In a display of political correctness similar to those on other college campuses across the U.S., professors at the University of Michigan recently received a new directive regarding how they should treat certain pronouns and other gender-specific language.
The university’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching distributed its guide late last month, emphasizing its focus on cutting out any words that might offend transgender or other “gender-nonbinary” students.
The list of potentially problematic words and phrases includes “ladies and gentlemen” and “mom and dad,” both of which the university believes could make some on campus feel marginalized.
Several popular buzzwords were included in the directive, including criticism of any expression that could be interpreted as “normalizing gender binaries” or “reinforc[ing] heteronormative assumptions.”
Even some buzzwords, however, are now considered to damaging for university staff to utter. Specifically, the new guidelines discourage the use of “preferred pronouns” to describe the identifiers students choose for themselves.
“The concept of ‘preferred’ pronouns can make a trans person’s pronouns seem less than absolutely necessary,” the release advised. “The language of preference implies that yeah, I’d prefer if you use these pronouns for me, but it’s not that important.”
Professors were also asked to revise their course paperwork to remove any offending language. The guide included a recommended syllabus statement:
“All people have the right to be addressed and referred to in accordance with their personal identity. In this class, we will have the chance to indicate the name that we prefer to be called and, if we choose, to identify pronouns with which we would like to be addressed.”