The University of Minnesota has proposed a policy that would punish students and professors for not using someone’s preferred gender pronoun. Failure to do so may result in expulsion for students or firing for professors.
The draft policy, titled “Equity and Access: Gender Identity, Gender Expression, Names and Pronouns,” states that UM wants to provide an environment “free from discrimination and harassment based on gender identity and gender expression …” The school will do so by providing gender inclusive options available for housing, restrooms and locker rooms.
The school will allow students and faculty to “specify a name and/or gender identity that differs from the name and/or sex, sex assigned at birth, and/or gender identity listed on their legal documents.” They will also be allowed to specify their preferred pronouns (such as he, she, ze, or something else) “without being required to provide documentation of their gender identity.”
Students and faculty can specify their preferred pronouns and gender identity either in writing or verbally. School officials “must take reasonable steps” to maintain the person’s original names and sex in university records if they differ from the preferred gender identity and pronouns.
Students are allowed to choose from a list of personal pronouns on the campus website: He/him/his, none, prefer not to specify, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs, or ze/zir/zirs. They can also specify their gender identity as one of the following: Agender, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, man, nonbinary, prefer not to specify, two spirit, woman, or they can enter their own.