Yale to Ditch "Freshman", "Upperclassmen", Adopt Gender-Neutral Terms

Yale to Ditch "Freshman", "Upperclassmen", Adopt Gender-Neutral Terms
Susan Dutca-Lovell

In an effort to modernize, Yale will no longer use the terms "freshman" and "underclassmen" and will instead adopt gender-neutral terminology, such as "first-year" and "upper-level students." University officials still anticipate students and faculty to use the old terminology, since they're "deeply ingrained in our everyday language and in Yale's history."

The new terminology can be found in the Undergraduate Regulations and the First-Year Handbook and is expected to appear in all Yale College's publications and communications by the start of the 2018-2019 academic year. The effort to phase out the older terminology is "a piece of a larger movement to reflect the diversity of college campuses" and also in part because the "two words in particular are gendered," according to Jennifer Keup, Director Of the National Resource for the First-Year-Experience and students in Transition.

Even with the shift, the Dean of Yale College, Marvin Chun, anticipates "that the members of our community, ourselves included, will continue to use these [older] terms as they or we see fit, without feeling that anyone is out of compliance with an official policy." This is no new trend - other schools including Dartmouth College, Cornell University and Columbia University already use the term "first-year" in most publications. Do you approve of this change? Why or why not?

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