UF prof lowers student's grade for using the word 'man'

Sarah Long and Alison Wilfong
The Daily Nerv

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  • A University of Florida student was docked points on a history paper for using the word "man" instead of a gender-neutral alternative such as "humankind."
  • A student at the University of Florida (UF) became a victim of collegiate political correctness earlier this semester when his “History of Water” (AMH/EUH3931) professor, Jack E. Davis, deducted points from his essay for the use of the word “man.”

    Martin Poirier, a history major at UF, informed The Daily Nerv that he was penalized on his essay for his use of the word “man” as opposed to its gender-neutral alternative, “human.”

    [RELATED: Student has grade docked for using 'mankind' in English paper]

    A picture of Poirier’s essay is attached below. The paper is laden with corrections from the professor, but Davis’ controversial correction can be seen in the first line of the essay. The word “man” is circled with the label “W.M. #20”, which refers to Professor Davis’ Writing Mechanics Exercise, specifically Writing Mechanic #20. A look at Professor Davis’ Writing Mechanic #20 (see below) shows an example that purports a difference between “mankind” and “humankind.”

    At the bottom of the essay, Davis’ final remarks on the paper state: “Thoughtful paper, although the writing mechanics errors are killing you.”

    In addition, the night before the papers were returned to students, Professor Davis sent a copy of Poirier’s essay to the entire class and asked the students to “scrutinize” the mechanics and content of his essay for the following class period. According to Poirier, Professor Davis refers to this as putting a student in the “hot seat.”

    Although the e-mail that Davis sent to the class maintained Poirier’s anonymity, Poirier chose to defend his use of the word “man” during the in-class critique. Poirier attempted to argue that Davis’ efforts were politically motivated. This, according to Poirier, prompted Davis to enter a rant on “how everything is political,” and how the intent for gender-neutral pronouns were “pre-baked into the original intent of the independent American nation’s values and founding documents.”

    The Daily Nerv reached out to Professor Davis for comment; he replied stating he would provide a comment, but did not.

    Poirier added that this was not a one-time occurrence. He emphasized that “Dr. Davis requires us to use only gender neutral expressions” and that this was not the first, or the only form of bias he has encountered on campus.

    "I have plenty of more examples of bias in other courses, many much more severe,” he told The Daily Nerv.

    “Mankind” and “humankind” bear identical definitions in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

    This article was originally published in The Daily Nerv, a conservative student newspaper affiliated with the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program. Its articles are republished here with permission. 

    Follow The Daily Nerv on Twitter: @thedailynerv



    Sarah Long and Alison Wilfong

    The Daily Nerv

    The Daily Nerv

     The Daily Nerv is an independent student publication at the University of Florida that covers campus news and provides analysis of national political issues from a conservative perspective.

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