Phi Beta Cons

‘Freshman’ is now an offensive, dangerous, sexist word

Elon University has dropped the term “freshman” from its vocabulary and replaced it with “first-year” – because apparently the term “freshman” is now offensive.

“Using language that allows for a more inclusive understanding of gender will be important in our culture moving forward,” Leigh-Anne Royster, director of Elon’s “Inclusive Community Wellbeing,” said in an email to The College Fix. “Moving away from language, including pronouns, that denote a gender binary will be something we see more and more as our culture evolves to celebrate a wider range of identities and expressions.”

But wait, there’s more.

“The term has often been felt to refer to the vulnerableness of young women in college for the first time,” Royster added. “Given the rates of sexual violence perpetrated against women on college campuses, it is useful to examine any use of a term that suggests that a group of people just entering college might be targets for such violence in any way.”

Greg Zaiser, Elon’s vice president of admissions, also told The College Fix some believe “freshmen” is a “sexist” term, and Elon seeks to move away from gender stereotypes.

What the administrators at this private, liberal arts college in North Carolina know all too well is that if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

“They engrained over and over in our brains that it was supposed to be ‘first-year,’ not ‘freshman,’” one student orientation leader told The College Fix. “They were very adamant about using the correct terminology and stressed the importance of using language that would make the new students feel comfortable.”

But the new students are not comfortable, it turns out. Some said they didn’t like the change. Perhaps they see it for what it is: a politically correct, Orwellian move to validate social progressive tenets. 

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