Oxford University Urges Students To Use 'Ze' In Place Of Traditional PronounsBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
Oxford University has joined the gender neutrality cause. The school is urging its students to use "ze" in place of traditional pronouns like "he" and "she."
The Daily Mail reported that Oxford University is encouraging its student community to use the gender neutral pronoun "ze." The students' union revealed that the move was intended to decrease the risk of offending transgender students.
"It is a positive thing to not always emphasize gender divisions and barriers," Peter Tatchell, an LGBT rights campaigner told the publication. "It is good to have gender-neutral pronouns for those who want them but it shouldn't be compulsory."
Tatchell described the school's announcement as a "thoughtful, considerate move." Oxford University's behavior code has deemed the wrong usage of pronoun to a transgender person is an offense.
According to Oxford, its equality policy is part of its efforts to have an inclusive environment which "promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its staff and students are respected." It is aimed at enabling all members of its community to feel welcome, safe, valued and supported.
Cambridge University is believed to follow suit as well. One student from King's College revealed that gender neutral pronouns should be used in lectures too.
Prior to this, a guidebook for teachers, parents and students were sent to schools in Britain advising against using gender biased pronouns. It also discouraged the use of the terms "boys" and "girls" so as not to offend transgender pupils.
Last September, the University of Michigan in the United States announced that it has allowed students to indicate their preferred gender pronoun on class rosters. 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 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.