GREELEY, Colo. – Students in at least five classes at the University of Colorado last year were required to use mandatory “inclusive language” – essentially a ban on words like “he” or “she.”
Sociology professor Kelly Davis demanded inclusive language in at least four syllabuses for classes this spring, and her colleague Mark Shuey did the same for his spring Sociology of Minorities class, though he claims it was an oversight, Fox News reports.
Davis is dodging questions about the censorship by avoiding phone calls and emails from Heat Street, but Shuey told the news site he simply followed Davis’ lead and is now reconsidering the inclusive language requirement because of obvious conflicts with students’ free speech rights.
“That’s me overlooking something at the spur of the moment,” Shuey said, adding that he did not enforce the “mandatory” gender-neutral language.
“What I’m really getting at is, have your own opinion, but be kind to each other.”
Heat Street pointed out that the university has a history of censoring language it deems offensive, which includes gendered phrases like “hey guys” or “man-made.”
“The University of Northern Colorado faced criticism earlier this year after Heat Street broke the news that its Bias Response Team had hung 680 posters around campus last year warning students against using offensive language, including some gendered phrases. The Bias Response Team also told one professor to change his lesson plan and avoid controversial topics, including transgender issues, so he didn’t offend students,” the news site reports.
UNC spokesman Nate Haas said the course syllabuses are “left to the discretion of each instructor” but declined to elaborate on potential consequences for violations or how the rules jibe with the university’s supposed commitment to free speech.
Shuey, however, was more than willing to discuss what he expects out of students.
“If you’re dealing from opinion, I’m going to call you out on it. … I have several students whose whole reality is based on Fox News. That’s opinion-based, not fact-based,” Shuey alleged. “If you start saying what Fox News says, I’m going to call you out on it.”
Religious thought also will not be tolerated, he said.
Shuey and Davis syllabuses both state “it is not appropriate to make personal statements of faith at any time, which will be used to evaluate other forms of religion.”
Suey said religion and resistance to mandatory gender-neutral language requirements go hand-in-hand, and it’s usually the same people who don’t buy into white privilege theory.
“(I)f someone pushed it, I’d say, first off, I’d ask, ‘Why the resistance? Why the anger?’ And most of the time, those people are religious, and most of the time, (I’d say), ‘If you really believe in Jesus, you’re supposed to serve people, not judge them. Are you really following what Jesus wants you to do?’”
He prattled on.
“When people are like that, where they can’t see white privilege, or they’re wrapped up in their religion, I focus on not deterring them from that,” Suey told Heat Street. “I try to make them look at the bigger picture. … Some students are going to be more resistant, but I’m not going to give them an ‘F’ because they said ‘he’ or ‘she.’”