A Pittsburgh college told its students that "action could be taken" against them if they fail to use others' preferred pronouns, Campus Reform reported.
What are the details?
The outlet said it obtained a Sept. 13 email from Point Park University's Office of Equity and Inclusion to the student body outlining the college's anti-discrimination policy for the 2021-2022 academic year.
The email was meant to inform readers about PPU's "Preferred Name Policy" as well as rules regarding "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," Campus Reform said.
The college's Preferred Name Policy allows students and faculty members to use their preferred names when legal names aren't required, the outlet said, adding that its Misgendering, Pronoun Misuse, and Deadnaming Policy states that "any individual who has been informed of another person's gender identity, pronouns, or chosen name is expected to respect that individual."
And if a complaint is filed against alleged violators, "action could be taken," the email says, according to Campus Reform.
"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 states, the outlet said.
What is meant by 'action could be taken'?
Campus Reform said it's unclear what PPU means by "action could be taken."
Louis Corsaro, managing director of university marketing and public relations, told the outlet that "Point Park University expects every member of its community — students, faculty and staff — to treat each other with respect."
Point Park University's Student Government President Dennis McDermott told Campus Reform he doesn't know the policy's exact details but added, "I would imagine any violation (in this case misgendering, misuse of pronouns, or incorrectly using someone's deadname when you are aware of their preferred name and pronouns) would result in a similar action to any act of discrimination against students on campus."
Fox News said a PPU spokesperson declined to comment regarding the cable network's request for details on how the policy would be enforced.
'To expect people to completely rewire how they interact with others is nuts'
"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," student Caitlin Wiscombe told Campus Reform.
Student Tyler Hertwig added to the outlet that "it's unreasonable to expect the 99.99% to compromise for the 0.01%."
"We live in a place where we have the opportunity to meet at least one person a day if we choose to give them our time," Hertwig also told Campus Reform. "Out of the thousands of people you've met in your life, how many times have you asked for their gender versus ... their name?"
"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," he added to the outlet.
But McDermott told Campus Reform of his message to students who "do not believe in these rights covered under [the] non-discrimination policy."
"I, of course, respect the beliefs of others and their right to express those beliefs," he noted to the outlet, "but those beliefs, no matter what they are, cannot impede or harm the rights of others, in this case the right of a student to be respected in their use of their preferred name and pronouns."
McDermott addd to Campus Reform that "this is a fundamental belief not only I and Point Park University share (imagine that), but also the United States Constitution asserts."
Here's another college's perspective on the issue:
What is the preferred gender pronoun movement? youtu.be