Applicants for jobs at the University are unlikely to mind, but language traditionalists are taking aim at “GENDER-INCLUSIVE STYLE GUIDELINES” intended for use in Princeton’s HR communications and job postings.
Out are “all forms of alumna/alumnus/alumni/alumnae,” state the guidelines, which were released without fanfare in 2015 but gained national attention in August. In are alum and alums. Freshman and freshmen? Bad. Use first-year student or frosh.
Princeton now wants skillful employees instead of the workmanlike staff members it might have recruited before, though one wonders if this change would require a pay increase.
News of the guidelines took off on Twitter, where respondents demonstrated their own facility with words, using colorful terms.
HR “has for several years encouraged the use of inclusive language, in keeping with the University’s overall effort to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for all,” Princeton explained on Twitter. It concluded: “No words or phrases have been banned at the University, which places a high value on free expression.”
A University spokesman said individual offices and programs will decide how to achieve inclusivity goals, adding that there are no plans to change “any longstanding program names.”
The HR guidelines did create concern in the office of the Princeton Alumni Weekly, already in hot water with alums who think “Weekly” is inappropriate for a magazine published 14 times a year. The new guidelines suggest that two of the three words in PAW’s name are in dispute. (No change is planned.)