Student set to petition language proposal

By Penny Rynberk

An NIU junior opposing the English department’s desired “gender-inclusive” language policy is petitioning the proposal.

Sociology major Mike Kurzeja presented the Student Association with his arguments Sunday night against the English department’s proposal to guide students into writing in a less sexist manner.

Kurzeja also revealed a petition he plans to begin that is in opposition to the policy.

“I hope to get as many signatures as I possibly can,” Kurzeja said. “I know there are many people in my dorm that are interested in the issue.”

SA President Preston Came opposes the policy because it is “dangerous to start restricting speech in English class.

“English class should teach how to use the English language and how to write. It seems to me when you can’t say certain words, you’re putting blinders on yourself,” Came said.

Sen. Dave Ivers, who also is a political science teaching assistant, said about 20 percent of the papers he grades are very poor in grammar and content. “Universities need to work on accuracy before they focus on a sexist issue,” he said.

Kurzeja said when he telephoned the English department about the issue, the secretary was very vague. “She asked me my full name and if I was a reporter,” he said.

“I was being questioned as opposed to getting any answers,” Kurzeja said. “It wasn’t about something that required a lot of questioning, just simple answers.”

Kurzeja said the secretary told him the English department meeting is a closed meeting. However, Came said he was told the meeting will be open.

“The English department doesn’t have the authority to do something like this,” said Sen. Jennifer Lenart.

“They are forcing people to write a certain way and they’re not giving them choices,” Kurzeja said. “They are censoring people before they even write something … it’s pre-censorship.”