University Of Michigan Gives Students Freedom To Choose Their 'Preferred Pronouns'By Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
The University of Michigan has recently announced that it is allowing students to indicate their preferred gender pronoun on class rosters. This is for the use of the professors.
Michigan Daily reported that provost Martha Pollack and E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, confirmed to the campus community on Tuesday that a pronoun committee, composed of faculty and staff members, has developed this process since last year. A petition, which gained close to 800 signatures, was created by Wolverines for Preferred Pronouns last March. It urged the school to put pronoun preferences on class rosters.
A preferred pronoun is a gender pronoun which is used to identify an individual. Other people are also expected to use it when referring to the person.
"Students can designate pronouns in Wolverine Access through the new Gender Identity tab within the Campus Personal Information section," Pollack and Harper wrote. "This page will be used to enter/update and/or delete pronoun information with the University."
This recent development is part of the University of Michigan's efforts to make the campus more welcoming to minority students. Its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative will be launched on Oct. 6.
"The plan has to work towards the goal of making the University community look like the public it serves," University President Mark Schlissel said about the program last February. "It sounds simplistic: There aren't numerical quotas - that's not either legal or desirable - there's a shared ambition and we're trying to release the creativity of all of our different units."
According to Fox News, professors are expected to use the students' preferred pronouns in class. Mistakenly addressing someone with the wrong gender pronoun is acceptable once or twice. However, continued failure to comply with the initiative would be seen as a "performance matter."
Cameron Breither, a Collaborative Learning Coordinator, wrote in a Nov. 2012 alumni newsletter that beginning his transition from female to male at the school was "one of the best decisions of [his] collegiate career." Breither noted that everyone in the university was affirming with his transition and the institution also provided him with the services and accommodations that he needed.