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Mar 06, 2017 07:04 AM EST

U.K. University Bans Gender-Specific Nouns For Cultural Diversity Initiative

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Cardiff Metropolitan University in the U.K. has banned gender-specific nouns such as "right-hand man," "sportsmanship" and "gentleman's agreement." This is reportedly part of its initiative to use more inclusive, gender-neutral language.

However, the school has been accused of censoring free speech. Other banned words include "forefathers" and "mankind."

Its revised code of practice has stated that more appropriate terms should be used, The Independent reported. Cardiff Metropolitan University also said that a student's cultural background should not affect their choice of words on campus.

34 words and phrases have been banned by the university as part of its cultural diversity initiative. Students and staff will face disciplinary measures if they fail to follow the language policy.

Some, though, have expressed their disappointment at Cardiff Metropolitan University for restricting their free speech. The policy has been labeled as an "insulting" attempt to tell them what they should or should not say.

University of Kent and author of "Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity" Dr. Joanna Williams described the policy as "authoritarian." She added that it was an attempt to control the way people think and say things. She also argued that the banned words were a result of history and "don't have sexist associations," according to Express.

BBC noted that Cardiff Metropolitan University has offered alternatives to gender-specific phrases. An example is using "best person for the job" instead of "best man for the job." For "sportsmanship," "fairness, "good humor" and "sense of fair play" should be used.

Last December, Oxford University has urged other higher education institutions to be more gender neutral and "remove gender-specific titles." It is aimed at enabling all members of its community to feel welcome, safe, valued and supported.

The University of Sussex has also announced its Gender Inclusive Language Policy. This urges students to specify their preferred pronoun at the start in order to prevent offense.

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