The 4,000 students who attend Point Park University learned Sept. 13 that an updated anti-discrimination campus policy includes a Pronouns and Inclusive Language Guide. The campus-wide email was sent by the Office of Equity and Inclusion, which warned students in the opening paragraph about “misgendering, pronoun use, and deadnaming” fellow students as the new school year begins.
PPU, a private liberal arts university known for its business school, is located in the Golden Triangle area of Pittsburg.
The email was obtained by education watchdog Campus Reform thanks to Logan Dubil, a junior at Point Park who serves as a Campus Reform correspondent for the group. He tells American Family News the policy that claims to be about mutual respect is really choosing a side in an ideological fight over free speech and basic biology.
“I am aware the people feel more comfortable with these genders that they’d rather be referred to as,” Dubil says, “but I am not for the administration and university forcing students to adhere to this ideology.”
One example of that ideology is “deadnaming,” which is when a transgender person is referred to by a former biological name --- “Andy” instead of “Alice." That offense is considered harmful and psychologically damaging to the point of suicide. What goes unmentioned in that article from Medical News Today is any suggestion that a transgender person needs professional help for being triggered by "Andy," which leaves fellow students to talk carefully around "Alice" while pretending that "she" is behaving normally in everyday campus life, with punishment promised for anyone who fails to follow along.
Punished for 'He' not 'Ze'
It may appear to normal-thinking people as nonsensical if not nutty for a male student to be referred to as the plural “they” but that demand is just one of many. The ideological rabbit hole goes farther and farther deeper as LGBT activists invent new terms and new definitions, such as non-gender "Neopronouns" that use “Ze” and “Zir” instead of “He” or “Her," for example.
Beyond so-called “personal pronouns” are self-identifying gender terms such as “Two Spirit,” which means a Native American who identifies as both male and female. It was invented by a Canadian college professor, Myra Laramee.
In an NPR article on gender identity terms, an LGBT activist told the news website that the "queer community" is frequenting reminding each other of the changing terms.
"It's a sort of constant mindfulness where you are always catching up a little bit," the activist, who is described as "they" in the article, told NPR.
Meanwhile, several generations of college students such as Dubil have learned they are not only required to learn and use such languages but they face punishment for failing to do so.
“While the University recognizes the aspect of intent versus impact,” the email states, “we must recognize that regardless of the intent, if an individual is impacted in a harmful way, action could be taken if a complaint is filed.”
For his Campus Reform story, Dubil asked PPU’s student body president if fellow students deserve to be punished if they oppose the non-discrimination policy.
“I, of course, respect the beliefs of others and their right to express their belief,” Dennis McDermott replied, “but those beliefs, no matter what they are, cannot impede or harm the rights of others --- in this case, the right of a student to be respected in their use of their preferred name and pronouns.”
Dubi’s story quotes a PPU student, Tyler Hertwig, who said nobody realistically asks the gender of someone they meet on campus for the first time.
“To expect people to completely rewire how they interact with others is nuts,” Hertwig told Campus Reform. “All for what? That 1 in 50 million chance of them possibly running into someone that’s not a male or female.”
A second student quoted in the story, Caitlin Wiscombe, summarized the one-sided push to define who is being tolerant and accepting.
"I understand what the university is trying to do, to be more inclusive and make those people feel more involved and maybe less separated and more respected," she told Campus Reform, "but by asking me to do this instead of just allowing students to do it themselves is making me feel uncomfortable and making me feel like my choice isn’t being respected."
Dubi tells American Family News that he has heard from other students on campus who support his pushback but are afraid to speak out for fear of punishment.
“That kind of support has really motivated [us] to soon, hopefully, get something started,” he says, “whether that be a protest, or us writing to our school administration trying to get this policy reversed.”