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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