Harvard adds alternative gender pronouns

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2015/09/04/harvard-adds-gender-pronoun-to-registration/

CAMBRIDGE — Starting this school year, students at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts & Sciences will be allowed to select their gender and choose their own pronouns.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences, in which more than half of Harvard undergraduates are enrolled, will allow students to select from genders, including “male,” “female,” “transgender,” and other write-in options, according to the Harvard Crimson. They can then select traditional pronouns or “ze, hir, hirs” and “they, them, theirs.”

Michael Burke, Registrar of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, told the Crimson that administrators discussed this change for several years to make the relationship between faculty and students more “comfortable.”

“It’s important when you are writing emails or referring a student to another person in the College, you want to do it the right way,” Burke told the Crimson.

The Boston Globe reported that the move to alter pronouns will not affect actual student gender assignment by the university. With respect to housing and other areas, Harvard will still make decisions based on traditional male and female classifications.

Harvard is not the first college to allow students to select from multiple gender pronoun options. The University of Vermont has has done so since 2009.

The University of Tennessee this year attempted a similar gender pronoun shift, but has come under intense criticism from Tennessee lawmakers. Tennessee State Sen. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, told the Chattanooga Free Press that the University’s move is “the clearest example of political correctness run amok that I have seen in quite some time.”

UT later clarified that the university was merely encouraging students to adopt more sensitive language and was not mandating the change.