Pennsylvania State University has been mocked after axing the words ‘freshman,’ ‘junior’ and ‘senior’ – as well as the phrase ‘him or her’ over fears they’re sexist.
Last month, the University’s Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs passed the ‘Removal of Gendered & Binary Terms from Course and Program Descriptions’ resolution with a majority vote. They said the axed terms were examples of ‘male-centric’ terminology that needed to be updated with more inclusive words.
Among the concerns raised by the committee were that ‘freshmen’ were too male-specific, with ‘junior’ and ‘senior’ axed for being ‘parallel to western male father-son naming conventions.’
The phrase ‘upperclassmen’ was condemned for being ‘both sexist and classist,’ while the new rules also lashed Penn’s existing documentation for many appearances by he/she pronouns.’
The bill was one of several equity and diversity resolutions to pass at the Senate’s April 27 meeting, Penn State News reported.
The changes for gendered terms would apply to all written materials, including both internal and outward-facing documents, Fox News reported.
Pennsylvania State University (pictured) will no longer use labels like ‘freshman,’ ‘junior,’ or ‘senior,’ in an effort to be more inclusive and move away from ‘male-centric’ terminology
While the resolution has been mocked online, 88.75 percent of students at Penn State University said they approved the change, campusreform.org reported
The senate also recommended replacing freshman/sophomore/junior/senior with ‘first-year’,’ second-year’ etc.
Its members suggested replacing gendered pronouns with neutral terms like ‘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 axed. That refers to students who have taken longer than the usual four years to complete their studies, over fears the moniker could make some of them self-conscious.
The proposal provided a suggested edit to a theater course description to read ‘them’ instead of ‘him’ or ‘her.’ (pictured)
But the resolution also conceded that old terms – including male and female pronouns – may be required in courses such as gender studies classes.
‘The committee recognizes that there may be places where these terms, especially gender terms, may need to remain intact, for example in the case of courses or degrees that delve into gender studies,’ the resolution said. ‘In such cases, efforts shall be made to clearly delineate between the ‘academic’ study of these gendered terms, and the newly established nomenclature as it would apply to faculty, staff, students, and guests.’
Many online commenters ridiculed Penn State’s changes, and predicted a drop in applications to the prestigious college
The announcement drew mixed criticism from people online, with some calling the move the schools attempt to be ‘woke.’
On Facebook one parent complained about the resolution, commenting: ‘Are you really getting rid of terminology such as freshman and sophomore? because I have a child at the main campus and I am at my wits end with this stupidity.’
Another Facebook commenter was even harsher, commenting: ‘Your woke agenda is both sad and really pathetic and you represent what’s wrong with this generation. Please pack up and leave asap because your agenda proves how worthless these students are who get triggered over real terms like male, senior and junior.’
Reactions on Twitter were not any better, with one person tweeting ‘College campuses are quickly becoming complete jokes. Glad I went to college before academics went completely crazy.’
‘I guess Penn State grads don’t have and Alma Mater any more. I mean, ‘nourishing mother’ so CIS and ungender neutral. Maybe it should be Alma They?’ someone tweeted in reaction to the resolution.
‘Great to see we are focusing on important issues like this in the U.S,’ one person sarcastically tweeted.
Another person shared a ‘Family Guy’ meme of Peter Griffin that reads ‘Oh my god! who the hell cares!?’
One person simply tweeted ‘Its official, these idiots are fully certifiable.’
While reaction to the resolution has been mixed online, students at Penn State do not seem to mind.
88.75 percent of students at the university approved the change, campusreform.org reported.