A university has been accused of political correctness gone mad after banning lecturers from using phrases such as ‘right-hand man’ and ‘sportsmanship’.
Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Code of Practice on using Inclusive Language states that “gender-neutral” terms should be used wherever possible in a bid to “embrace cultural diversity” through language.
‘Homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ should be avoided in favour of ‘same-sex’ and ‘other-sex’, while ‘first name’ or ‘forename’ are the recommended alternatives to ‘Christian name’.
‘Wheelchair bound’ is also on the avoid list, as it’s considered “patronising and pitying” – ‘wheelchair user’ should be used instead.
The Code of Practice states: “In order to promote an atmosphere in which all students and staff feel valued, Cardiff Metropolitan University endorses the use of inclusive language throughout its academic programmes and in relation to all goods and services provided.”
These rules apply across all areas of Cardiff Metropolitan University activity, “including academic delivery, assessment opportunities, goods and services and staff/student interaction”.
Not surprisingly, critics have accused the university of taking inclusivity too far – a claim it denies.
A spokesperson for Cardiff Metropolitan University said: “The University is committed unreservedly to the principle of academic freedom within the law. It is also committed to providing an environment where everyone is valued and treated with dignity and respect. These two commitments are cornerstones of academic life at the University.
“The Code of Practice on Using Inclusive Language sets out a broad approach to promoting fairness and equality through raising awareness about the effects of potentially discriminatory vocabulary.
“In particular, it includes some suggestions to support gender equality; these are consistent with other guidance (e.g., British Sociological Association’s information on Equality and Diversity).”
Gender-neutral terms checklist: Words or phrases to avoid – and approved alternatives
Best man for the job – Best person for the job
Forefathers – Ancestors, forebears
Gentleman’s agreement – Unwritten agreement, agreement based on trust
Girls (for adults) – women
Housewife – Shopper, consumer, homemaker (depends on context)
Manpower – Human resources, labour force, staff, personnel, workers, workforce
Man or mankind – Humanity, humankind, human race, people
Man-made – Artificial, manufactured, synthetic
Man in the street, common man – Average/ordinary/typical citizen/person
Right-hand man – Chief assistant
Sportsmanship – Fairmess, good humour, sense of fair play
Waitress – Waiter, server
Workman – Worker/operative/trades person