UPDATE: Univ. of New Hampshire pulls 'Bias-Free Language Guide'
The University of New Hampshire (UNH) has renounced a controversial “Bias-Free Language Guide” and removed it from the university’s website.
As originally reported by Campus Reform, the University of New Hampshire had compiled a “Bias-Free Language Guide,” which decried terms such as “American,” “mothering,” and “fathering,” as “problematic.” The story went viral yesterday, becoming a trending topic on Facebook, and was picked up by news organizations all across the country. Multiple presidential candidates weighed in on the language guide; Donald Trump denounced it as an “outrage” and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said UNH was doing its students a “disservice.”
"Implying the word ‘American’ is not appropriate to use on campus is un-American to say the least."
Now, however, the university has both removed the speech guide from its website—the original URL now takes viewers to page on “Inclusive Excellence”—and UNH President Mark Huddleston denounced it as unrepresentative of university policy.
In a July 29th statement, Huddleston said that he was “troubled” by the guide and found it “offensive.” He went on to clarify that the “only UNH policy on speech is that it is free and unfettered on our campuses.”
A statement from the university on the following day took Huddleston’s remarks one step further, declaring that “[s]peech guides or codes have no place at any American university,” and announcing that Huddleston “has ordered a review of UNH’s web posting policies in the weeks ahead.”
The statement also declared that President Huddleston, who took office in 2007, was not aware of the language guide until this past week, according to the Concord Monitor. The guide first appeared on the website in 2013 and was reportedly assembled by many current and former staff members.
One of the guide’s authors, Sylvia Foster, who works in the university’s Office of Community, Equity and Diversity, told the Monitor that the mission of the guide “was to encourage the use of creative and accurate wording to replace words that have histories of hurtfulness and non-inclusion of our full population of wonderfully diverse expressions of what it means to be human.”
In an interview with Campus Reform, New Hampshire State Representative and incoming UNH sophomore Yvonne Dean-Bailey blasted the language guide and applauded President Huddleston for removing it from the website.
“The language guide selectively chooses and edits what language is appropriate for students and asks to phase out normal everyday phrases that are not derogatory in most of the guide's examples,” Dean-Bailey told Campus Reform.
Dean-Bailey is also a Campus Correspondent for Campus Reform.
“I applaud the college president for taking the issue head on and abolishing the guide so that students have full rights to speech on campus. The university needs to address its practices and ensure that taxpayer money is not going towards unconstitutional and speech limiting practices.”
Dean-Bailey’s colleague, state Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, was not so kind to the university.
“Implying the word ‘American’ is not appropriate to use on campus is un-American to say the least,” Bradley said in a statement.
“Will UNH next propose to change our Live Free or Die motto to Live Free but Upset No-One?” Bradley continued.
“When the subject of UNH funding occurs as the budget gets resolved I look forward to proposing an amendment to rectify this sad state of affairs in Durham.”
Bradley’s statement came before UNH removed the guide from its website.
Campus Reform reached out to the university for comment, but UNH Director of Media Relations Erika Mantz referred Campus Reform to the school’s July 30 statement.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @peterjhasson