University of Florida Pushes Back on Offer of Academic Credit for Pronoun Listing – JONATHAN TURLEY

There is an interesting controversy brewing at the University of Florida after Professor Autumn McLellan offered academic credit for those who list their pronouns in class. The University has pushed back that “pronoun policing” is not a valid basis for academic credit.

The controversy arose after conservative groups and sites reported on the offer.

Professor McLellan sent out a notice to class that:

“Guessing or assuming a person’s pronouns can lead to uncomfortable and unwelcoming environments. Displaying your pronouns helps others know how to address you respectfully, even if you feel like your pronouns should be ‘obvious’ to other people.”

McLellan teaches sociology and criminology with stated interests “Collective Action/Social Movements” and “Stratification/Inequality.”

Many faculty and students object to requirements or pressure to use alternative pronouns on political, religious, or biological grounds.

The University itself was quick to push back.

Associate Vice President for Communications Steve Orlando issued a statement that  “Academic credit is to be awarded for academic work, and policing pronouns doesn’t cut it. The administration has made this clear.”

What is also clear to these students is that this is what the professor expects from them.

Granting academic benefits for engaging in designated speech raises a host of concerns. For many students, listing pronouns is an important statement with profound meaning. For some, it is a recognition of tolerance and diversity at the university. For others, it is a concession to a growing orthodoxy over gender identity.

It is not clear whether McLellan has withdrawn the offer. Students were given until Friday, Jan. 19 to update their profile.

N.B.: I have reached out to Professor McLellan for a statement on the controversy.

 

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