University Threatens to Punish Students Using Wrong Pronouns

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Students at a Pennsylvania university were warned that not using a classmate’s preferred pronoun could result in action against them

Point Park University students got an email on Sept. 13 detailing the school’s anti-discrimination policy, Campus Reform correspondent Logan Dubil reports.

“The Office of Equity and Inclusion would like to welcome in the 2021-2022 academic year with information on current policies that exist through our office and information regarding the Preferred Name Policy, instances of misgendering, pronoun misuse, and deadnaming (the use of a person’s legal ‘dead’ name instead of using the person’s chosen or preferred name), as well as resources on microaggressions and additional training,” the email reads. 

“Any individual who has been informed of another person’s gender identity, pronouns, or chosen name is expected to respect that individual,” noting if a complaint is filed, “regardless of the intent, if an individual is impacted in a harmful way, action could be taken.”

The university has a “Preferred Name Policy” allowing students or faculty members to use their preferred name when a legal name is not required.

The email links to a “Pronouns and Inclusive Language Guide” created by a former student, which instructs students to use “gender inclusive language” so “trans and gender non-conforming folks” don’t “feel isolated.”

Tyler Hertwig, a sophomore and track and field athlete, told Campus Reform it’s an “unreasonable” policy.

“To expect people to completely rewire how they interact with others is nuts. All for what, that 1 in 50 million chance of them possibly running into someone that’s ‘not’ a male or female,” Hertwig said. 

Dennis McDermott, student government president at the university, told the outlet he respects students’ beliefs who are opposed to the policy but said that is unconstitutional.