Green Room

UNC drops term ‘freshman’ in favor of ‘gender-inclusive’ language

posted at 2:19 pm on October 23, 2012 by

What do you call a first-year student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill? If you said freshman, you’re living back in the Stone Age, when cavemen (make that cavepersons) roamed the earth.

The antiquated term freshman, Campus Reform.org reports, has been excised from official university documents, along with other “non-gender inclusive” terms as part of a commitment “to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community” (h/t Weasel Zippers).

A statement sent to Campus Reform reads:

Consistent with that commitment, gender inclusive terms (chair; first year student; upper-level student, etc.) should be used on University Documents, websites and policies.

(The article notes that these changes were instituted in 2009 and garnered a new round of attention after libertarian TV host John Stossel reported on them recently.)

Very well, then: First year student it is. One assumes the university elders have also come up with a replacement for sophomore, which is derived from the derisive sophism, meaning “false argument or fallacy.” And how about junior, a term that implies “a lower rank or class, a subordinate.” Senior is no better, conjuring as it does thoughts of an old fogy.

Then again, if you want to get down to cases, gender itself is a misnomer that, up until recently, was a reference exclusively to a grammatical distinction that exists in English chiefly in its personal pronouns (think he/she, him/her). It, too, has been appropriated by the PC police to replace the term sex, which is evidently offensive.

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And the “Upper Level Students” still won’t have the sense God gave a potato.

CurtZHP on October 23, 2012 at 2:22 PM

First we lose to Duke, now this. How much more can I take. I think I will mail my diploma back to the chancellor, whoever it happens to be.

dhugh on October 23, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Freshperson?

Bitter Clinger on October 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Having solved all the earth’s bigger problems…

Sorry, what problem were they trying to solve? Did they do a Ctrl-F to find every instance of “men” in every university document?

Are my tax dollars paying for this?

Mohonri on October 23, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Next will be First Year Straight Student..

First Year Gay Student

First Year Straight, soon to be Gay student.

First Year Lesbian till Graduation student.

I could go on…..

Robert Jensen on October 23, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Freshperson?

Bitter Clinger on October 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Old person. Just lazy.

dhugh on October 23, 2012 at 2:42 PM

The University of Virgina has always* referred to students as First Year, Second Year, etc.

*the definition of “always” being, of course, from at least before I was there in the early 80s.

Mr. Bingley on October 23, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Wow … just when I thought things couldn’t get any dumber around here.

OrbeaRider66 on October 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Hey UNC, be brave and call them all “n00bs.” Pretty please!

Longing4Lincoln on October 23, 2012 at 2:55 PM

The real reason for this is that then need a name for fifth, sixth and seventh-year students when they don’t graduate on time.

Haiku Guy on October 23, 2012 at 3:22 PM

It, too, has been appropriated by the PC police to replace the term sex, which is evidently offensive.

So who, exactly, are the blue noses?

Freshperson?

Bitter Clinger on October 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Person?!

Has to be freshperoffspring.

rbj on October 23, 2012 at 3:24 PM

The real reason for this is that then need a name for fifth, sixth and seventh-year students when they don’t graduate on time.

Haiku Guy on October 23, 2012 at 3:22 PM

They already have a name. “Slackers.”

CurtZHP on October 23, 2012 at 3:26 PM

i’ve always disliked the term “freshman” – men, how would you feel if people called you “freshwoman”- you’d feel weird, right? so why do you expect us women to not feel weird when we are called “men?”

yet… i don’t see the need for the school to change the term, because when i was a “freshman” in high school i did feel weird at first but i got used to it after a while. and in college i was already used to the term)

(and my school uses both “freshman” and “first-year.”)

Sachiko on October 23, 2012 at 3:26 PM

The real reason for this is that then need a name for fifth, sixth and seventh-year students when they don’t graduate on time.

Haiku Guy on October 23, 2012 at 3:22 PM

they’re called “super seniors” XD

Sachiko on October 23, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Mr. Portnoy, I always enjoy your insightful articles. Your sense of humor is a delight.

thatsafactjack on October 23, 2012 at 3:29 PM

UNC drops term ‘freshman’ in favor of ‘gender-inclusive’ language

Well that’s certainly sophomoric.

Fabozz on October 23, 2012 at 3:36 PM

UNC has always been way over-rated. I went to ASU (another liberal college) and they tried to brainwash me into getting a “liberal arts” degree. I declined and pursued a BS in industrial technology and you know what?

I’m still employed.

Turtle317 on October 23, 2012 at 3:37 PM

First-year student

Is there a rule stating the politically correct term must be longer than the previous term?

Why not use frosh?

agmartin on October 23, 2012 at 3:53 PM

thatsafactjack on October 23, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Many thanks.

Howard Portnoy on October 23, 2012 at 3:56 PM

What if you don’t have enough credits to be a sophomore, but are in your second year of studies? You are not a first year student, so what are you?

DAT60A3 on October 23, 2012 at 4:29 PM

What if you don’t have enough credits to be a sophomore, but are in your second year of studies? You are not a first year student, so what are you?

Redshirt?

Howard Portnoy on October 23, 2012 at 5:09 PM

What if you don’t have enough credits to be a sophomore, but are in your second year of studies? You are not a first year student, so what are you?

DAT60A3 on October 23, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Fry cook.

CurtZHP on October 23, 2012 at 5:12 PM

How can we call them STUDents as this leaves out all of the non-males and a decent percentage of the males.

GreggHDDS on October 23, 2012 at 5:35 PM

The real reason for this is that then need a name for fifth, sixth and seventh-year students when they don’t graduate on time.

Haiku Guy on October 23, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Yeah, “Millenials”.

At least my GF can get scholarships b/c she’s a freaking genius. Now if only employers wouldn’t treat her like trash…

MelonCollie on October 23, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Freshmeat is gender neutral and holds true to college traditions of all proclivities.

drfredc on October 23, 2012 at 11:35 PM

Did this decision please the offended wopersons on campus? Were they truly offended or perhaps just angry because they were personstruating?

Does this affect the campus chapter of PERSONSA?

Will students continue to be judged on their persontal ability?

Did this come about from a monthly meeting of faculty departpersontal heads?

I just hope that this word change will bring about a benefit that is compersonsurate with the problems that might arise.

TugboatPhil on October 24, 2012 at 1:09 PM