Cardiff University told students and staff to avoid gendered words like “sportsmanship” and “manpower,” also saying that “first name” or “forename” is preferable to “Christian name.”
The inclusive-language guidelines, which have been in place for a few years but were first reported by the Telegraph Thursday, are an effort to “promote fairness and equality through raising awareness about potentially discriminatory vocabulary.”
The guidelines offer a litany of advice, warning students and staff to avoid gendered language. It specifically mentions dozens of words to avoid, also offering broad guidelines about how to talk about disabled or transgender people.
“Don’t be too anxious about the use of language, though,” the policy says. “Blind people do use terms like ‘see you later’ and being too careful can make conversation painful for both parties.”
In statements to the British press, Cardiff insisted that it was upholding both academic freedom and the promoting a campus atmosphere free of discrimination.
Cardiff University is far from the only place to implement a so-called inclusive language policy. In December, the University of Sussex advised professors not to assume students’ gender, while in January, the doctors’ trade union the British Medical Association told physicians not to refer to pregnant patients as “mothers” because might offend expectant “intersex men and trans men.”
And in the United States, Princeton University recently came under fire for banning several man-based words, and California State University Fullerton, California State University Northridge, the University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are among several to launch campaigns warning about potentially offensive words and phrases.
Cardiff University does appear to take the policy one step further, though. Most colleges say their inclusive-language guidelines are merely recommendations. But at Cardiff, students who use banned words and phrases could face discipline under the university’s bullying and harassment policy, while employees may also face repercussions, the Daily Mail reported.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.