Letter: Intolerable

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The Independent Online
Sir: "Zero tolerance", that sexy phrase of the moment intoned by politicians and policemen, does not have the American origins they claim.

The term actually originated in Edinburgh, where the district council used it to promote their widely respected campaign against sexual harassment "Zero Tolerance of Violence against Women". Then it made the journey across the Atlantic and has now returned to Britain as a slogan against crime.

In Cambridge, where the Students' Union launched an anti-sexual harassment campaign in 1989, we too have returned to the slogan. This year we aim to make the University a Zero Tolerant Zone for sexual harassment. But even here you have to be careful with its meaning. One of my friends has recently been concerned that my proclaiming myself "zero tolerant" obviously has something to do with my low alcohol intake.

ZOe THIRLWELL

Trinity Hall,

Cambridge

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