These are the words colleges don’t want you to say
Jezzamine Wolk, Campus Reform
Amid a nationwide movement to remove statues, symbols, and words in the name of inclusion, Campus Reform rounded up recent examples of words that have been banned on college campuses.
Michigan State University announced it would no longer use the terms “foreign” and “alien” in order to create a more inclusive environment. In October, Provost Teresa Woodruff addressed the Associated Students of MSU general assembly to announce the new “non-pejorative” language. Woodruff stated that moving forward, international students should be referred to as “non-domestic” or “international” to help “create a culture of not us vs. them, but of each other.”
After the University of Pittsburgh’s Alumni Association called for a policy change to end the use of the terms “king” and “queen,” the university announced in October that it will no longer use the traditional titles. Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations Nancy Merritt called the terms “antiquated” language. Instead, the school will provide a “Spirt of Pitt” award to homecoming royalty.
In March, the University of California’s Council of Chief Diversity officers released a “guidance document” regarding how to hold a “positive and inclusive” campus climate during the pandemic. The list tells students and faculty to “reject racism, sexism, xenophobia and all hateful or intolerant speech, both in person and online.” It also instructs students to not use terms such as “Chinese Virus” and to not allow the use of these terms by others.
An instructor at the University of Virginia called to abolish the phrase “student-athlete,” claiming it has “arguably racial” undertones. In an op-ed, Molly Harry defended calling the term racially charged by saying that “today, the majority of revenue-producing athletes in the sports of football and men’s basketball are Black. They are coached mostly by White men.” She also pointed out that the man who coined the term student-athlete was a White man.
In December, Vanderbilt University published a “Gender Affirmation Toolkit” for its employees in an effort to create a safe work environment. The toolkit explains how to properly use terms like “gender identity,” “gender expression,” and “sexual orientation.” It also listed “sexual reassignment surgery” on its list of “outdated” and “demeaning” words.
In November, Boston University’s Director of the Center for Anti-Racist Research Ibram Kendi said the phrase “legal vote” is racist. He said it is “as fictionally fraught and functionally racist as the terms ‘illegal alien’ and ‘race neutral’ and ‘welfare queen’ and ‘handouts’ and ‘super predator’ and ‘crackbaby’ and ‘personal responsibility’ and ‘post racial.”
“The misinformation of widespread voter fraud—or ‘illegal voting’ —in Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Phoenix where Black and Brown voters predominate is baked into the term ‘legal vote,'” Kendi added. “No matter what GOP propaganda says, there’s nothing wrong with those voters and votes.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JezzamineWolk