On Tuesday, August 27, students received an email from the Dean of Students’ Office entitled “Personal Pronoun Form.” As stated in the email, the goal of the form is to “communicate your personal pronouns electronically to your adviser and the professors of the courses in which you’re enrolled each term.”
Included in the email was a link to an online resource about the importance of personal pronouns.
According to Registrar Emy Farley, the pronoun form was created following a recommendation made by the Tuesday Group during the 2018-19 academic year. Carleton staff members worked with the school’s Student Information System vendor to develop the form for online use.
The formal personal pronoun form is intended as an alternative for students who wish to avoid introducing or correcting their own pronouns in class. In the email, Dean Livingston stated that the form “is intended to provide a more discreet mode of communication.”
“This was an important additional feature for many of our students who indicated that they felt less part of the Carleton environment when their gender was assumed,” said Livingston.
Livingston also noted that approximately 440 students completed the form, and that the form will be available every term.
While introducing themselves on the first day of classes, students have typically included their pronouns. For many students, sharing pronouns with their professors prior to the first day helps to ease the stress of introductions.
“Now people don’t have to go up to their professors and have that interaction that has the potential to be embarrassing and make them feel singled out,” said Joe Radinsky ‘23. “It definitely puts the onus less on the individual and more on the institutions.
“This is a way to make sure they’re getting the respect they deserve,” Radinsky added.
“The GSC fully supports the College’s effort to foster learning spaces that are inclusive,” said Danny Mathews, Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center.
“We know that honoring each other’s pronouns is a great step in that direction. It will be important to continue having the conversation about pronouns as we move forward. Personal pronouns and the conversation around their use is not just for trans and nonbinary people. In order for larger cultural shifts to happen, we need our allies to understand the importance and power of honoring someone’s personal pronouns. They must see themselves as equally implicated in the conversation around gender inclusivity,” said Mathews.
News Editors Grace Rubin and Natalie Sainz contributed reporting.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled GSC Director Danny Mathews’ name as Matthews.