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UK college hires its own students to combat "microaggressions"

by Julian Gregorio

The University of Sheffield in England will pay 20 of its own students to combat "microaggressions," which are perceived slights against a member of a minority group, according to the BBC.

The school's vice-chancellor, Koen Lamberts, announced that students will earn £9.34 an hour, equivalent to $12.18 an hour, to "lead healthy conversations" and "help their peers understand" racism, according to the report. They will be designated "race equality champions."

The BBC did not note whether "race equality champions" will actively seek out microaggressions, but Vice-chancellor Lamberts reportedly said the program was started in response to student demand. The announcement comes after an Equality and Human Rights Commission report documented physical attacks and serious harassment against minorities, but student "champions" are evidently focused on perceived conversational slights, and it's unclear whether they will have any bearing on more egregious scenarios.

Vox defines microaggressions as "the kinds of remarks, questions, or actions that are painful because they have to do with a person's membership in a group that's discriminated against or subject to stereotypes," such as women, LGBTQ students, or students of color.

The University of Sheffield has 20,000 undergraduate students and ranks in certain top-100 British university lists.

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