Princeton University has banned gender specific words in its human resources department in a move eliminating pronouns like “he” or “she” and words like “man hours” in favor of “person hours.”
All employees within the department must follow style guidelines in communications, policies and job descriptions and job postings, in reflecting “the inclusive culture and policies at Princeton University,” the guidelines read in part.
“Gender-inclusive language is writing and speaking about people in a manner that does not use gender-based words,” according to the four-page document dated March 2015. “Gender binary is the traditional view on human gender, which does not take into consideration individuals who identify as otherwise, including and not limited to transgender, genderqueer, gender nonconforming and or intersex.”
The website, “The College Fix,” was the first to report the story about the policy, that was implemented by the university more than a year ago.
“About two years ago, HR developed guidelines to be used in official communications from the department, as is common practice at other institutions,” Princeton said in a press statement Thursday.
“The guidelines encourage the use of language that is broadly inclusive in job postings, policy statements and other documents and reflect the inclusive culture and policies at Princeton University,” the statement continued. “No words or phrases have been banned at the University, which places a high value (on) free expression.”
The guidelines provide tips for employees on how to write in gender-free language. Instead of pronouns he, she, him or her, they should use plural pronouns instead like they.
Also, there are words for occupations that employees should not use. Instead of freshman or freshmen, it should be “frosh” or “first-year students.” All forms of alumni, alumna, alumnae and alumnus are out; instead, it has to be alum, grad, alums or grads.
“Use gender-neutral occupational titles and gender neutral generic terms instead of the generic term man, generic words and expressions that contain the word man and the use of man as an adjective or verb,” the guidelines said.
For example, they cannot write “man the front desk,” but “staff the front desk.” Also, they cannot use man and wife, but rather spouses and partners, the guidelines say.