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University of North Carolina group warns faculty against...playing golf with coworkers?

June 29, 2016

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I always viewed college as a time of freedom, tolerance, acceptance, understanding. While I'll champion such ideals to the death, a group in Chapel Hill is taking that collective ethos a tad too far.

The Employee Forum, a University of North Carolina society of staff and delegates, recently posted guidelines regarding microaggressions at the workplace. "Microaggressions" are defined as subtle but offensive comments or actions that often unintentionally reinforce a stereotype.

Sounds like a noble venture, right? Until discovering "golf" is labeled as a microaggression because it presumes "employees have the financial resources/exposure to a fairly expensive and inaccessible sport."

At the risk of offending someone -- meaning someone will likely get offended -- let me state golf's part in this equation is utterly ridiculous. Asking a co-worker to hit the links is a sign of endearment and respect, that you want to spend time with them or enjoy their presence. And golf isn't just a game for the privileged, as we showed in our "How to Play Golf Cheap" examination.

Luckily, the Employee Forum microaggression list was eventually taken down. "The Employee Forum has since decided to remove the post because it was misconstrued as University policy," Joel Curran, vice chancellor for communications and public affairs. "The blog post reflected the opinions of some Employee Forum delegates and was intended to provide a general overview about microaggressions—not to fully examine the topic, which is nuanced and complex."

Now, planning an office outing and NOT inviting a colleague? That's a different tale, compadre.