Pennsylvania university threatens disciplinary action against students who 'misuse' pronouns

A university professor addresses his students during a lecture.
A university professor addresses his students during a lecture. | Getty Images

Point Park University in Pennsylvania sent an email to its students threatening that they will face disciplinary action if they don't use their classmates’ preferred gender pronouns. 

“The Office of Equity and Inclusion would like to welcome in the 2021-2022 academic year with information on current policies that exist through our office and information regarding the Preferred Name Policy, instances of misgendering, pronoun misuse, and deadnaming (the use of a person’s legal ‘dead’ name instead of using the person’s chosen or preferred name), as well as resources on microaggressions and additional training,” the email reads, according to Campus Reform.

The policy states that “any individual who has been informed of another person’s gender identity, pronouns, or chosen name is expected to respect that individual.”

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The university’s Pronouns and Inclusive Language Guide says using “gender inclusive language” is needed to avoid causing “trans and gender non-conforming folks to feel isolated.”

“While the University recognizes the aspect of intent versus impact, we must recognize that regardless of the intent, if an individual is impacted in a harmful way, action could be taken if a complaint is filed,” the email adds.

Logan Dubil, a Campus Reform correspondent and a student at the university, told Fox News the policies “go against many students’ belief systems, especially conservative students.”

“Personally, I believe in the science. There are two sexes and two genders: male and female,” Dubil said. “The policies in question force me to go against my beliefs. The fact that I can be disciplined by failing to follow policies that violate my conscience is concerning.”

PPU’s Student Government President Dennis McDermott was quoted as saying, “I, of course, respect the beliefs of others and their right to express those beliefs, but those beliefs, no matter what they are, cannot impede or harm the rights of others, in this case the right of a student to be respected in their use of their preferred name and pronouns.”

However, Cherise Trump, executive director of Speech First, told Fox News, “The university has prioritized students’ feelings over their rights and has turned some students into second-class citizens as a result.”

Caitlin Wiscombe, a student, told Campus Reform: “I understand what the university is trying to do, to be more inclusive and make those people feel more involved and maybe less separated and more respected, but by asking me to do this instead of just allowing students to do it themselves is making me feel uncomfortable and making me feel like my choice isn’t being respected.”

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