Vanderbilt University’s campaign to support transgender individuals by encouraging use of proper “pronoun etiquette” has been characterized by a law professor at the Nashville university as the latest manifestation of an intolerant, secularist agenda prevalent in higher education.
“Political correctness, multiculturalism and the redefinition of the pronouns are a form of cultural Marxism,” Carol Swain, professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt, told Baptist Press in written comments. “It’s part of an aggressive agenda to destroy Western traditions, values and norms. Across America and on the Vanderbilt campus, a small minority wields enormous power when it comes to implementing their agendas for societal change.”
Swain added, “The only acceptable religions” at universities like Vanderbilt “are ones that pose no threat to the godless secularism the university advances as enlightened truth.”
As students returned this fall, the private university’s Faculty Senate Gender Inclusivity Task Force placed posters on campus with the heading “What should I call you?” They urged faculty and students to share with one another in personal introductions and email signatures whether their preferred pronouns are he/him/his, she/her/hers or a gender-neutral option like ze/zir/zirs, according to an image of the posters posted online by the conservative publication The Daily Caller.
A Sept. 6 tweet by journalist and Vanderbilt alum Clay Travis included a photo of new Vanderbilt staff name badges that allegedly include an employee’s name, title and preferred pronouns.
A 5,000-word blog post by Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching cites “the need to establish university-wide best practices for respecting gender identity and expression” and includes a link to a “pronoun etiquette sheet.” The post references “long-standing misconceptions of gender as a binary construct” and states, “Biological sex is assigned at birth by a medical practitioner.”
The university suggests professors give students an opportunity to state their preferred pronouns on the first day of class and urges instructors to correct pronoun misuse during class sessions.
“While it may feel awkward to stop and correct your (or a student’s) pronoun usage,” the blog post states, “failing to act is a personal affront (and a violent act) against gender non-conforming individuals.”
“Fluency with gender non-conforming vocabulary” and “implementing gender-inclusive pedagogical practices” are important for all professors, the blog post states, even in disciplines like math and science.
Swain, who drew fire in 2015 for arguing Muslims should fully integrate into U.S. society, said the university “is advancing a dangerous political agenda that creates an unhealthy learning and teaching environment for students and faculty who disagree with its new direction.”
“It is an unhealthy agenda because it seeks to squelch free speech and any ideas that run counter to its worldview. The indoctrination process for students begins as soon as they set foot on the campus,” Swain said.
“The Christian faith is especially threatening to the agenda because of its lifestyle and belief requirements,” she continued. “Vanderbilt tipped its hand in 2011 when it adopted a policy that eventually led to half the Christian groups on campus losing their student recognition and … the same rights and privileges as other students whose parents pay the same amount in activity fees. If the university is successful with its indoctrination, Christian parents will hardly recognize their children by Thanksgiving.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press