The PC speech police have already tried to cancel such words as “mother and father” and “he and she.” Now, the faculty senate at Penn State University has voted to do away with the iconic college terms, “freshman, sophomore, junior and senior.” I’m going to quote exactly what they said because if I relayed it in my own words, you’d think I was auditioning to write satire for the Babylon Bee:
“The University, as with most all academic institutions world-wide, has grown out of a typically male-centered world. As such, many terms in our lexicon carry a strong, male-centric, binary character to them. Terms such as ‘freshmen’ are decidedly male-specific, while terms such as ‘upperclassmen’ can be interpreted as both sexist and classist...Terms such as ‘junior’ and ‘senior’ are parallel to western male father-son naming conventions, and much of our written documentation uses he/she pronouns.”
No, seriously, that's a direct quote. They recommend replacing these terms with “1st-year, 2nd-year, 3rd-year and 4th-year,” and for those who stay longer, “5th-year.” But wait, even that is “problematic”:
“Concerns have been raised that numbering years beyond the fourth (4th) would perhaps negatively reflect on students who, for various reasons, are taking longer to complete their (typically) four-year programs, and are also referred to as ‘super-seniors’. In this case, the term does often carry a slightly negative connotation. Students in such situations beyond the fourth (4th) year could instead be referred to as ‘advanced-standing’ students.”
Hold on there, eggheads! I take great offense at the term “advanced standing!” It sounds as if you’re implying that people who’ve been there longer than four years have superior status to others, which is a relic of the patriarchal, classist meritocracy!
But it gets even worse. They also recommend that the school replace the classist terms “underclassmen” and “upperclassmen” with “lower division” and “upper division.” How DARE they imply that newer students (many of them gay trans students of color, I’d assume) are of LOWER status than white males in the so-called “UPPER division!”
I demand that all of these professors be immediately suspended, reprimanded, and put in stocks so students can throw rotten vegetables at them for their insensitivity to their own classist privilege!
I also recommend that they be forced to read George Orwell, who once observed that there are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.
As for my recommendations of what university you should send your kids to, you can scratch another one off the list.
PS – As long as I’m recommending universities your kids shouldn’t attend, I’d also suggest avoiding any schools that claim they’re fighting racism by bringing back segregation:
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