Columbia University Faculty, Students Could Face Discipline for Refusing to Use Preferred Pronouns

Students and faculty at one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious universities could face disciplinary actions, including firing and expulsion, for deliberately failing to use a person’s preferred pronouns.

A recent YouTube video produced by the university explains how violations of the school’s nondiscrimination policy, such as intentionally “misgendering” a student or faculty member, could result in a loss of pay or even position for faculty members, or potential expulsion for students, Just the News reported earlier this week.

“Intentionally misgendering someone by refusing to use the correct pronouns or name is a violation of the Columbia University nondiscrimination policy,” the video, “Why Pronouns Matter,” explains. “Words matter. Even unintentional errors can create challenges.”

The video also explains that students may now use a wide range of preferred pronouns on their official school paperwork, such as “xe/xem,” “ze/hir,” “per/pers,” and “ey/em” and that faculty would do best to use the title “Mx.” instead of Mr., Ms., Mrs., or Miss when addressing a nonbinary student.

“Discipline may include, but is not limited to: reprimand/warning, change of the Respondent’s job duties, disciplinary probation, revocation of honors and awards, restricted access to University facilities or activities, a ‘no-contact’ order, relocation of a Respondent’s University-provided residence, relocation of Respondent’s workplace/station, demotion, administrative leave with or without pay, suspension with or without pay, unpaid leave, and dismissal or restriction from University employment. The University may also require training or educational intervention,” the school’s EOAA policy states.

A statement on the college’s website does allow that “misuse of a pronoun is not discrimination” but that such a mistake ought to be corrected immediately.

“You don’t want to inadvertently refer to someone by the wrong gender; even unintentional errors can create challenges for students in the learning environment. Be cognizant of the pronouns a student uses and always try to use them,” it reads.

Over the last few years, teachers and faculty at institutions of both lower and higher learning have been faced with a conflict over their own personal objection to using a person’s preferred pronouns if they do not align with their biological gender.

Many whose personal convictions do not align with such language face discipline or even firing.

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