Pushing ‘gender-neutral pronouns’ such as ‘xe’ and ‘zir’ are what colleges do nowadays instead of actually adding value to society.
The University of Tennessee managed to attract national attention last week that it surely didn’t want. A university Web page (cached version here) hosted by the institution’s Pride Center that falls under the Office of Diversity and Inclusion counseled students via a handy chart to use “gender neutral pronouns.”
To make everyone feel included, students should use “xe” instead of “he” and “she,” and “hir” and “zir” instead of “her” and “him.” One student named Mandy attending an event celebrating the publication of the chart introduced “xymself” this way: “Hi. I’m Mandy. Xe.”
Tennessee politicians were up in arms, and vowed to address this matter when the legislature sits again in January if the university had not already done so. The university has as of Tuesday removed the Web site and strained to explain yet again that while it had not mandated that students use gender-neutral pronouns nevertheless the reputation of the university was being harmed by the confusion over the issue. It is still quite possible that the legislature will hold hearings to investigate the matter.
As an alumnus of UT, I’m embarrassed; as a college English major, I’m outraged. One wonders if the UT English department was consulted. Maybe they have drunk deeply from the well of political correctness and aren’t bothered by this, but they should at least have objected to the chart’s assertion that “they,” “them,” and “theirs” are appropriately used as singular pronouns. No, they are not.