By Veronica Elliot at The Christian Times
A New York City school has made the decision to go gender-neutral, reportedly encouraging staff to no longer use gender-specific salutations when greeting colleagues or students.
The City University of New York [CUNY] announced this week that it has notified professors and other members of staff in the school’s graduate program that they may no longer refer to students with gender-related titles like “Ms.” Or “Mr.”
“Effective Spring 2015, the (graduate center’s) policy is to eliminate the use of gendered salutations and references in correspondence to students, prospective students, and third parties,” the memo reads, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Accordingly, Mr. and Ms. should be omitted from salutations.”
Although the new rule refers mainly to written statements, officials at CUNY have suggested that it should be interpreted as broadly as possible.
The school has claimed that they have implemented the new rule to comply with Title IX legal principles, but Ari Cohn, free speech lawyer and advocate at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, told The College Fix that he thinks the new ban goes beyond the requirements of the anti-discrimination law.
“Title IX prohibits discrimination—nothing more,” Cohn told the media outlet. “Unfortunately, this problematic justification is emblematic of a pattern that FIRE is increasingly concerned by: Title IX is being turned into a Swiss army knife that can be used by colleges and universities to justify (and provide political cover for) virtually any academic or institutional policy even tangentially related to sex or gender.”
“A strict mandate would impose on the way professors conduct their classes—traditionally the domain in which they have the most autonomy,” he said.