Penn State has announced that they will move away from their "male-centric academic history" by banning all language that refers to gender.
The Penn State Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs has approved a motion entitled, "Removal of Gendered & Binary Terms from Course and Program Descriptions." Under the motion, Penn State will scrap titles such as "Freshman" through to "Senior" and remove all language including "he/him/his and she/her/hers."
The Senate document reads, "We suggest that the University consider changes to all written materials, including recruiting materials, admissions materials, scholarship information, housing materials, other outward-facing documents, internal documents, and websites." The committee said the first step will be to remove "academic grouping titles that stem from a primarily male-centric academic history."
This means that students will no longer be referred to as "freshman" or "sophomores" and even including the term "junior" and "senior" because "terms such as ‘junior’ and ‘senior’ are parallel to western male father-son naming conventions." The committee criticized the university for most written documents including "he/she" pronouns and claims that is against the best interest of students.
In 2018, Penn State ended the practise of crowning a home coming "king" and "queen" because "a lot of people who identify no longer as just male or female," a student told local news. Penn State now honours two students "regardless of their gender, gender identity, and/or gender expression." They also changed the selection process from a campus wide popular vote to a faculty committee.
The push to ended gender pronouns is nothing new to LGBT campus activists. In Canada, McGill university now advises students and faculty, "When reviewing and writing content, keep a lookout for gendered nouns (such as "man" and words ending in "man") and replace those with more gender-neutral language." McGill advocates for people to avoid using "he" or "she" at all costs.
This week in France the country banned "gender-neutral" language because it is "harmful" to French language and culture. It is expected that universities who haven't already will follow in the footsteps of Penn State and attempt to end any reference to the binary genders.