More colleges around the country are launching “inclusive language” campaigns that encourage students to avoid everyday words and phrases that could possibly offend someone, somewhere—”hey guys,” “mankind” and “man-made” are just a few of the terms now frowned upon.
The University of Northern Colorado has also jumped on the “inclusive language” bandwagon. But at the Greeley, Colo., university, there’s an extra wrinkle: In at least five classes in the last year, the new, ultra-inclusive lexicon wasn’t optional—it was required.
Sociology professor Kelly Davis included the inclusive language requirement on at least four syllabuses in the spring, according to records reviewed by Heat Street. By deadline, she had not returned Heat Street’s multiple phone calls or responded to emailed questions about how she enforces the rules.
Sociology professor Mark Shuey included the requirement on the syllabus for his Sociology of Minorities class during the spring. He tells Heat Street that he borrowed the language from Davis without giving mandated inclusive language much thought, and that he’ll likely remove it next semester out of concern for students’ free speech.
“That’s me overlooking something at the spur of the moment,” Shuey says. He added he hasn’t enforced “mandatory” gender-neutral language, nor have any students objected to it. He says he wouldn’t make students use gender-inclusive language or punish them for failing to do so.