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College drops the word “freshman” on the ground that it contributes to “sexual violence”

November 21, 2014

Because nothing says “sexual violence” like the word “freshman”:

ELON, N.C. – Elon University has dropped the term “freshman” from its vocabulary and replaced it with “first-year,” a move made official this fall and implemented in everything from its website to orientation workshops.

The change at the small, private liberal arts college in North Carolina was done to promote inclusivity, celebrate diversity, and ensure the campus did not promote sexist stereotypes or create a hostile and unsafe environment for female students, campus officials said in interviews with The College Fix.

Leigh-Anne Royster, director of Elon’s “Inclusive Community Wellbeing,” said in an email to The College Fix that she has been told by some that they believe the term “freshman” is outdated, and that replacing “freshman” with “first year” is a “celebration of diversity.”

Royster stated the word “freshman” naturally insinuates a hierarchy among students on campus. She said she believes that students are viewed as younger and less experienced when referred to as “freshman.” With that, Royster stated “freshman” may contribute to sexual violence on campus because it labels the youngest students, causing them to be targets.

“The term has often been felt to refer to the vulnerableness of young women in college for the first time,” Royster said. “Given the rates of sexual violence perpetrated against women on college campuses, it is useful to examine any use of a term that suggests that a group of people just entering college might be targets for such violence in any way.”

Next to go: The word “sophomore” because it suggests that students in their second year of college are morons, which could make them feel bad about themselves.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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