University bans non-PC words such as 'workman' and 'forefathers' in quest for inclusivity

Gender neutral: Cardiff Met lecturers have been told to watch their language (REX/Shutterstock)
Gender neutral: Cardiff Met lecturers have been told to mind their language (REX/Shutterstock)

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’.

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‘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.

Cardiff Metropolitan University (Google Street View)
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Google Street View)

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

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