The Pennsylvania State University’s faculty senate has passed legislation that recommends replacing the “male-centric” terms, like “freshman,” “sophomore,” “junior” and “senior” with the more neutral “first-year,” “second-year,” “third-year” and “fourth-year.”
The school’s legislative body’s Committee on Curricular Affairs recommended avoiding the use of the terms that “can be interpreted as both sexist and classist” in all written materials, the resolution reads. He/she pronouns will now also be changed to either they/them/theirs or non-gendered terms, such as student.
Penn State plans to change binary and gendered language in admissions materials, scholarship information, housing materials, and more. https://t.co/2M57JhKrSP
— Onward State (@OnwardState) May 9, 2021
The suggested changes are expected to be reflected in “recruiting materials, admissions materials, scholarship information, housing materials, other outward-facing documents, internal documents, and websites,” the document states.
“The University, as with most all academic institutions world-wide, has grown out of a typically male-centered world,” the document read.
“Terms such as ‘freshmen’ are decidedly male-specific, while terms such as ‘upperclassmen’ can be interpreted as both sexist and classist. Terms such as ‘junior’ and ‘senior’ are parallel to western male father-son naming conventions, and much of our written documentation uses he/she pronouns.”
The move “closes the loop,” as it supposedly complements an earlier administrative policy that allowed the university’s students to choose their “name and/or gender identity within the University’s information systems.” (RELATED: Court Rules Christian Professor Can Sue University For Reprimanding Him Over Refusal To Use Preferred Pronouns)
Penn State has joined the cohort of schools that have pushed for the removal of gendered language from instructional and promotional materials.
The University of Virginia‘s Student Council voted to remove the gendered pronouns from the school’s constitution on April 19. Nearly 89 percent of students who cast ballots on that day supported the measure, according to Campus Reform.