The School that Destroyed the Words ‘Miss’ and ‘Mr’


In the latest campus gender war, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York has decreed staff will no longer use the salutations ‘Mr.’ and ‘Ms.’ in exchanges with students.

Of all the politically charged words we use to address each other in day-to-day communication, “Mr.” and “Ms.” might seem relatively inoffensive.But “Mr.” and “Ms.” entered the campus gender wars this week, with the announcement that administrators, faculty, and staff members at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) will no longer use these gendered salutations in exchanges with students.

Under a new university policy, CUNY staffers are instructed to omit Mr. and Ms. from “all types of correspondence” with students and prospective students, according to a recent internal memo, including “address and salutation, mailing labels, bills or invoices, and any other forms or reports.”

The policy went into effect for the Spring 2015 semester at the Manhattan public university as part of an “ongoing effort to ensure a respectful, welcoming, and gender-inclusive learning environment.”

Apparently, the most basic form of politesse has been deemed so grossly insensitive at CUNY’s Graduate Center that the school has cited Title IX, the federal law banning gender discrimination in government-funded education systems, as an explanation for its new speech code policy. (Tanya Domi, a school spokeswoman, told The Wall Street Journal that the university is “working within a regulatory framework to comply with Title IX legal principles.”)

“They may arguably have a right to implement this policy, but they cannot place the decision on Title IX,” said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a nonprofit dedicated to promoting free speech and due process on American campuses.

“It’s important,” said Lukianoff, “to understand that this is part of a long series of situations in which universities use Title IX as an excuse to pass often unconstitutional codes that they simply want to pass.”

In 2003, university efforts to pass such codes prompted the Department of Education to write a letter to every university in the country stating that Title IX is designed “to protect students from invidious discrimination, not to regulate the content of speech.”

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SOURCE: Lizzie Crocker 
The Daily Beast

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