Students can now designate prefered pronouns on class rosters

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 7:01pm

The University of Michigan announced Tuesday that effective immediately, students will be able to indicate their preferred gender pronoun on class rosters.

Provost Martha Pollack and E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, said in an email to the campus community that a pronoun committee comprised of faculty and staff members has developed this process over the past year. A petition authored by Wolverines for Preferred Pronouns last March called for the University to put pronoun preferences on class rosters, gaining 795 signatures.

The email defined a preferred pronoun as a gender pronoun with which an individual would like to identify and expects others to use when referring to them.

“Students can designate pronouns in Wolverine Access through the new Gender Identity tab within the Campus Personal Information section,” Pollack and Harper wrote in the email. “This page will be used to enter/update and/or delete pronoun information with the University.”

This change is considered part of the University’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative, which will be fully launched on Oct. 6.

Pollack and Harper also encouraged students and faculty to examine the rosters on Wolverine Access and be mindful of addressing people correctly.

“Asking about and correctly using someone’s designated pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their identity and to cultivate an environment that respects all gender identities,” they wrote. “If you make a mistake and use the wrong pronoun, you can acknowledge that you made a mistake, and use the correct pronoun next time.”

Students were encouraged to change their prefered pronoun before mid-to-late October because faculty members have been asked to review class rosters again at the end of the month and use the updated pronoun at that time for the remainder of the semester.