Culture

University Lecturer to Dock Students’ Grades for Using the ‘Sexist’ Word ‘Mankind’

North Carolina State University has defended the lecturer's right to enforce this policy.

A lecturer at North Carolina State University will reportedly be docking students’ grades for using “sexist” language — such as the word “mankind.”

“Thanks to evolution, generalized pronouns and other biased references are no longer acceptable in any class,” stated the syllabus for Nancy Bishop’s online Women and Poverty class, according to a screenshot of the document obtained by the College Fix.

“You may NOT use ‘he’ or ‘him’ or ‘man’ to refer to both men and women,” it continued, adding that “mankind” must be replaced with “humans or humankind,” and that “she or he” must be used instead of just “he.”

“Grades will be docked for sexist language in assignments,” the syllabus warned.

(As the Fix points out, Bishop did not advise students how to handle pronouns when it comes to people who don’t identify with either gender in the traditional male-female binary, nor did it clarify whether or not the word “she” always had to be first in the phrase “she or he.”)

#share#Bishop defended the policy in an e-mail to the Fix, explaining that it was indeed necessary because she has had students refer to men and women using derogatory language in the past.

“I have had students call women ‘b[*****]s’’ and ‘gold digging ho’s’ or label women as ‘maid’s or the dishwasher’—etc. and some female students label men as ‘typical ass chasing d[***]s’, etc.,” she said.

(Apparently, the option to ban this kind of language and not innocuous words like “mankind” did not occur to her.)

#related#A North Carolina State spokesperson said in an e-mail to the Fix that it would not take action against Bishop because instructors were allowed to set the guidelines for their own classes — apparently even when the guidelines are this ridiculous.

As crazy as all of this may sound, it’s not an isolated incident. In fact, Washington State University professor Selena Lester Breikss actually attempted to do something similar: The syllabus for her Fall 2015 Women & Culture course warned students that using the words “male” and “female” to describe men and women was forbidden and could result in punishment. Unlike North Carolina State, however, WSU stepped in and said that this kind of restriction of free speech was not allowed.

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