This is a new one. Admittedly, when I first read this story, I thought it was fake news from the satire site the Onion. But sadly it is actually happening. According to the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the pronouns “he” and “she” are considered signs of intolerance and will no longer be countenanced on campus.
“With the new semester beginning and an influx of new students on campus, it is important to participate in making our campus welcoming and inclusive for all,” wrote Donna Braquet in a posting on the university’s website. “One way to do that is to use a student’s chosen name and their correct pronouns.”
Braquet, who is director of the university’s Pride Center, suggested using a variety of gender neutral pronouns instead of traditional pronouns. “There are dozens of gender-neutral pronouns,” she declared.
For all you folks who went to school back when there were only him and her – here’s a primer: some of the new gender neutral pronouns are ze, hir, zir, xe, xem and xyr.
…“You can always politely ask,” she wrote. “’Oh, nice to meet you (insert name). What pronouns should I use?’ is a perfectly fine question to ask.”
In case you’re thinking this is a one-off (make that “way off”) phenomenon, be aware that the University of Tennessee is just the latest to discover these alternative pronouns. In 2013, Mouthing Off!, a group for students identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender enrolled at Mills College, an all-women’s school in Oakland, Calif., urged the administration to recognize ze, sie, e, ou, and ve. Nor is this sickness limited to higher education. In 2014, the Board of Education for the city of Vancouver approved the use of “gender-free pronouns” for its schools.
How far are we going to let the campus speech police go before we start re-evaluating how much federal and state tax money is spent to inflate college budgets across the country for “fun” projects like this one?
Cross-posted at DeneenBorelli.com