A university in the US has banned the honorifics ‘Mr and Mrs’ in salutations to students as a gender war takes hold among alumni.
A policy update to all staff at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) advises that staff will no longer use honorifics in all correspondence with students, based on the premise that honorifics are discriminatory.
An excerpt from the memo read: “Effective Spring 2015, the (graduate center’s) policy is to eliminate the use of gendered salutations and references in correspondence to students, prospective students, and third parties. Accordingly, Mr. and Ms. should be omitted from salutations.”
A university official said the new policy would create a “respectful, welcoming and gender-inclusive learning environment”, explaining the absence of these titles served to “accommodate properly the diverse population of current and prospective students.”
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“They are not mandated to do this,” attorney Saundra Schuster told a news website.
The website westernjournalism.com reported that CUNY staff members took the memo as a direct order to curtail the use of certain gender-based titles.
“My interpretation was that I was being asked to adhere to this policy,” said professor Juliette Blevins, “as were the professors who received the letter.”
Another CUNY professor, Joseph Borelli, indicated that he was open to embracing whatever titles his students prefer, though he opposes limiting speech with this restrictive policy.
“If a student asked me to call him Godzilla, I would happily call him Godzilla,” he said, “or whatever anyone asked to be called. But we do not need another ultra-PC policy change.”