It is being reported that Cambridge University academics have been cautioned against automatically shaking their hands with foreign students in case it causes offence.
The world's renowned institution has sent out a directive to its admission tutors explaining that some people are culturally sensitive to the traditional style of greeting.
AdvertisementThey advise that, "Suitable body language conveys welcome just as well".
But the missal sent out by the university's Cambridge University Admissions Office has caused anger and consternation among the dons who say it is treating them like "social misfits".
"It seems to be totally bonkers," the Telegraph quoted a don who wished to remain anonymous as saying.
"We are not social misfits. We know when to shake someone's hand and when not too. All this seems to be stupid and pointless and could make interviews even more awkward," the don added.
The advice is given on an "online training course to interviewers" in addition to the Undergraduate Admissions Handbook 2011-12.
No further advice is given but the press office said that the instructions applied to Muslim women and certain people with disabilities.
"It is not banning handshakes, it is just saying that best practice in some cases such as Muslim women who do not want to shake hands and certain people with disabilities," said a spokesman.
"Dons should read the situation properly and bear in mind that not all people will want to shake hands," he added.