Yale Replaces ‘Freshman’ And ‘Upperclassman’ With Gender-Neutral Terms

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

Yale University announced Thursday it’s changing the terms “freshman” and “upperclassman” to “first-year” and “upper-level student” in official campus documents.

The university will make these changes in resources like its First-Year Handbook and Undergraduate Regulations, according to Yale Daily News. Yale started deliberating the language change in 2016 when students expressed a desire for “greater gender inclusivity,” reported Yale Daily News.

“It’s really for public, formal correspondence and formal publications…we’re not trying to tell people what language to use in their everyday casual conversations,” said Marvin Chun, Yale College’s dean, to Yale Daily News. “We’re not trying to be language police.”

Chun called the replacement terms “modern,” but noted he expects the Yale community to continue using the old terms “without feeling that anyone is out of compliance with an official policy” in a Thursday faculty email.

The Ivy League university is not the first institution to make such replacements. Emory University nixed “freshman” in 2015 and the University of North Carolina did the same in 2009. Several other colleges, such as Cornell University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, and the University of Virginia also use “first-year.”

Yale is likely to finish making the changes by the beginning of the 2018 school year.

“The college said substituting the term ‘first-year’ for ‘freshman’ was in wide and growing use,” said Tom Conroy, Yale’s spokesman, when asked to explain the decision to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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