Pennsylvania State University has been derided for dropping the words ‘freshman’, ‘junior’ and ‘senior’ – as well as the phrase ‘him or her’ for fear of being sexist.
Last month, the University’s Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs passed by majority vote the resolution “ Removal of Gender-Related and Binary Terms from Course and Program Descriptions. ” They said the terms discarded were examples of “male-oriented” terminology that needed to be updated with more inclusive words.
One of the concerns raised by the committee was that ‘freshmen’ were too masculine-specific, with ‘junior’ and ‘senior’ being abolished because they were ‘parallel to Western male father-son naming conventions’.
The phrase ‘upperclassmen’ was condemned for being ‘both sexist and classist’, while the new rules also held out Penn’s existing documentation for many appearances by his / her pronouns. ‘
The bill was one of several resolutions on justice and diversity passed by the Senate on April 27. Penn State News reported.
The changes for gender-related terms would apply to all written material, including both internal and outward-looking documents, Fox news reported.
Pennsylvania State University (pictured) will no longer use labels such as ‘freshman’, ‘junior’ or ‘senior’ in an effort to be more inclusive and move away from ‘male-centric’ terminology
While the resolution was derided online, 88.75 percent of Penn State University students said they approved the change, campusreform.org reported
The Senate also recommended replacing freshman / sophomore / junior / senior with ‘freshmen,’ ‘ sophomores’ etc.
Members suggested replacing gendered pronouns with neutral terms such as ‘student’, ‘faculty member’ or staff member. ‘
Other recommendations included replacing ‘underclassmen’ and ‘upperclassmen’ with ‘lower division’ and ‘upper division’.
The Senate also called for the term ‘super seniors’ to be abolished. That refers to students who have taken more than the usual four years to complete their studies, fearing the name might make some of them self-conscious.
The proposal included a suggested adaptation of a theater course description to read ‘she’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘her’. (pictured)
But the resolution also admitted that old terms – including masculine and feminine pronouns – may be required in courses such as gender studies.
“The committee recognizes that there may be places where these terms, especially gender terms, should remain intact, for example in the case of courses or degrees that delve into gender studies,” the resolution said. In such cases, efforts will be made to clearly distinguish between the ‘academic’ study of these gender-related terms and the newly established nomenclature as it would apply to teachers, staff, students and guests. ‘
Many online commentators ridiculed Penn State’s changes and predicted a drop in the number of applications to the prestigious university
The announcement received mixed criticism from people online, with some calling the move that the schools are trying to “ wake up ”.
On Facebook, one parent complained about the resolution, saying, ‘Are you really rid of terminology like freshmen and sophomores? because I have a kid on the main campus and I’m at my wits end with this stupidity. ‘
Another Facebook commenter was even louder, commenting, ‘Your awakened agenda is both sad and truly pathetic and you represent what’s wrong with this generation. Pack up and leave as soon as possible because your calendar proves just how worthless these students are who are triggered by real terms like male, senior and junior. ‘
Comments on Twitter were no better, with one person tweeting ‘College campuses are rapidly becoming complete jokes. Glad I went to college before academics went nuts. ‘
“I think Penn State graduates don’t have that and Alma Mater no more. I mean, ‘nurturing mom’ so CIS and gender neutral. Maybe it should be Alma They? someone tweeted in response to the resolution.
“ Great to see us focus on these kinds of important issues in the US, ” one person tweeted sarcastically.
Another person shared a ‘Family Guy’ meme by Peter Griffin that read ‘Oh my god! what does it matter!?’
One person simply tweeted, “It’s official, these idiots are fully certifiable.”
While responses to the resolution have been mixed online, Penn State students don’t seem to mind.
88.75 percent of college students approved the change, campusreform.org reported.