day, would the thought be to NOT talk about mothers because of the people who have lost their mothers or could never be a mother? On the other hand, I’m sure it’s awkward to explain that “Happy Yom Kippur” is not something that goes over well but I’d say schedule the meetings/whatever and see who warns you that a reschedule might be better.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        The purpose of the initial email was actionable “this holiday is going on, be prepared for requests for accommodations from students”.
        There’s no practical purpose in mentioning random events like April Fools.

      2. Nanani*

        … what?

        I think you need to read the OP again.
        A diversity office email about a minority (in that area) religious holiday is not an edict about every special day.
        Your feelings about hallmark holidays have nothing at all to do with religious inequality.

      3. Mona-Lisa Saperstein*

        IDK, I see a LOT of Mother’s Day posts about people who can’t be mothers, or are playing mother roles but aren’t called “mother,” or are dealing with infertility, etc. I am a mom of two, but I have several friends who have struggled a lot with infertility, and I really appreciate seeing those posts. It doesn’t take away from me being a mom to recognize that my friend has had 6 miscarriages and doesn’t know if the public will ever recognize her as a mom on Mother’s Day. I think it’s important to be aware of others’ struggles/concerns, which is pretty much what the first professor was trying to do with the Ramadan email.

      4. quill*

        The professor who sent the second email 100% on purpose would not have added Passover.

        The intent of an email about religious holidays that don’t have a fixed calendar date is so professors and other students can be aware and adjust their schedules / allow students to adjust their schedules accordingly. You don’t need to do that for holidays that have a fixed date or fixed “nth Xday of Month”, which are overwhelmingly on either federal holidays or weekends.

      5. TransmascJourno*

        Actually, saying “Happy Yom Kippur” is totally fine. For Jews, it’s a day of atonement, but that unto itself is considered a good, joyful thing. That’s why we say “yom tov” or “good yuntif” to each other—it literally translates into “good day,” but the contextual feel to it is akin to “happy holiday.”

        That being said, comparing important holidays for minority communities to things like Arbor Day or April Fool’s really misses the mark.

    3. anonymous73*

      The issue with sending out a generic information based email about a specific religion assumes that all people of said religion observe in the same way.

      1. SnappinTerrapin*

        True. But there is no harm in reminding people, who may or not be aware of their colleagues’ faiths, to at least be mindful of and respectful toward their observances, whatever they may be.

        Unfortunately, there are many people who take it as a matter of pride when they are able to disrespect someone with whom they disagree. That may or may not be what the second professor did, but it is clear that at least some people are directing toward him the attitude they condemn him for.

        The irony would be amusing, if the truth weren’t so serious.

    4. Nanani*

      You don’t need to assume everyone knows about Easter – it’s on the majority’s calendar and a lot of institutions (including LW1s) have it as a day off.
      “but IIII don’t know this holiday” isn’t the gotcha you seem to think it is.

      1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        Easter is always on a Sunday. Most institutions and non-retail companies already have Sundays off.

        1. Nanani*

          That doesn’t change the fact that it’s on the calendar, and a lot of institutions give Easter Monday off. It’s well known where LW1 is and no amount of whataboutism changes that. It’s in the letter.

          1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

            The Easter Monday thing is interesting. I’ve actually never worked anyplace that had days off for Good Friday or Easter Monday, but most of my work experience has been in retail shops or large corporations. This might be a regional thing? (My wife once worked at a game company in San Francisco where they got both days off but it was explicitly because the owners were European and were used to those being paid days off.)

      2. Sophia*

        I’ve never had any day related to Easter off. Honestly Easter crosses my mind so little, I typically couldn’t tell you what month it’s in and that it’s always on a Sunday. (Growing up Easter wasn’t a big thing in our house – I think I’ve been Easter egg hunting 2-3 times in my life).

        That being said, I’ve always lived on the west coast and worked in very secular fields, I mentored a young Muslim woman once, and my best friends growing up were Hindu and Budhist.

        It’s just funny to me that I can have such a complete unawareness of a topic that apparently is just supposed to be a given.

  14. Knitting Cat Lady*

    Sansa needs to stop picking up Cersei’s slack. Let her miss deadlines.
    And if you are in the country I think you are (Germany) she won’t get fired for this.

    1. Myrin*

      If they were in Germany, Cersei would highly likely be contractually required to inform her employer about her side hustle, so this wouldn’t even be a question.

      1. Worker Bee (Germany)*

        Coming here to say the same. If this is Germany, she will be fired as she very very likely has a legal obligation to request approval for additional jobs outside her main job from her main jobs employer.

      2. Op2*

        I’d interpreted Knitting Cat Lady’s comment as being that Sansa won’t get fired if she doesn’t pick up Cersei’s slack – and that’s very true! Sansa’s worry isn’t so much that she’d lose her job if she doesn’t pick up Cersei’s work, but that if their manager discovers that Sansa knew Cersei is missing deadlines because she’s working another job on company time, while getting significant company benefits, and while also getting paid (a small salary) by this side hustle, that she might face disciplinary action for not speaking up.

        And although we’re not in Germany, Myrin and Worker Bee are both right that Cersei does indeed have a responsibility to disclose her job to our employer. That one’s quite clear on our HR portal. And she hasn’t, officially.

        1. Knitting Cat Lady*

          Wait, she’s doing it on company time?!
          Oh for fuck’s sake, Sansa needs to talk to her boss, like, yesterday.

  15. Juniper*

    The boss in LW2 might be tacitly endorsing the side hustle because there’s a good chance they’re on shaky legal ground for changing Cersei’s position to the degree they did. This sounds like it could be one of the Scandinavian countries, and here there’s a lengthy process that has to be gone through before you can alter a job description in a fundamental way. If her role was made a lot more junior, then that sounds exactly like what happened and they didn’t do this by the book. So yeah, they’re maybe hoping that if they look the other way she won’t complain to the labor inspection authorities.

    1. Karia*

      Or that they just feel bad for Cersei. I feel bad for her – burnout is often a systemic problem, and they’ve punished her for it with a demotion and likely lower pay. I appreciate that operating two jobs simultaneously is causing problems, and it’s something I’m normally against. But if my company had behaved this way to an otherwise good employee, I’d be reluctant to give Cersei too much grief over it.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        … And they’re probably reluctant to hold her to account too much for the missed deadlines etc, for fear of bringing on the burnout again.

  16. Alanis*

    LW#4 An interview in my field will always use structured questions but could also include a presentation, a skills test and meeting peers for a culture fit conversation. I have been ‘surprised’ with all of the above and also pre-warned of all of the above. I certainly prefer being pre-warned if there is going to be anything unusual happening during the interview. Could this be what the student was inquiring about?

    1. londonedit*

      It’s similar in my industry – for the vast majority of the interviews I’ve had, the invitation to interview has included a short line along the lines of ‘Please allow around an hour for the interview. The interview will take the form of a discussion of relevant skills and experience with Tabitha Jones, Editorial Director, and Wakeen Smith, Commissioning Editor, followed by a short editorial test that should take no more than 15 minutes to complete’. It’s really helpful because it sets out exactly who you’re meeting and you also know in advance that there will be a test of your editorial skills (it’s usually copy-editing or proofreading a page or so, but I’ve also had some that included writing up a paragraph of marketing copy, depending on the scope of the role). It’s something I’m very used to seeing, so I’d assume that’s the sort of thing the student was looking for (though I’ve never heard it described as a ‘brief of the interview agenda’).

    2. CoveredinBees*

      This could be it and they just chose some awkward wording. I have had scheduling issues come up when I was told “You will be interviewing with Fergus Mc Teapot.” when I was actually meeting with them, then doing an hour+ mock assignment, and then getting back together with Fergus and Bob to go over the assignment. Another required me to fill out a paper application (which was a repeat of my resume in a field that doesn’t usually use paper applications) before the interview but didn’t tell me, so it messed up everyone’s timing. Now, I specifically ask about timing and what I should anticipate, including the name of the person I’m meeting with.

    3. Tupac Coachella*

      This was my thought as well. IME it’s not unusual for a higher ed interview to include multiple elements. I’ve seen everything from a fairly traditional 30-60 minute panel interview (it’s always been a panel in higher ed for some reason) to a full day with presentations, multiple group meetings, and a dinner. If the student had been clued into this in some way (bad career center? “helpful” relative/friend?), they may have assumed something more like the latter and wondered if they needed to be prepared for something extra. It’s awkward wording, but I wouldn’t hold it against them to ask about what to expect.

  17. Lisa*

    Regarding the salary transparency post, this is something that’s super important to me as well.

    But I just had a weird thought about it the other day. Is it possible that if this becomes common practice in private sectors that employers will start comparing their ranges against others, based on what they see in postings, and use that to sort of band together and drive average salaries down? What’s to stop them from collectively deciding that a role paying $100k should now be worth $90k?

    1. Other Alice*

      Wage fixing is already a problem in some industries, IANAL but I believe it’s illegal in most countries based on antitrust laws. That said, I’m hoping at least some companies would still offer competitive salaries, if only to attract talent.

    2. CoveredinBees*

      I’ve been part of multiple industries that already do this, without salaries posted. It is also in a company’s interest to post higher numbers (even if part of a range) to attract more applicants.

      1. Be kind, rewind*

        Agree with the last part. I’m in biotech/pharma in Boston, so talent is in high demand: I could totally see companies trying to one-up each other to attract more talent.

    3. ArtK*

      In the US, that would be a violation of antitrust laws. Some years ago, the major animation studios got caught doing this and lost big-time.

  18. bamcheeks*

    No one responded to the email.

    Man, I bet he’s FURIOUS.

    It’s obviously important to have an institutional response to this kind of thing, but sometimes it’s so obviously just trolling to try and provoke a reaction so he can flap his hands around and claim that he’s been cancelled, and I live the idea of everyone just completely ignoring it.

    1. librarianmom*

      Yeah — Just roll your eyes and move on. This is toddler behavior and doesn’t deserve attention.

  19. Delta Delta*

    #1 – I’ll be interested to see an update, if there is one. Because this is academia, I suspect there will be a flurry of feedback about this guy, and the institution will do a fat lot of nothing. No – wait. The institution will put out a toothless-but-good-sounding statement and form a committee, and then they’ll do nothing.

    1. NotMy(Fancy)RealName*

      Sounds about right. There’s a student at my daughter’s college that formed a club that seems to be all about being persecuted for his religion. He sends multiple emails per week to all of the student body about how terrible they all are and this week the Dean of Students sent an email chiding the student body for making fun of him. Nobody has interfered with his club in any way – they wrote articles in the satirical paper and hung banners for events that probably reference his emails, although there is some plausible deniability there.

  20. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    “I’ve found a company’s transparency around pay reflects their commitment to equity so I’m going to pass, but maybe you can pass along that feedback.”

    I find this very forceful, bordering on rude. I mean, there are times to be rude and aggressive, but I feel that “during job hunting” is only one of them if you have a lot of capital/are a unicorn in your field.

    1. CoveredinBees*

      It doesn’t look like they are job hunting. Recruiters are reaching out to them. In high-demand fields, you can cover your LinkedIn profile in “I love my job and I never want to leave!” and recruiters will still send you messages. I find the wording a bit clunky but not particularly rude.

      1. BuildMeUp*

        Yes, I don’t think the wording would work if the OP were job hunting and/or reaching out to recruiters themselves, but if they’re just getting cold emailed, they have nothing to lose by framing it this way.

    2. NoviceManagerGuy*

      Yes, I feel like the advice here is so valuable because it’s realistic about who’s in a position to change what while not justifying things that are wrong, but that for the vast majority of people, this advice would be counterproductive.

    3. June*

      Yes. It’s totally over the top. All of it comes across as very aggressive. A simple “can you please provide the salary range” is simple, not loaded with animosity, and most likely will be accommodated. If Company does NOT, then the script can be used. But you don’t start out with a hostile tone.

        1. Nanani*

          I’m going to guess it’s the part where a member of a historically underpaid group dares to ask for fairness. That reads as aggressive to the comfy and privileged.

            1. Paris Geller*

              Agreed. I’m shocked by how many people are reading this as rude and aggressive. It’s certainly direct, but I would not call it aggressive at all.

      1. Two Dog Night*

        But the OP’s goal is to get more companies to post salaries in their job ads, for everyone’s benefit. The more people push back against job ads with no salary info, whether through a recruiter or with the company directly, the more common posting salary info will become. If OP feels like they can spare the capital to push back on this, more power to them.

      2. Sparkles McFadden*

        The LW is replying to unsolicited recruiter queries and using it as an opportunity to make a valuable point. So…good on LW.

    4. Oakwood*

      “What’s the salary range? I don’t want to waste our time if we’re not in the same ballpark.”

      They usually come back with: what would be your salary requirements?

      1. Loredena*

        Sure. But the point is the LW specifically wants to see it included in job postings as a point of equity. They aren’t asking for a range specific to themselves

    5. Nanani*

      Thanks tone police. Your contributions to *checks notes* the struggle to get pay equity for people whose tone is constantly policed, has been duly noted.

      Also they’re not job hunting, they’re being scouted by recruiters.
      Exactly the kind of situation where one does, indeed, have a lot of capital.

      1. Fuzzyfuzz*

        If the LW truly wants to enact change, you catch more flies with honey. It’s likely that using off-putting/rude language is less likely to get the effect that you say you want.

        Actually achieving the change you want to see > being self important.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          “Catch more flies with honey”, “be the bigger person”, really any version of “put on a smile when being treated poorly so you don’t upset people” has been used to keep disenfranchised people down for a long time. Think about why you’re advocating for that and who it actually benefits.

          1. Fuzzyfuzz*

            Having someone not disclose salary requirements is not “being treated so poorly…” I actually think the OP’s original script was good and got her point across.

            1. Eldritch Office Worker*

              Systemic and culturally accepted practices that impact pay equity are poor treatment of potential candidates.

              Regardless, the OP isn’t trying to catch flies. The flies are there on their own. OP is giving them professional guidance on their practices (or their clients’ practices) that they should hear.

        2. Purple Cat*

          Can you parse out exactly what is off-putting/rude about Alison’s script and provide your proposed alternative that is more “honey”?

        3. BuildMeUp*

          The language does not read as rude to me in the least. It is direct and straightforward. Maybe you should examine why you are interpeting someone from a marginalized group asking for a move toward pay equity as rudeness.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            The language does not read as rude to me in the least. It is direct and straightforward. Maybe you should examine why you are interpeting someone from a marginalized group asking for a move toward pay equity as rudeness.

            Using maybe here is what makes it rude and passive-aggressive to me. The same statement with please instead does not come cross as rude.

            1. BuildMeUp*

              I don’t understand this response, are you referring to the language Alison used or the language in my comment?

              1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                I’ve found a company’s transparency around pay reflects their commitment to equity so I’m going to pass, but maybe you can pass along that feedback.

                would read less aggressively hostile to me as

                I’ve found a company’s transparency around pay reflects their commitment to equity so I’m going to pass. Please relay my feedback to the hiring authority.

                1. BuildMeUp*

                  “Maybe you can pass it along” isn’t passive aggressive – it’s leaving the onus on the recruiter to decide whether they want to pass it on, rather than requesting that they pass it on, which is what your suggested wording does. And absolutely none of this wording is “hostile.” Wow.

                2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                  Different regions have different standards and manners. YMMV and obviously does.

    6. fhqwhgads*

      Really? I don’t find it at all forceful, just straightforward. And nowhere near rude.

    7. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      To catch a lot of comments at once, I think this may be partly cultural. I’m British, and we are not known for being direct, so I found “I’m going to pass” very abrupt. In fact I don’t think I’d ever use that phrase unless deliberately rudely.

      The first clause (“I’ve found … equity”) is strong in a good way, and it’s only the latter part I found surprising.

      I’m going to think about how my privilege would play into my answer, though. Thanks for the prompt to do so.

  21. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

    Letter 1 makes me remember back when a work group chat I’m part of wanted to request Easter eggs as a “perk”… Bob, our country still forces Catholic holidays and imagery onto people, can’t you give people of other (or no) beliefs a break?

  22. Popinki*

    This professor has been very vocal about his opinion that “free speech on campus is in crisis” and that white, conservative, Christian, heterosexual men like himself are disenfranchised and unwelcomed at universities.

    Oh, yes, I know soooooo many of these. They’re everywhere, not just in academia. The only free speech they care about is their own, and oppression is anyone outside their demographic doing something they don’t like (including being outside their demographic.) I applaud OP1 for wanting to do the right thing and wish them luck because they’re gonna need it.

    1. Barb*

      Something I read (probably here) which has been resounding in my head ever since:

      “When you are used to privilege, equality feels like oppression”

      I think this explains so much.

      1. Just chiming in*

        ^^^ yep.
        Because, I’ve been told, “the pie is only so big” and “I worked hard to get here and others should work as hard, too.” (Always interesting to unpack that notion of “worked hard” with some people…)

  23. Policy Wonk*

    RE: LW5, I recommend you talk to the employee about what is going on. I had a case like this where it turned out my employee carpooled with his girlfriend who got off an hour later than he did, so he hung around until she was ready to leave. He generally wasn’t working, just surfed the net. We did have to set some rules around what he could and could not do to be clear he was not working.

    1. No longer working*

      I agree – It could be a case of waiting for a ride, waiting indoors till it’s time to catch their bus or train, waiting to meet a friend at a particular time, or killing time before an event or a meeting. They should be clocked out/signed out & be quiet though, and not chime in regarding work.

    2. Carole Singer*

      Thanks. I will dig into this, but if this person is waiting around for some purpose, I’ll ask him to wait in a nearby and out-of-sight breakroom.

    3. anonymous73*

      There’s a difference between waiting around for a ride, and inserting yourself into other employee’s work conversations and causing issues/confusion.

      1. Rocket*

        But they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The employee is hanging around at work (possibly) waiting for a ride, not occupying himself with anything else, and butts into somebody else’s work conversation. I don’t see what’s hard to grasp about that possibility.

  24. I should really pick a name*

    Because the professor has cut and pasted the email, you could respond highlighting the areas that don’t apply to good Friday. “Can you give some examples of accommodations that may be needed?”

    The side job is a red herring. Sansa is missing deadlines and skipping meetings. That’s the problem that needs to be addressed. How to deal with it is a discussion between Sansa and her manager.

    1. JamminOnMyPlanner*

      I did have to miss my 3 hour night class when I was a student because it was Maundy Thursday and I went to the service….

      It wasn’t a big deal, though. I just let my professor know I wasn’t going to be there….

      I don’t think it would be a bad idea to send out information about Christian holidays since students might have to miss class for Maundy Thursday or Good Friday services. Even though I grew up Christian, I hadn’t ever heard of Maundy Thursday until I was 25.

  25. Yellow*

    LW4 I think it perfectly reasonable for someone to ask what the plan is for the interview. You know what the plan is and what you expect – they’ll interview better if they have some idea what is expected of them.

    I’ve done a lot of differently styled interviews, from what can you tell us about our X (aka have you memorised our website), to skills tests and presentations, to formal group questions in the tell us about a time when … format, to 6+ hour long affairs that rambled through lots of different topics. There’s the ones where they tell you what to answer so they can tick it off, and the ones where it’s more like starting the job already.

    I would have done a lot better in some of these if I knew what they wanted in advance. I was literally asked about return to work policies following a workplace injury in one graduate recruitment program I applied for – to this day I wonder if they had a really high workplace injury rate to make that relevant [I did not get the job].

  26. MI Dawn*

    Historically, my employer gives us all legal holidays (when the US stock market is closed) off. Late last year, they declared that Good Friday would no longer be a legal company holiday, as they are trying to be more diverse and inclusive. Instead, that day would be given as a floating holiday. Employees could decide if they wanted to use it for ANY religious holiday they chose or, as just a floating holiday. They simply had to let their supervisor know by a certain date.

    I stuck with Good Friday because I like 3 day weekends. But I know several of my coworkers were in the office that day, delighted that they could take off their own important days without having to use vacation time.

    1. Anon for this*

      Several years ago, I worked for a company that did something similar, and additionally added MLK Day to the list of official company holidays. You would have thought that the executive team had personally performed the Crucifixion by the way some employees were acting. It was embarrassing.

  27. Nonny*

    For #1, you would at least think the prof would be embarrassed about the plagiarism of copying the first email almost verbatim.

    1. June*

      The Professor did this purposely to prove an obnoxious point. It was his INTENT to plagiarize.

      1. pancakes*

        Copying language to make a point the way he did is much closer to satire than plagiarism. It’s not comparable to copying someone else’s creative or scholarly work and trying to pass it off as one’s own. It’s kind of wild how many commenters here don’t seem to have a good handle on this.

  28. ResuMAYDAY*

    I read ‘interview agenda’ as wanting to know if this will be a 1:1, a panel, a 4-hour time suck with assessments, or something else. He has probably spent the past year listening to older family talking about their nightmare interviews (expecting a 30-minute 1:1 and being stuck there for three hours) and wanted to avoid this, if possible. Good for him! And employers, start being upfront about what type of time your in-person interviews will actually require.

    1. tiny*

      Exactly this. If I had been invited to an interview and not given an end time, my attempt at a polite hint to give me one might look a lot like asking for an agenda.

  29. Jam on Toast*

    I went to a university in a large metropolitan area that had a significant Jewish population. The school calendar included the major Jewish holidays alongside the usual provincial and federal ones. It’s the only university I’ve attended that did this. For me (atheist, with Christian family background), the days off that I had no direct religious connection to were marvelous. A whole extra day to finish Professor Snicklefritz’s essay! Hooray! For folks who practiced, they could do so without feeling like they had to choose between their faith and their education. It was a valuable experience. Professor Complainer would have hated it on principle, I’m sure.

    1. alienor*

      My daughter’s public university also does the Jewish holidays as well as Juneteenth, which I’m glad about even though we don’t celebrate any of those specific holidays ourselves.

      (And, alternate side parking rules are suspended for a vast array of holidays including Eid, Diwali, Purim, and the Immaculate Conception, which is a huge deal if you have a car in NYC and park on the street.)

  30. June*

    How about just asking the salary range without bringing all of the politics into it? A simple “can you provide the salary range” is a reasonable question.

    1. Emily*

      It’s a good idea, but my experience has been that if it’s not in the posting, at least half the time the recruiter refuses to give me a number, so in most cases you still have to decide what to say after they do this.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        Yes, but it makes the point.
        If the recruiter gets a number of people asking for salary, and then not pursuing the opportunity when it isn’t provided, they’ll notice and may bring it up with companies that they work with.

        1. MsM*

          And the companies will likely just shrug unless they actually start seeing it as a best practice issue they need to implement in order to keep up. A lot of nonprofits may claim they’ve started being more transparent about salary for equity reasons, but the real reason is because there’s been a huge upswell of public pressure in the field for everyone to start doing it. The fact there’s all this weird reflexive cringing going on in the comments about being willing to say “it’s important to me to work somewhere that actually walks the walk on supporting employees like me, and if this company isn’t one of those kinds of places, don’t waste my time” frankly tells me it needs to stop being this quiet, individually handled conversation, and actually be a thing people are comfortable stating upfront. Much like disclosing salaries to your coworkers, in fact.

        2. Emily*

          It should make the point, but they still keep trying to continue the conversation/get you on the phone, so you still at that point are either ignoring or being more explicit about it.

    2. Dr. Rebecca*

      Because the politics are there whether or not you talk about them, and talking about them is the ethical thing to do–the rising tide that lifts all boats. It’s been shown that when salary ranges aren’t posted/offered, it disadvantages women, people of color, and anyone else who is marginalized or has reasons to avoid negotiation (whether due to inexperience, lack of confidence, or a history of their group being seen as “aggressive” or “shrill” for self-advocacy.) So we should name the problem and give it attention.

    3. Nanani*

      The politics are already there.
      That’s why transparency is such a big deal.

      Explain why, and you make it clear that you have a reason not to accept a lack of answer or a vague garbage answer like “it varies depending on experience and negotiation”

    4. BuildMeUp*

      “Politics” is a weird way of framing wanting people to be paid the same for doing the same work. There are some gross comments here today.

      1. quill*

        It’s a sad and exhausting truth that any attempt to make things fairer for people overall, rather than just you / your immediate family and friends is “political” these days. Moderates: sitting on the fence does not help when one side is people saying “I’d like a fair shake” and the other side is a pit of crocodiles.

    5. Ginger Pet Lady*

      Because “leaving politics out of it” means there is no advocacy for much needed change in power structures and pay disparities!
      Those NEED to be addressed. “Leaving politics out of it” only benefits the current exploitative systems.

    6. Not A Manager*

      “How about just asking the salary range without bringing all of the politics into it?”

      Because the “politics” are the point. The OP specifically says that she finds this “especially troubling because this must inevitably be playing a role in continuing pay inequality. I belong to an underrepresented group in my industry, a group which has historically been underpaid.”

      What she wants is for everyone to be able to see the pay range for all jobs, so that they have a sense of the actual market scale for their skills. This isn’t addressed by each individual asking for the pay range for every specific job posting.

    7. Sparkles McFadden*

      The LW is using the situation to shed light on a serious issue in hiring practices. The is bring “all of the politic into it.” The politics are already there.

  31. anonymous73*

    It doesn’t matter what Sansa knows about Cersei, she needs to stay out of it unless it directly impacts her work. In fact, anyone who is directly affected by Cersei missing deadlines needs to speak up to the manager. And they should ONLY bring up the fact of how Cersei is impacting their ability to get their work done. The reason behind the missing deadlines is nobody’s business.

  32. Oakwood*

    Re: recruiters and salary

    There’s an old sales axiom that you never discuss price with the customer till you have gotten them enthusiastic about the product.

    Most recruiters would deny it, but recruiting is a sales function. You sell the recruit on the job and you sell the company on the recruit.

    Recruiters want to get you excited about the product (the job); they want to get the vision in your head of you working at Company-X, then (when they’ve got you on the hook) will they spring the low salary on you.

    1. Metadata minion*

      I think most people are aware of how manipulative salespeople and recruiters are.

    2. Allonge*

      I mean – if they would rather waste (their) time that is ok I suppose? Most people who will buy a slow cooker based on a good sell will still not take a job for less than they need / want / deserve to be paid, no matter what vision is presented to them.

      Also, not sure if this works in the other direction. If a company wants an engineer, they will probably not hire an accountant or cleaner, even with an amazing sell.

      1. Oakwood*

        And yet, this site is full of stories of people who took less money at a job because it was an amazing job/company/opportunity or charity/non-profit/school.

    3. Nanani*

      Do you think ‘splaining recruiting somehow makes lack of transparency okay?
      Because it doesn’t.

      1. Oakwood*

        Nope, I don’t think it’s OK. But I think people need to realize what’s going on.

        And no, I don’t think everybody already knows this, or recruiters wouldn’t keep doing it and applicants wouldn’t keep falling for it.

        1. Nanani*

          Just the fact that you describe it as “falling for it” and not, yknow, people trying to get by in an unfair system says even more about you than your first comment did.
          None of it good.

      1. Oakwood*

        You know what gets people excited about a used car? A low price.

        That’s never stoped a used car salesman from selling them for a high price.

    4. librarianmom*

      The problem is that people do not want to be treated like objects to be manipulated and used for someone else’s objective. Sure, the recruiter has a financial interest in getting the job seeker to be hired. But when that factor overides the needs of the job seeker and the employer, the recruiter is not doing their job properly.

    5. JustaTech*

      And nothing diminishes my interest in a product or service like not being able to find the price anywhere. If I can’t find the price of a product in 10 clicks on a website I assume that it’s being deliberately hidden, because if I saw it I would not want the product.
      It’s also incredibly common with MLMs, hardly a bastion of best business practices.

    6. Karia*

      The problem is that this just wastes everybody’s time. With one recruiter I was explicit that I was looking for WFH / hybrid and that I was looking for more work life balance. She told me what I wanted to hear, the hiring manager was clear that it was an intense role and I was expected in office. Nothing was gained and I won’t work with her in future.

    7. SnappinTerrapin*

      True. But when I was selling cars, I learned a valuable lesson: Figure out the customer’s target budget first. If you develop their enthusiasm for a car they can’t afford, it’s nearly impossible to develop the same enthusiasm for something lesser. They wind up going somewhere else to buy.

      And there is an awkward dance involved, because customers (understandably) want to play their cards close to the vest. They, too, have heard of how manipulative sales people can be.

      The same principles apply to recruiting. If you develop a prospect’s for a job, only to learn it pays half of what they are currently making, you can bet they will go somewhere else, fast, to continue their job search.

  33. Emily*

    #3- I just got to use Alison’s suggested language back to a recruiter who sent a posting without a salary range and DANG, that feels good! Thanks for that perfect wording, Alison!

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      I don’t work in a field where recruiters are common but I admit, I’ve been doing my own personal version of this, since my current job is good-enough-for-now – if salary is not posted (or if the process is too ridiculous) I don’t apply. It feels amazing!! I just wish there was a way to give them feedback because I’m sure they’re not picking up on the issue. Sadly I might end up needing a job so a pointed email is probably just going to sink my own reputation without fixing anything.

      1. Hen in a Windstorm*

        I applied for a job recently that 1) didn’t include salary and 2) had the audacity to ask for my range. I discovered that was a free text box, so I said, “I’m sure Company already has a salary range for this position. I’d be happy to talk about it if I get moved to the next stage.”

    2. Grey Coder*

      I am in a similar situation to OP3 — I have highly sought-after skills and regularly get unsolicited messages from recruiters. I generally ignore them but I think I might start responding now if they don’t include a salary range. I have zero concerns about burning bridges because (a) I like my current job well enough I may retire from here, and (b) see above re having in-demand skills.

  34. SMH*

    OP1 If the Ramadan professor had copied the Easter email instead of vice versa would it have still rubbed you the wrong way? Always consider why something doesn’t seem right and then reverse it and see if it still is an issue. I think the professor was lazy and just sent out the same email with five words changed because he didn’t want to take the time to draft a new email. Perfectly fine to push back or offer feedback on why a new email wasn’t drafted but I wouldn’t read more into it without more evidence.

    1. MsM*

      I think there was ample evidence offered in the additional context OP provided. Why exactly did you choose to skip over all that?

    2. I should really pick a name*

      The reverse wouldn’t have happened.
      The Easter email never would have been sent if the Ramadan email had not been sent.

      1. SMH*

        Agreed because so few people take the time to send out notifications on Christian holiday’s. Professor saw the one on Ramadan and decided to send out one on Easter-without the first email he wouldn’t have thought to send one out on his own. If one email is out on one religious holiday why not on both?

        I don’t think I would assign a negative intent or context immediately. Go have a conversation with the Professor and talk to him and ask him his intent. Let him know how it came across especially because he copied the original email. So many people send out emails without realizing how they are being perceived and it can be beneficial to have that dialogue. The Professor could still be a tool but the objection seems to be because the other email was copied and because he was using a Christian holiday vs another religion. I don’t think OP is stating no one should have been notified of Easter but it was the way it was done.

        1. Jennifer Strange*

          Agreed because so few people take the time to send out notifications on Christian holiday’s.

          Because Christian holidays are already well-known even to those who don’t practice them.

          If one email is out on one religious holiday why not on both?

          The same reason there isn’t a White History Month.

    3. Bibliothecarial*

      If the Ramadan prof had also been pulling the shenanigans that OP specifically stated the Easter prof did, then yes, there would be a problem. The email is the tip of the iceberg here.

    4. Sloan Kittering*

      Reversing the situation is the classic trap of the person who has more privilege; it allows them to wipe out all the context and history of the existing power relationship. “What if we lived in a world where women were just as likely to physically harm women??” “What if we lived in a world where Christians haven’t traditionally been advantaged over other religions??” Well, we don’t. I’m not saying it’s never a good thought experiment but most of the times it’s lazy and cruel.

    5. Nanani*


      There is no easter email without the ramadan email. Easter is a widely recongnized majority holiday in the place LW1 is. You can’t pretend to live in a flat and equal place and rotate it.
      Power dynamics are real, majorities and minorities aren’t randomly assigned, and the easter email was definitely being a jerk. There is no whatabout to be made here, and if you think there is, you have some self-examination to do around prejudice.

    6. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      This is the logical fallacy that led us to take a hard line in removing ‘all lives matter’ posts from our internal forum – because they always copied the ‘black lives matter’ wording and always came right after a blm post/email. Always.

      If you’re sending out something about a group that is marginalised in society it generally be hooves others to not reply with ‘but what about (insert society majority here)?’

      1. Mona-Lisa Saperstein*

        Yes to all of this, Keymaster. If you are even tempted to ask, “but what about [social majority]?” then you really need to take a step back and do some reflection.

      2. quill*

        Thank you, Keymaster, I’m out of eloquence for today in this thread, and you said it much better than I could.

    7. quill*

      When evaluating people’s actions you do, in fact, need the context of their other actions.

    8. neeko*

      OP gave more than enough evidence. It is really unhelpful to doubt the OPs own read of a situation that they know better than any of us commenters.

  35. BA*

    Re: Letter 1 – The prof is an ass. As is so often the case, it isn’t what you say, but how you say it. And he said it with a point that was beyond educating/reminding (which is how I read the one about Ramadan) and that’s where it makes him an ass.

    I personally would appreciate information and reminders like the first email, because I don’t have the background or experience to know what I really should know. It isn’t something that is top of mind for me, so those reminders help me not make a mistake or put colleagues in an uncomfortable spot. If he’s Catholic, for instance, and there was a Friday lunch meeting, a gentle reminder that a non-meat option during Lent would be appreciated by Catholics would be totally fine. Accommodating your colleagues is part of being a good teammate. He’s obviously not one.

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      Right, if you wanted to say, “maybe don’t make the MeatAThon competition on a Friday during lent, as many of our students might not be able to participate” out of genuine concern and because you truly suspected the organizer didn’t know about this tradition … that is a totally different thing from what happened here.

  36. Sawbonz, MD*

    The poor kid in letter number 4 was probably taking advice from Grandpa (Show some gumption, sonny! Ask for an interview agenda!) or a typically out of touch college employment counselor.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      The language was a little pretentious, but I don’t see a problem with asking for the general form of the interview.

  37. Erin*

    Love the revised verbiage for the non-listed salary info. It delivers the point in a diplomatic & effective way, and it removes the stigma around talking about salary. It also offers an opportunity for an interested hiring manager or recruiter to respond with why salary isn’t listed/if Company A plans on adding it to postings/the range for this role is X.

    Idk why all companies aren’t taking a more proactive approach to listing salary info. They are losing out on soooo many talented candidates by not adding it! Also, companies would save themselves so much time with candidates who get far along in the interview process, only to drop out at the offer stage due to unmet salary expectations.

    1. Just say it's 60-70k*

      LW 3 is fighting the good fight. I would love to see better practice about posting salaries.

      My team is currently hiring and over my objections created a job posting that doesn’t name a salary range. After a week or two, HR gave me an informal update: so many applications, these promising, those not, and several that are “obviously out of our range” based on their resumes.

      Why are we guessing about their salary requirements based on previous roles instead of telling them our range and letting them decide? I’m baffled that HR would rather receive, review, and reject a bunch of resumes that “obviously” won’t work out (and probably miss out on others) when there’s a simple solution: we could provide critical information about the job in the job posting.

      We’re making our own lives harder as well as wasting strangers’ time with this policy, which in the very best-case scenario, um… I suppose the BCS would be that no one in management is actually *using* the opportunity that it provides to underpay people. So the best case is that no one benefits in any way and the worst case is that current employees are actively harmed by it AND the hiring process is less efficient for us and for candidates both. The company is small enough that there isn’t even puffery potential for HR in driving up the number of applicants!

      I doubt one email from a potential applicant would shake any of that loose, but 20 might. Thank you to this LW for being +1.

      1. TIRED*

        But if the process was more efficient then HR might have less to do and wouldn’t be able to justify their work finding the “really really difficult nearly impossible to find perfect candidates.” (sarcasm) Seriously, HR finds a way to mess up the hiring process at so many places. I’m starting to cynically think they are intentionally part of the fight against salary transparency so they can keep themselves employed.

  38. Veryanon*

    Letter 1 – I think that professor is friends with an employee at my workplace who similarly complained about a post about Ramadan on our company intranet on Friday. The post was written by several Muslim employees who were taking the opportunity to explain more about Ramadan, and this jabroni complained that nothing similar had been posted about Good Friday/Easter. I suggested that if he felt that strongly about it, he could write his own article about how he celebrates Easter. Need I add that he did not, in fact, write such an article? *eye roll*

    1. Venus*

      Suggest to the employee that they ask an atheist about how each religion celebrates their holiday, and the answer should provide some insight. No matter how much I try to avoid religion, it feels impossible to not hear all the details about christianity in america.

    2. Aitch Arr*

      Something similar happened when we announced a Lunch and Learn about different cultural traditions/holidays. A white employee asked “bUt WhAt AbOuT eAsTeR aNd ChRiStMaS?!”

      We told them that was a great question and did that mean they were volunteering to present about one of those holidays at the next Lunch and Learn?

      Narrator: They were not.

  39. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

    When I was reading #1 my first thought was that the professor who sent the easter email just liked the wording that was used in the Ramadan email and is incredibly tone-deaf. Then as I was reading the professor’s conduct and such it became clear that this guy is just a big jerk. Yes OP please say something.

  40. Chief Petty Officer Tabby*

    OP, yes, yes, yeah! This is EXACTLY how you ally as a white person. Standing up to your fellow whites when they act like this helps make an impact on the systematic obstruction minorities face every day, all day.

    Your instincts are spot on, go with it.

  41. Texan In Exile*

    “Good Friday is legally recognized as a partial legal holiday in our state.”

    I cannot tell you how much this angers me. (And I was raised Catholic.) I can sort of see making Christmas day a holiday, as it has strong secular acceptance, but Good Friday is strictly religious. It’s a day when you fast and go to stations of the cross and don’t play the radio from noon to three and you don’t do anything fun.

    The First Amendment and I are ticked off.

    1. Texan In Exile*

      Also – the vast suffering the middle-aged, white, tenured man. He is treated so unfairly!

    2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      You’d hate the UK- we just had a four day weekend for Easter. I admit to being totally frustrated at just about every shop being closed Friday, Sunday and Monday. It’s not my religion!

    3. Generic Username*

      I see making certain religious holidays legal or school school holidays not as endorsements per se but recognition that significant percentages of workforces and student bodies will want to be off work or out of the classroom those days.

      1. Texan In Exile*

        School holidays are fine (as long as they do it for everyone – Jewish high holidays, etc.), but I have a problem with a strictly religious, non-secular day being recognized as an official state holiday.

        1. SnappinTerrapin*

          I agree. Although Christmas and Thanksgiving have religious roots, they also have cultural relevance for secular citizens. Mardi Gras also has religious roots, but like Hallowe’en, it’s almost an anti-religious observance, and has a cultural significance in some areas.

          Good Friday’s significance is entirely religious. It’s nice for schools and employers to accommodate it, as well as holidays of other faiths, but I’m glad my State doesn’t recognize it as a legal holiday. That gets a little too close to violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and as a Baptist, I grew up in a tradition of hypersensitivity to freedom of religion: If a law can be passed to favor us, a later legislature can pass a law to burden us. Better to keep government out of religion entirely, so everyone will be free to abide by their own conscience.

          When it comes to secular political/historical holidays, I’ll find something worthwhile in commemorating them, even if I have to squeeze a camel through the eye of a needle to do so.

          1. Jo*

            I realize OP was referring to higher ed. However, sometimes the decision is practical and really not directly about religion at all. I volunteered on the planning committee for our school district (K-12) which created the draft calendar for the following year (which was then posted for public comment). What an eye opener!

            With state requirements for minimum number of days, teacher contracts, and days that HAD to be holidays, it was so HARD. Our committee pushed back on Good Friday and the Monday after Easter being on the calendar, thinking at least Monday was unnecessary.

            Turns out our schools have a high percentage of Hispanic students, many Catholic to whom that weekend is very important; many traveling. If the district didn’t give the holidays, absenteeism skyrocketed for both days. (Same thing with Wednesday before Thanksgiving, although not related to Hispanics/Catholics.)

            School funding is based on number of kids at school each day. It hurt them too much financially not to automatically add those days. Some years, they’d have the Monday after Easter as a Teacher Workday.

            Similarly some decisions were political. For instance, Veteran’s Day (state and federal holiday where many parents were off) didn’t have to be a holiday for the students. Instead it could be a “teachable moment” and included in class curriculum. MLK Day – despite too many January/February holidays – HAD to be a student holiday because some claimed racism if not. (We – a very diverse committee – naively thought it would be a wonderful topic to be weaved into the days curriculum.)

    4. JH*

      Texas exile – I don’t know what state you are in now, but Good Friday is a state holiday in only 10 states (and not a federal holiday as some think.)

      Specifically, in Texas it’s an OPTIONAL holiday an employee can personally claim by working a different holiday. (e.g. trade another day for it.) These include: Cesar Chavez Day, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, and Good Frida

  42. Purple Cat*

    I’m fascinated (and a bit disappointed) at all the comments pushing back on LW3. They feel like they have more privilege than most and are trying to use that to influence change. It’s such a small thing and yet there’s all this “outrage” insisting the LW stay in their lane and ONLY ask about the salary range (for themselves) and not bring any other context and pushback to the request.

    1. Jean*

      Right? And a lot of it is calling Alison’s script “rude” which is just… huh? Direct, yes. Rude, not at all.

      1. MsM*

        I’m especially confused by all the “the recruiter probably doesn’t like it any better than you do; don’t frustrate them further” comments. When my hands are tied by a higher-up telling me that something isn’t worth doing, I find it extremely helpful to have concrete evidence I can take back to them and go, “See? I told you!”

        1. Metadata minion*

          Yeah, I’ve definitely encouraged people to complain because I know if I say something it will get ignored, but if *patrons* complain then something might actually get done about it.

    2. Sparkles McFadden*

      LW3 is doing something generous and admirable. The “how rude” comments seem to be coming from people who have attended the “You should be grateful you have a job” and “Women should smile more” schools of workplace etiquette.

  43. ArtK*

    For #3, I’m in California and, although companies haven’t been putting salary range in the job description, they’ve been very good about revealing the range early in discussions; it’s required by law. Well, except for the one who said “oh, there’s no range” and then ran away when I told them what I currently earned. I guess there *was* a range!

    1. Emily*

      I had a recruiter tell me basically “we’ll go as high as we need to here, salary isn’t an issue.” Refuses to give me a number. Half an hour into the phone call (which, yes, it was my mistake to have), I give him a number and he says basically “that was what the last person we wanted to hire asked for and we weren’t able to give him that.”

      If you have already had the experience where you have lost a candidate over salary, then you are not prepared to go as high as you need to go, and salary is definitely an issue!

  44. Iris Eyes*

    LW#1 There are two semi-contradictory things that are true here. It seems like 1. this professor was definitely being a jerk about it and Lent/Good Friday/Easter certainly doesn’t require the same accommodations Ramadan does, but on the flip side he’s not entirely wrong. On most college campuses actual religious observants are most certainly in the minority, plenty of people will identify with a religion when asked but don’t practice or hold to the tenants of that religion when pressed. It would be a good idea to remind professors that some of their students may be taking the religious observance of national/common holidays seriously.

    He was definitely telling on himself when he didn’t even mention Passover.

  45. ChillinChild*

    Regarding #1, it sounds like the second professor is indeed a jerk, but I don’t really see anything to complain about. Complaining about it will simply reinforce his point that a traditional white Christian male will get penalized for saying *precisely* the same thing at a university that aa “university favored” minority does without penalty. It isn’t creating a hostile learning environment, it in no way discriminates, marginalizes or attacks *anyone*. It’s simply a rather juvenile “what’s good for the goose” thing that most people will roll their eyes at. As you noted, the content itself is entirely innocuous.

    That said, this is precisely the kind of speech that a university needs to go out of its way to protect and NOT penalize. Again, it attacks or harms nobody, and makes a point about a controversial social issue from the perspective of a less-heard voice (on university campuses, his voice is indeed very much in the minority).

    Is it annoying? Yes. But is his speech wrong or something to be “addressed”? Not at all.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      He thinks he’s being oppressed for being white, male and Christian. I struggle to see how that could be accurate.

      1. Iris Eyes*

        That’s because you probably aren’t experiencing the same reality he is. He is seeing all sorts of anecdotal (and possibly even “actual” data) that backs up his point of view. The “culture wars” have been going on for generations and there are a lot of folks out there who are absolutely certain that their group is at risk of terrible things. (And the irony of their push back against victim culture despite having a persecution complex is completely lost on them.) And while this has been going on for quite a while the rise of internet search algorithms and social media engagement based content has siloed people so severely that there barely seems to be any common touchstones of fact or truth anymore.

        And haven’t we all seen people who see any form of accountability/grading/editing as an unfair and unprovoked personal attack?

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Someone in a position of privilege with a society still largely run by their specific groups claiming to be oppressed is just something I do not believe has any basis in fact at all. Even my imagination doesn’t stretch that far and I’m on meds for that!

    2. Not A Manager*

      “It isn’t creating a hostile learning environment, it in no way discriminates, marginalizes or attacks *anyone*”

      This is false. It promotes the false narrative that there is no systemic difference in how majority cultures and minority cultures are treated on campus. It tells members of actually marginalized populations that their concerns are risible. It forces people to devote resources to explaining away the false equivalency instead of actually addressing actual inequities.

      1. ChillinChild*

        I understand your perspective, but the reality is that it does NOT create a hostile learning environment and does NOT marginalize or attack anyone. The “jab” of the writing is in that it parrots exactly the speech of the first email. The *content* is entirely innocuous. If asking for that sensitivity towards students who follow *one* religion is acceptable in the first letter, then the *exact same request* for students who follow a *different* religion (even a majority religion) HAS to be acceptable.

        Especially at a university, which has an explicit objective (often stated in the charter itself and in tenure agreements) to support divergent viewpoints and support academic speech, even when people find it objectionable.

        Any attempt to discipline the professor for using *the exact same speech* another did without punishment, simply because the topic of the speech was a different religious group would simply serve to demonstrate his point.

        Calling him out for being a jerk is fine, but “complaining” to the university implicitly is asking the university to “do something” about his exercise of speech, and that is EXACTLY the wrong thing for a university to do to speech that does not clearly and explicitly (by the language itself) attack or harm another.

        1. quill*

          It’s part of a pattern of behavior that the college should know about, and complaining is both safer for the people doing the complaining than calling him out socially for being a jerk, and more likely that the college will do the bare minimum of saying things like “you don’t have free access to the department listserv for things that are not about department business.”

        2. New Jack Karyn*

          “The *content* is entirely innocuous. If asking for that sensitivity towards students who follow *one* religion is acceptable in the first letter, then the *exact same request* for students who follow a *different* religion (even a majority religion) HAS to be acceptable.”

          No. The circumstances are entirely different. People observing Ramadan are fasting for a month; accommodations and considerations are important. If he had been saying, Hey, on Ash Wednesday we do this and on Good Friday we do that, then okay, I guess. But he really wasn’t. This is “All Lives Matter” nonsense; it’s the academia equivalent of Pee-Wee Herman’s “I know you are, but what am I?” and it’s not a good look.

      1. SnappinTerrapin*

        Almost all of them, if you want to get technical about it. Not all church members make any effort to be Christ-like. They may “claim” to be Christian, but their lives don’t show it. “By their fruits you will know them.”

        Although it’s not my place to judge the sincerity of any individual, and there would be no consequence to their soul if I usurped the right to judge them, there are a lot of nominal christians who would mock Believers for actually taking their faith seriously. I suppose similar phenomena occur in other faiths.

        I personally don’t approve of second professor’s approach, and I am inclined to think he is a jerk, whether he is a Christian or just claims to be.

        Nevertheless, the people arguing that Christianity is somehow less worthy of respect and accommodation than other faiths are really confirming his claim that, at least in some segments of society, there is a hostile bias against Christianity.

        Tolerance and inclusion are good things, especially for people I dislike or disapprove of. Whether all adherents practice that principle or not, it is a tenet of most faiths.

        1. Nameless in Customer Service*

          The only “hostile bias against Christianity” in the USA is that imagined by those Christians who find increased tolerance of other religions to be equivalent to a diminishment of their own. Back when I was a Christian I was constantly told that Christianity is particularly embattled in the US and given examples of how Christians are no longer allowed to run roughshod over members of other religions as “proof” of what turned out to be an entirely false statement. Which is one of the many reasons I left.

          1. SnappinTerrapin*

            Well, there is a mob screaming for this anonymous professor’s job and saying that his jackassery should be treated more harshly than they would treat someone of a different race, gender or religion.

            I’m not agreeing with his approach, and I agree with you that a lot of Christians are hypersensitive to perceived slights. But I strongly object to the proposition that perceived misbehavior should be treated differently just because a person is of a favored or disfavored category. It ought to ba based on actual behavior.

            A lot of the people jumping on his whataboutism are engaging in exactly the behavior they condemn.

            I’m from a tradition that rejects governmental support of my faith, because it would corrupt our churches to let government gain any influence over us. It embarrasses me to see some people who claim to share my faith abandoning this principle, so I understand your criticism.

            At the same time, this forum, which is one of the most welcoming and tolerant on the internet, is seeing a lot of people saying that this individual should be sanctioned for saying that Christianity deserves the same respect as other religions.

            Do I think he should’ve sent the email? No, but that’s sort of the point. He is allowed to believe and express things I disagree with. I can criticize his actions and his logic, but I can’t demand that he be punished for an act that isn’t inherently wrong. That would make me a hypocrite.

            1. pancakes*

              This is way over the top. Where exactly is the “mob screaming for this anonymous professor’s job”? Or saying that he should be treated more harshly than . . . who, exactly? A student wrote in asking whether it would be appropriate to give feedback on his behavior.

              “The department has asked for feedback from students on the department and its climate, allowing for anonymous feedback to be submitted. I am considering writing anonymously to the leadership indicating that, while individuals have the right to say what they wish, this is the type of behavior (public pushback against the most benign diversity and inclusion efforts by tenured faculty) that makes people feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.”

              Many people here are telling the letter writer to say nothing, for all sorts of reasons, and those of us who agree that this feedback would be appropriate think it’s more likely he’ll be disciplined about his school-wide email use, if at all rather than fired. Trying to conjure up a baying mob is absurd.

              Your own church’s practices and your feelings about your own feelings (hypocrisy) seem beside the point to me, though based on what you’ve said I’m curious whether your church has somehow opted out the tax breaks all US churches are given.

              I don’t quite follow as to the significance of saying that “he is allowed to believe and express things that I disagree with.” No one has suggested he isn’t, and none of us could disallow him that even if we wanted to. No one is going to crawl into his mind and drag his beliefs out by force, and the simple fact that he has the personal agency to form and express his beliefs doesn’t compel any of us to play along with them, or to refuse to comment on whether they’re appropriate, intelligent, well-considered, or anything else in particular.

    3. quill*

      This man is doing the adult equivalent of a spoiled child throwing a fit on someone else’s birthday because they want presents too. The email is simply a recent and in writing piece of evidence that he frequently goes out of his way to make minority students feel unwelcome / fights against efforts to be more inclusive in order to make everything about him. Years of these letters and listserv rants accumulate to being something that the college should want to address.

      Colleges historically cry freedom of speech when someone in power makes a right wing talking point, and never when someone is protesting war, inequality, etc. Most of academia is already selectively protecting people of the same demographics and opinions as this professor. What the college should be doing is promoting the free speech of staff and students who don’t have the security of tenure.

      1. Karia*

        Yes, academic freedom appears to be the preserve of rich, white, socially conservative professors. Anyone else is simultaneously a snowflake and a bully.

        1. pancakes*

          Yes – simultaneously a snowflake, a bully, and an obstacle to white conservative men pursuing much-desired (?) careers in academia, which after all are much more richly rewarding and influential than becoming a pundit or leading a megachurch. People just can’t stop reading theory, and there are so few white male conservative pundits who are able to air their views in the public square! Yes I’m being sarcastic!

  46. learnedthehardway*

    OP#3 – while you can tell recruiters anything you want about what roles you’ll respond to, keep in mind that recruiters don’t set the policy about whether salary is disclosed or not on job ads. So, you’ll be cutting yourself off from opportunities, and won’t really be making a difference about whether salaries get disclosed publicly or not.

    More practically, I would tell recruiters with whom you speak that you won’t move forward without an idea of whether the role is in the salary bracket you expect, based on your experience, market research, etc. etc. They may or may not be allowed to disclose the salary, but what they can definitely do is compare where you want to be at with what the range is that they’re allowed to recruit in.

    This puts the onus on you to do your research and to know your market worth, but you should be doing that anyway.

  47. Wendy*

    Regarding letter number 1

    If the university, or any other university of business, wants to be truly inclusive, then their policies regarding holidays need to across the board for everyone

      1. Nanani*

        No they didn’t. Easter is already recognized,for one thing, and for another copypasting someone else’s work for attention is just like a toddler demanding a new toy on another kid’s birthday.

    1. Nameless in Customer Service*

      “Please remember and accommodate students for this upcoming holiday which is already on every calendar you can buy” and “please remember and accommodate students for this holiday of a minority religion which you may or may not have heard of before” are not actually equivalent statements.

  48. Chris*

    #1 I feel the office in charge (diversity office) should send out routine messages about all significant religions for the month and not single one out. I think the latest big poll showed something like only 47% of Americans belong to a formal religious center like a church, temple, mosque. (That may not be the exact number but it was big news to have fallen to less than 50%.)

    Having planned meetings and events that involved thousands of people, it seemed to me most of my colleagues were clueless as to actual customs and possible work impact, even for Christianity, which is the majority around here. To be fair, they do tend to know when Christmas and Easter are, but not the religious significance. more likely: Christmas=presents and Easter = egg hunts and candy. I see this even more in my children’s friends. (20s).

    So send out tips for all or none and maybe individuals won’t feel the need to go rogue.

  49. Jazzy P*

    I’m going to respectfully disagree with both Allison and the majority of the commentariat here on #1. If you’re really going to be about freedom of religion, it can’t be just about those expressions of religion that you see as under represented and those religions that you “choose” to allow emails about. The professor used the exact same wording as the email regarding Ramadan yet gets hate because of his “tone” and the fact that it’s a Christian message. That by definition is discrimination on the basis of religion. The same message gets treated differently because of the religion it’s referencing. I don’t see anything here indicating the professor was hostile towards Muslim people; just that the reader read it that way. If you’re going to allow religious freedom, you must allow it for everyone, even those religions that you don’t happen to like. And if you don’t want religious freedom, then you’re just as bad as those Christians who persecuted non Christians for years.

    1. ChillinChild*

      Well said. Most especially at a university that has as an *explicit* objective the protection and advancement of multiple viewpoints and divergent speech. I think the point the professor was trying to make was exactly what you note.

    2. Delphine*

      It’s interesting that you can’t see the implication in the professor’s email but you have been able to read implied meaning into everyone’s comments here.

    3. Jo*

      Great points. It’s weird to me how we are aiming for equal treatment but double standards are fine. Treat them all the same. Period.

      1. JustaTech*

        But they’re not all treated the same. Christian religious holidays are federal and state holidays (Christmas, Good Friday). Some private schools that I have attended also had the Jewish High Holy Days as holidays (because so many student and teachers would take the day off).
        I have yet to work anywhere that specifically had any Muslim holiday as a day off.

        Heck, the weekend itself is build around Christian worship!

        And it’s not like the accommodations that one might offer for Ramadan are huge or onerous. At my school (the one that had time off for the High Holy Days), if a student was fasting for Ramadan, then they were allowed to sit out gym class if they wanted.

        1. Clisby*

          Are you in the US? Good Friday is not a US federal holiday. I suppose it might be a state holiday somewhere, but not in my state (SC).

          1. Jo*

            Agreed! Good Friday is not a government holiday in my state. Nor is Ash Wednesday or Palm Sunday or Easter. Nor is the idea of Lent mentioned on our office calendar.

            I believe Christmas would be the only day officially observed that is attached to an actual religion.

            However, I’m not talking about simply identifying the DATE but the practices around it and any impact that might have on the work schedule. (And not everyone works in an office M-F). So whether it’s a day certain employees may not work, fasting, allowing extra time for prayers, special meal considerations, whatever…treat it all the same.

          2. Aitch Arr*

            12 states recognize Good Friday as a state holiday: Connecticut, Texas, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, and North Dakota.

    4. Madeleine Matilda*

      I didn’t read the OP’s letter as objecting to the message about Holy Week and Easter. I think OP was objecting to the motivations OP believes the professor had in writing the email. OP states that the professor is known to be against DEIA initiatives and has expressed feeling persecuted for being a white hetro male. If the professor wanted to ensure his colleagues were considering the needs of all students who might have religious holidays occurring right now then the professor also could have mentioned Passover or made a more generic statement in the email.

      1. Flowering Banjo*

        It’s hard to punish someone because they did something that is allowed for the wrong reasons. Debating the prof’s motivations is going to get messy very quickly.

        1. pancakes*

          People in positions of authority don’t always need to “debate” exercising it with the people they’re exercising it against. I don’t quite agree, either, that it would be so hard to communicate any basis for punishment here that no one should bother to attempt it. If the school administration is so lacking in skills or unconfident around communications as to be unable to get one guy to stop misusing department-wide emails, they need to get better very quickly or bring in qualified people rather than leave students to endure a bigoted professor who doesn’t like being told no.

    5. Lobsterman*

      The real issue is that the Professor is not a staff member tasked with representing the University’s position on equity issues, so their lack of standing in sending the email is the message itself.
      If the Professor had been speaking in good faith instead of being a white supremacist jerk, he would have brought this to the right people, said, “I expect you to do the right thing and announce all holidays that may require accommodation,” and been satisfied when they did.
      That is, even if the message was technically correct and the Professor is an eloquent troll, his intent was clearly not to right the wrong, but use people’s faith as a political football for his cynical game.

    6. quill*

      The main problem is the context of the email. Should the campus be informed about religious holidays across the board? Yes. Should this professor use the existence of a reminder about ramadan as the latest of his public communications mocking marginalized communities? Absolutely not. If he were sincere he would have mentioned it to the people scheduling the emails and asked how much forewarning they were going to give about Easter observances, or sent an email before about specific concerns so that people had time to plan. He waited until the last minute before making a fuss, so it’s very hard to even see him as a broken clock being right twice a day: He’s more like an alarm clock without a battery.

      Also, notice how he didn’t push for the inclusion of any other holiday occurring in these past two weeks, which has been a frankly unusual number of them, just the one that he, personally, identifies with.

    7. Nanani*

      What? Literally what?

      LW1 is not in a position to “allow” emails, and they clearly explained the context as one where Easter is widely known but Ramadan is not.
      The Easter emailer was being an ass and there is no need to invoke freedom of religion. Please, please remove your head from the reddit flamewar surrounding it.

      A heads-up about a lesser-known holiday being met with ~Well where’s MYYYY attention~ is shitty and LW1 is not wrong to point that out.

    8. Broadway Duchess*

      This is just a ridiculous take. So, we’ve been playing basketball with skewed rules that allowed one team to get ahead by 70 points and now, with one quarter left in the game, now is when should all play by the same rules?

    9. New Jack Karyn*

      “then you’re just as bad as those Christians” Ah, the “You’re the real racist!” Not as clever as you think it is.

    10. Nameless in Customer Service*

      ” And if you don’t want religious freedom, then you’re just as bad as those Christians who persecuted non Christians for years.”

      You might want to read up on pogroms and forced conversions before you toss around such a flagrant false equivalence.

    11. pancakes*

      Mockery by way of repetition is a “tone,” yes. Everyone can recognize that when PeeWee Herman does it and as someone pointed out earlier, the prof’s email has a lot in common with PeeWee’s “I know you are but what am I” routine.

  50. Lobsterman*

    LW1, respond with a lawsuit or not at all. I can tell you from experience, if you show up to a contentious meeting with a professor without a lawyer, your odds of getting what you want are basically zero.

      1. AnonRiver*

        I’m interpreting the advice as saying that, in lieu of going nuclear with a lawsuit, addressing the issue ranges from “waste of time” to “destroying your academic career.” So, go big or stay home. This is also my experience, as an academic, dealing with tenured professors who have been enabled their entire careers. People get destroyed, and it’s rarely the person who deserves it, and, if you’re going to try it, have a lawyer do the trying.

        I don’t think this was actually advice saying to file a lawsuit. Just to not be idealistic.

        1. Lobsterman*

          Filing a lawsuit, even if it may not work, should at least protect LW from most retaliation.

    1. New Jack Karyn*

      Who’s talking about a meeting? I thought they were going to fill out an online survey to mention the prof’s email.

  51. John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmidt*

    Re #4: I know this is odd…but it shouldn’t be! I’ve been through a couple of interview processes in the past year (as I’ve casually looked for a new position) and I’ve realized how odd it is to treat interviews as a pop quiz. Sometimes part of the purpose of the interview is seeing how someone thinks on their feet or responds to pressure, but for the roles I’ve applied for, we could have had a much more fruitful conversation if the interviewer had said “We’d like you to come to the interview prepared to discuss your experience with x and y.” I’ve started asking about what I should come prepared to talk about, but I’ve only gotten vague responses. I don’t think companies need to send their list of specific questions – that would result in overly-scripted responses – but I imagine that companies could learn more about candidates if they gave them a bit more information about what they should be prepared to talk about.

  52. HelloFromNY*

    LW #4: An intern position is likely for someone inexperienced with professional interviews. I imagine they were looking for some general information about what to expect. What’s the format? How many people?
    “When you arrive check in with Belinda at the front desk. She will let me know you are here, and I’ll come grab you from the lobby. The first half of the interview will be just the two of us in a mostly Q&A format. For the second half of the interview, we will be joined by our other manager, Diane. With Diane, we will be going over some situational questions. The whole thing should take no more than an hour.”

  53. Phony Genius*

    I think part of the issue with #1 is that one religion’s holiday (Ramadan) requires more extensive reasonable accommodations than another (Good Friday). Some people (wrongly) use the test of “anything more difficult than the accommodations that I require is unreasonable.” So it makes it seem (to them) like one group is getting more “something” than another, regardless of what that “something” is.

    1. Madeleine Matilda*

      100% this. A few years ago we had an intern who was an Orthodox Jew. She needed to leave on Fridays early enough to be home before sundown for the beginning of her sabbath observation. Her supervisor commented once on how challenging this was to accommodate. Only it wasn’t a challenge at all because we all work flexible schedules and can start as early as 6:30AM and there are very few last minute Friday afternoon meetings for our interns.

    2. Calliope*

      I’m actually not sure one religion requires more accommodations than the other. I think it depends a lot on the individual and on the campus. Some students might need a lunch event moved during Ramadan. Some might need to make up a test on Good Friday. The issue is that the professor was not acting in good faith but I actually think a blanket assumption that Muslims need a ton of accommodations during Ramadan is a problem in and of itself and quickly moves into being othering. I’m seeing a lot of that in these comments.

      1. Iris Eyes*

        Oh good point. I’m not sure how far it goes but I have heard from several Muslims that they actively discourage accommodation or changes in behaviour of people around them because then it devalues(?) their fasting. Christians have a similar idea, when they fast they aren’t supposed to flaunt it but operate normally because what they are doing is for God not to get spiritual brownie points with the people around them.

  54. nnn*

    I feel like the student in #4 is getting advice from somewhere (some adult in their life who’s in a niche field or professional situation that is almost entirely unlike student internship?) and is parroting what the advice-giver told them to ask for.

  55. nnn*

    As someone who grew up observing Good Friday, I can’t imagine anything my non-observant peers could to do be mindful of my observance.

    1. Madeleine Matilda*

      The main thing that I would expect is don’t call or text me unless it is an absolute emergency. I didn’t tell people I was off last Friday because I was observing Good Friday, but I did tell them who to contact in my absence, that I wouldn’t be checking email, and that they could contact me in an emergency.

      1. Evan Þ*


        For me, I was happy to work during the day of Good Friday – but I had a very hard stop time because of the evening church service. As it was, it wasn’t any problem; but in my last job where we had more frequent last-minute things, I would’ve appreciated my coworkers being mindful of my Good Friday observance that way.

  56. Calliope*

    I think it’s pretty revealing that all the Muslim commenters on this thread have said the original email was well-meaning but ultimately not great and have been pretty much ignored. Clearly the professor’s reply email was terrible and he is a huge jerk. But given that the original email also sounds pretty othering towards Muslim students, I would not personally choose this hill to die on. It’s a good time to remember that information and education about minority religions should probably be run by people who actually practice them.

    1. Madeleine Matilda*

      OP’s question to Alison was more about whether or not to provide anonymous feedback on this professor and less about the specific topic of the two emails. I think OP might have written the same question had the first email been about MLK Jr. Day and the professor’s follow up on Washington’s Birthday/President’s Day. OP wrote: There is nothing wrong with notifying people about Easter or Ramadan; this is solely about the passive aggressive, public, whataboutism involved with the copying of the Ramadan message.

    2. Former Hominid*

      Actually if you look at the responses to those comments, other Muslim commenters have disagreed and said that they’d have appreciated it. People can practice their religion differently, and acknowledging that a University has a diverse student body with practices that differ from what is considered mainstream in this country isn’t othering. (even if the exact language of the first email could perhaps be tweaked)

      1. Calliope*

        This is a devil is in the detail situation though. The particular language really matters. I’m not saying anyone did anything drastically wrong in the first email. Again the professor is clearly being terrible. It just sounds like this wasn’t a terribly well handled situation from the get go and probably not therefore the one you have to make an issue of.

        1. pancakes*

          Yes, but I’m not sure “it was messy from the get-go” is a good reason to not give feedback, on part or all of the whole series of events.

      2. New Jack Karyn*

        Yeah, I think the line most objected to was ‘be mindful of eating in the presence of those who are/might be fasting’. But the rest of it was fine (at least, that’s how I read their comments).

        1. SnappinTerrapin*

          And that specific issue is one that varies with different individuals and different groups within Islam. It’s a good thing to be sensitive to the possibility that seeing others enjoy what one is refraining from can make the fast more burdensome. If you don’t think of it, you can fail to notice. There isn’t a hard and fast rule, but awareness can help us be more courteous to our neighbors.

          If I know that a colleague keeps halal or kosher, it would be rude to invite them to a barbecue joint. Although it wouldn’t “harm” them for me to eat pork or shellfish, there is a human respect factor involved. Similarly, if I know a colleague abstains from meat on Fridays, I would at least consider doing so myself if we went to eat together. I’m sensitive about partaking of alcohol with friends who don’t drink for religious or health reasons. And I don’t want to point out the “sacrifice” I’m making on their behalf; I just want to show them courtesy and respect. If I don’t know, then I simply hope not to unintentionally offend in general.

        2. Yorick*

          Yeah, it’s not like we need to completely avoid eating in front of people who are fasting. But I would probably make at least slightly different choices if I knew my officemate is hungry and won’t be able to eat for 6 more hours, and I’d appreciate a reminder to consider that.

    3. Delphine*

      The problem is the other professor’s borderline bigotry and passive aggressive note. Not the original email.

  57. HWC Grad*

    Related to #3 for further discussion around salary disclosure in job ads — I graduated from a historically women’s college and, since then, fellow grads have gotten together virtually. One of the things that came out of that was a discussion about how the school does not post salaries for roles they’re looking to fill. It seems so counterintuitive, since we know that posting salaries helps with women’s financial success in the working world overall. I believe we wrote and all signed a letter, but I don’t recall what ended up coming of it, other than no real change because salaries still aren’t posted. It’s a shame, because I know a lot of us would be thrilled to work there, but since they won’t post salaries (and the school encouraged women’s empowerment which, of course, includes things like looking out for your financial well being by doing things like only applying to jobs with fair/posted salaries), a lot of us have avoided it as a result.

    That said, if anyone has had success in pressuring orgs to post salaries, I’d love to hear about your experience.

    1. Erika Carlson*

      I haven’t had success or anything, but am fortunate to live in a state (Colorado) where salary disclosure with job postings is required by law! So I did comment to a recruiter about this. I’m not currently looking for a new job but said I didn’t want to share with friends since salary wasn’t posted and that violated state law. Turns out I was wrong (out of state employers who don’t yet have CO based employees, and are hiring for remote workers, don’t have to disclose salaries to recruit in CO). But the recruiter didn’t mention why I was wrong, just said they followed the law in every state. I was a bit cranky and said I wasn’t sure how that was possible (again, I was actually wrong!), but that I wouldn’t be sharing the posting or applying since this was an equity issue for me. She said she’s share with her management as they did want feedback from potential applicants. So not sure it did anything, but I tried! Perhaps I did burn bridges but since not currently looking, I’m not concerned. Also, see the #showthesalary hashtag on social media- it’s a campaign championed by a nonprofit person, who points out every nonprofit that posts without salary! There’s been a lot of pushback, including from the Chronicle of Philanthropy (the NY Times of the nonprofit world)

  58. Lorraine*

    Regarding salaries in #3 – we used to post salaries and have had to stop as we’ve moved to remote work. At our company, pay is tied to both your job classification and your geography (due to differences in cost of living). So now that I can hire someone in Georgia or Ghana or NYC, that salary range is so large as to make it unusable.
    (And yes – I know some tech companies are paying silicon valley wages even if you decide to live in Kansas, but that isn’t going to happen at out company and, as a mid-level manager, that isn’t something I’d be able to affect.)

  59. Jewish grad student*

    Re #1, please, please report this in writing to both the department and, if possible, the administration OUTSIDE the department. Regardless of what is true of other industries, this is not actually academia-acceptable behavior in 2022 and certainly not at a publicly funded institution. Snarky, alienating emails from tenured professors to public listservs are not appropriate, no matter what tenured professors will tell you. It’s very hard to document enough bad behavior from a faculty member to actually take action, but pushback from students who pay tuition is key.

    Also, I would urge you to consider consulting people in academia for academia-relevant climate issues because neither Alison nor her commentariat have a good sense of the cultural norms.

  60. anonforthis*

    Letter 1: Formerly practicing Muslim/Muslim American here – Am I the only one who feels like this is letter is completely missing the point?

    First of all, in my experience, fasting Muslims don’t expect people to stop eating and drinking around them/in their presence. It’s not realistic! Also, for me personally, my metabolism would adjust a week into the fasting month that it’s not like the sight of food would be torture or anything. I would join funded lunches for the social aspect of it and not eat and it was fine.

    Also, is this a public funded university? Why are they sending religious holiday greetings anyway?

    1. Delphine*

      Publicly funded universities often have practicing students who may or may not want to use accomodations that are availabile to them. Being respectful and kind to each other sometimes means being aware of our different traditions and practices, rather than ignoring them.

  61. AnonRiver*

    Interview agendas are really a thing but not for the candidate in the letter. I’ve done hiring for full-day to two-day onsite interviews and had agendas created for each candidate, even for candidates who were local and going home each afternoon. The agendas included specific times, who the candidate was meeting with each time, any skill demonstrations or panel talks, lunches, breaks, and travel. It didn’t include questions. I wonder if the OP’s candidate had read about these sort of high-level interview processes and assumed it was common practice.

  62. Anon for This*

    When I was kid, at one point we lived in a predominantly Catholic community. They had no clue about Passover. I simply brought my lunch. I know they thought I was weird, but they thought that even before Passover.

    Later, when I was an adult and living and working in the Los Angeles area, when it was Passover, I also simply brought my lunch. People I was friends with got the very abridged version of why I was doing that while other people didn’t even care. Sometimes, being ignored can be a good thing.

  63. Claire*

    For #1, I would tell the university about the other problems with the Professor but not mention the Good Friday/Easter email specifically. As several comments here have demonstrated, growing up in an historically/majority Christian country and seeing Santa and Easter bunnies doesn’t actually mean most people will be familiar with the *religious observances* of the holiday which may require accommodation/notice, particularly if some of those observances are more common among certain nationalities or denominations. The professor is almost undoubtedly being a jerk, but since Holy Week may actually require accommodations for some students, I think it’d be more effective to focus on other examples of his bad conduct.

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