Guidelines discussed

By Paul Kirk

The Freshman English Committee voted to hurry up and wait on their decision to introduce “gender inclusive” guidelines into the core curriculum of English 103, 104 and 105 courses.

Despite members of the Student Association being invited to the meeting, they were unable to express their concerns to the committee.

“This is an open meeting but not an open forum,” Robert Self, director of Freshman English said.

He denied students the right to speak at the proceedings.

“It is so clear they are disregarding student views,” Preston Came, SA president said.

Came said he would like to see the committee make it clear student’s grades will not be lowered if they exercise their right to use traditional language.

The committee decided to hold over the motion to send advisory letters to instructors in the department until further review. The letter was planned to advise English instructors to deal with gender-related problems in their classrooms.

A copy of the “gender inclusive” guidelines would have also been sent with the letter. Self motioned that any action be stalled until next Wednesday’s meeting because of a lack of time.

Self said the English department has already adopted the principle to adopt texts written in “gender inclusive” language.

“Almost everyone in the world has these guidelines,” he said.

Self said Illinois State University has already adopted “gender inclusive” guidelines campus wide.

Parker Johnson, director of the Teaching Assistant program, related the findings of a study done last year that asked 113 college freshman what they thought of “gender inclusive” language.

“In general, a surprising number of agreements were made by students. There were concerns on basing grades on papers, but students seemed interested in learning how the guidelines pertain to them,” Johnson said.

“The more perceptive students saw that this was becoming standard in the majority of the business world,” he said.

Lara Corkrey, an English instructor, said many of her students didn’t understand the topic at hand but she elected not to explain it to avoid bias.

The committee overwhelmingly supported the idea of distributing guidelines to instructors with the advisement that “gender inclusion” be taught. They supported instructors commenting to students how they offend their audience through language.

Corkrey said she was concerned over protocol.

“I need to hear that these are guidelines and not rules or laws,” she said. “The student should be able to choose between using businessman and business person.”