Northern Arizona University (NAU), my alma mater, has come under fire and for good reason. English professor Dr. Anne Scott docked points from a student for using “mankind” instead of a “gender-neutral alternative.”
Basically, because the word “man” was in the compound, the student was being docked points.
Scott explained her reasoning to the student in an email:
I would be negligent, as a professor who is running a class about the human condition and the assumptions we make about being “human,” if I did not also raise this issue of gendered language and ask my students to respect the need for gender-neutral language. The words we use matter very much, or else teachers would not be making an issue of this at all, and the MLA would not be making recommendations for gender-neutral language at the national level.
I will respect your choice to leave your diction choices “as is” and to make whatever political and linguistic statement you want to make by doing so. By the same token, I will still need to subtract a point because your choice will not be made in the letter or spirit of this particular class, which is all about having you and other students looking beneath your assumptions and understanding that “mankind” does not mean “all people” to all people. It positively does not.
And guess what? People across the country weren’t happy about her point-docking and the reasoning behind it.
@NAU Dr. Anne Scott deducting points for a student using "Mankind"? Really?? #NAU Mankind has always been "Mankind." Even in the moon!
— JimDuBois (@JimDuBois1) March 29, 2017
Mankind. Humankind. Humanity. It’s all the same.
@NAU all mankind is embarrassed by Dr. Anne Scott.
— brent mohrman (@motrbotr) March 29, 2017
@NAU with professors like Anne Scott in staff at AZ universities it suddenly becomes clear how @SenJohnMcCain stays in office
— Squeeze don't Pull (@lnwilcoxson) March 29, 2017
@NAU I sure hope he's using gender neutral language & not you know, words found in the dictionary. #nosnowflakes
— Rudy Harrison (@t0eknife) March 29, 2017
Well played, Rudy. Well played.
The teachers at @NAU are now policing speech…
What's next?? Imprisoning political dissidents????#WhatILearnedToday #MAGA #FreeSpeech https://t.co/ES8EVRe8tn
— Breaking Mews! (@Pawservative) March 29, 2017
If you’ve ever been a conservative in NAU’s political science classes, it sure feels like imprisonment.
So does @NAU offer actual majors in transphobia or do you simply cultivate a violent climate for it to flourish? My peers are excelling ?✔️
— Chey (@CheyBoii) March 29, 2017
And the winner of today’s tweet fest goes to…Chey for the most creative statement.
Even though I hope NAU addresses a professor’s clearly bias political agenda, I have very little faith. My time on the campus has made me skeptical about the university’s ability to protect conservative students.
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