[lg policy] Campus Reform Univerity of North Carolina student paper will no longer use the word 'freshman'

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu Sep 24 17:00:02 UTC 2015

- In the "interest of inclusivity" The Daily Tar Heel will now use
gender-neutral language in its stories.
- Words like "freshman," "spokesman," and "chairwoman" will no longer be

The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at the University of North
Carolina Chapel Hill, has decided it will no longer use the word “freshman.”

According to an article
Monday’s edition, “[i]n the interest of inclusivity, The Daily Tar Heel
will from now on use gender-neutral language in its stories… we all see a
pressing need to be inclusive in the way we write about people.”

“UNC is such an interesting campus, always challenging its students,
faculty, staff and administration to be more inclusive..."    Tweet This

The student publication will undergo several changes, including the use of
the term “first-year” in place of “freshman.” Additionally, the paper will
use gender-neutral terms such as “spokesperson” and “chairperson” instead
of “spokesman” and “chairwoman.”

In other instances where a gendered term would be commonly used, the paper
says it “will find a gender-neutral alternative.”

In 2010, student groups at UNC Chapel Hill petitioned
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Dunn <https://twitter.com/andrew_dunn> to revise the
newspaper’s language policy. Dunn stayed firm and refused to change the
policy, stating that the next editor could change it.

“We are in the business of communication,” Dunn stated. “The terms that we
use, like ‘freshman,’ are the ones that are most recognizable.”

According to the paper, Dunn was simply upholding the AP Style Guide’s
decision to use “freshman” instead of “first-year students.”

The Daily Tar Heel’s current editor in chief, Paige Ladisic, told *Campus
Reform* the paper decided to make these changes to align with the changes
the university made several years ago.

“UNC is such an interesting campus, always challenging its students,
faculty, staff and administration to be more inclusive, more understanding
and more accepting, and UNC actually changed from "freshman" to "first
year" in 2009 or so,” Ladisic said. “For five years, the DTH stood by the
AP Stylebook's ruling on this and disregarded the university's ruling, and
I never considered challenging this myself.”

Ladisic said while the term “freshman” has never struck her the wrong way a
lot of her staff and other students have voiced the discomfort they feel by
“being gendered in words like “freshman” or “spokesman.””

“One important thing all of us had to think about was that we don't serve
ourselves, the journalists, at the DTH — we serve our readers,” Ladisic
added. “And if our readers care about something, we should respond
responsibly. That's what we are trying to do here.”


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