He, she or ze? University of Michigan students are now able to choose the personal pronoun they want faculty and staff to use when talking with them, the school announced.
The move was made to help foster inclusiveness, according to an e-mail to students and faculty members on the Ann Arbor campus from Provost Martha Pollack and Royster Harper, vice president for Student Life.
“A designated personal pronoun is a pronoun an individual chooses to identify with and expects others to use when referencing them (he, she, him, his, ze, etc.),” the school said in a news release.
Ze is a gender-neutral, third-person singular subject pronoun used in place of the masculine he or the feminine she, according to Dictionary.com.
U-M added a section in its campus directory to allow the students to designate a personal pronoun.
Designated pronouns will automatically populate on all class rosters. If a student does not designate a pronoun, none will be listed.
“Faculty members play a vital role in ensuring all of our community feels valued, respected and included. Given that this process is new, we ask that faculty members review their rosters again in mid- to late October to give students time to designate their pronouns,” the e-mail message from campus administrators said.
“Asking about and correctly using someone’s designated pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show respect for their identity and to cultivate an environment that respects all gender identities.”
The move is the result of a Pronoun Committee of staff and faculty that met for the past year. The committee was in response to a student petition.
U-M isn’t the only Michigan university to make this change this year. Eastern Michigan University also now allows students to pick their preferred name and preferred pronoun.
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