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WSU Eliminating Words like “Freshman” “Mom and Dad” “Caucasian” and More.

PULLMAN – Washington State University has launched an inclusive language guide to “encourage communication that welcomes and respects the diversity of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and everyone.”

As part of the WSU editorial style guide, the new inclusive language section was put together by the university’s editorial style guide committee with input from stakeholders across WSU.

“Inclusive language is a key part of building community by conveying a sense of belonging and respect for differences among people,” WSU said in a release. “A main principle behind the new guide is that written content should be free from words, phrases, or tones that stereotype and diminish people based on their identities.”

The guide suggests the use of words like “older people” instead of “elderly”. Requests individuals stay away from terms like “handicapped”. Use the term “everyone, folks, y’all” and more instead of “ladies and gentleman”. Use “first-year student” instead of “freshman”, to avoid the terms “mom and dad”, and more.

The guide gives lists of rules such as “Do not use the term “preferred” pronoun when writing about a person. Pronouns are not a preference. (“Jim’s pronouns are he and him.”)”

This guide addresses inclusive language for 11 categories of identity: age, disability, gender and gender identity/expression, incarceration, national origin, Native and Indigenous nations, race and ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and veteran status.

The new inclusive language guide can be found online on the University Marketing and Communications website.

“Language is fluid, and the meanings and connotations of words can change rapidly. WSU will update this guide as needed to ensure the university is using the most inclusive and accurate language. If you have a comment or suggestion, please contact style.guide@wsu.edu.” WSU added.