College’s Inclusive Language Guide Warns Against ‘Religious’ Words Such As ‘Bunnies’ And ‘Chicks’

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  • Michigan State University’s “Inclusive Guide” includes a slew of words it recommends people avoid, including words that could be associated with Christian religious holidays.
  • The guide advised against using words including the words “‘merry’ or ‘Christmas trees,’ ‘wreaths,’ ‘holly,’ ‘bells,’ ‘gifts,’ ‘reindeer,’ ‘bunnies,’ ‘eggs’ and ‘chicks,'” its document reads.
  • “It’s not you can’t wish somebody a happy Easter, it’s that you can’t even invoke in people’s minds concepts which they might not like to hear,” Giancarlo Canaporo, a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. 

Michigan State University’s (MSU) “Inclusive Guide” warns against using words that could be associated with religious holidays, according to its document.

The guide is divided into four sections, including gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, global identity and disability, each of which are equipped with specific terms to avoid, the document reads. It advises students to avoid using terms that could be conflated with notable Christian holidays including “bunnies,” “eggs,” and “chicks.” (RELATED: Elite University Department Bans Use Of Word ‘Field,’ Claiming It’s Too Racist)

“In winter and spring, avoid references to majority religious imagery and language, such as the word ‘merry’ or ‘Christmas trees,’ ‘wreaths,’ ‘holly,’ ‘bells,’ ‘gifts,’ ‘reindeer,’ ‘bunnies,’ ‘eggs’ and ‘chicks,'” the guide reads. “Use terms like ‘wishing you a wonderful winter/spring break’ or ‘best wishes for the new year.'”


John Wesley Reid, editor-in-chief of Liberty University’s Standing for Freedom Center, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the guide is “astronomically exclusive” by chipping away terms that could be affiliated with religious holidays.

“But then to take it beyond religion and take it to secondary things like ‘bunny,’ and ‘chicks’ and things like that, Easter is obviously a religiously based holiday, but the bunny, the easter eggs … that’s not even the religious part,” Reid said. “That’s like cosmetics to a religious holiday and the fact that you can’t even use those … who are we including? What exactly are we including?’ It’s an odd … irony.”

The guide goes beyond mentioning specific words, but advises students to avoid saying terms or phrases that could remind students that “these things exist,” Giancarlo Canaporo, a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, told the DCNF.

“You can’t even refer to Christmas, or bunny rabbit or reindeer not because there’s anything wrong with that, but because it might invoke in somebody’s mind the memory that the beginning of April includes the holiday Easter, which is a Christian holiday,” he said. “It’s not that you can’t wish somebody a happy Easter, it’s that you can’t even invoke in people’s minds concepts which they might not like to hear.”

This caution is used throughout the guide, Canaporo argued. The guide advises against using the words “founding or frontier because it invokes memory of conflict with Native Americans” or “freshman because it invokes in people’s minds the memory of biological sex,” he continued.

The guide was published by the school’s Brand Studio as part of its storytelling guidelines, according to its website. It showcases the university’s commitment to “communications practices that support belonging for all Spartans” and its “strategic efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion.”

The guide is not intended “to inform general communications and does not apply to academic, medical, legal or other specialized fields,” according to the website.

“It’s important to note that using inclusive language in communications is an evolving and dynamic practice, so while this guide covers several areas, it is not comprehensive in scope,” the website reads. “Accordingly, the guide only provides recommendations that should be considered in a case-by-case scenario, as many factors will determine the appropriate language for various types of content and target audience.”

The guide suppresses “speech and opinion that conflicts with the progressive orthodoxy,” but does not place limits on speech that would be supported by progressive views, Canaporo told the DCNF. He explained that the suppression of speech could lead to on-campus consequences for students through its bias reporting system.

“The best inclusive policy would be to say, ‘you know what, you do get to say Santa Claus and you also get to say Hanukkah, and you get to say whatever you want. Why? Because we’re inclusive and we’re including everyone’s language here,'” Reid told the DCNF. “But instead, in the name of inclusive-ism, they’re excluding probably the majority of students on the campus.”

MSU did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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