Point Park University (PPU) in Pennsylvania has warned its students that disciplinary action may be taken against them if they do not use their classmates’ preferred pronouns.
The school’s Office of Equity and Inclusion recently sent a message to incoming students concerning its new policy on misgendering, pronoun misuse, and deadnaming on campus. The email, obtained by Campus Reform, stated that any person who has been made aware of another’s gender identity, pronouns, or chosen name is expected to show respect.
“While the University recognizes the aspect of intent versus impact, we must recognize that regardless of the intent, if an individual is impacted in a harmful way, action could be taken if a complaint is filed,” the email said.
Furthermore, the university shared a link to its “Pronouns and Inclusive Language Guide,” which states that language that assumes another’s gender identity may cause gender nonconforming students to feel isolated.
The guide suggests that students use “partner” instead of “boyfriend or girlfriend” and refrain from saying “ladies and gentlemen,” instead using “students and guests.”
‘Inconsistent with Freedom of Expression’
PPU student government president Dennis McDermott said that while he does not know the exact details of the policy, he believes that violating it would be similar to committing an act of discrimination against fellow students on campus.
He clarified that he respects the opinion of people who are against the policy, but emphasized that their beliefs should not impede the right of students to be respected for their preferred names and pronouns.
Meanwhile, another student admits that she feels uncomfortable being asked to use the preferred pronouns of her classmates.
“I understand what the university is trying to do, to be more inclusive and make those people feel more involved and maybe less separated and more respected, but by asking me to do this instead of just allowing students to do it themselves is making me feel uncomfortable and making me feel like my choice isn’t being respected,” she explained.
For Executive Director of Speech First, Cherise Trump, forcing students to profess beliefs that are against their will is “inconsistent” and ironic with the freedom of thought and expression that the university claims to uphold.